Unlock the magic in your story now.

Get the free 20 Questions to ask before launching your Idea Workbook when you sign up for updates.

What Would The Enlightened Marketer Do?

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

When the email subject line contains the words ‘urgent alert’ there’s no doubt about the sender’s intention. His metric for success is the number of people who open the email today—the more the better.

Instead of baiting people with messages to make them act, the enlightened marketer thinks about how his words will make customers feel. He understands things like open rates that he can easily measure, only tell part of the story.

The enlightened marketer doesn’t jeopardise his long-term strategy for a quick near-term gain. He behaves like his objective is to get to do it all again tomorrow.

Is what you’re about to do today serving your goals for tomorrow?

Ivan Rigamonti

How Could We Have Done Better?

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

Whether things go right or wrong, we instinctively understand there’s always room for improvement. And yet, remarkably, we rarely stop to ask ourselves exactly how we could have done better. Instead, we beat ourselves up about our failures—playing the disappointment over and over in our head. Or we self-congratulate without taking the chance to build on our success.

Success and failure are opportunities for growth in equal measure. We should make the most of them. Decide what one thing you could you have done better, then go ahead and do it the next time.

Image by Hamza Butt

Anticipating The Next Move

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy

Every successful business strategy is dependent upon making a good decision about the next move. In a commercial world, we spend a lot of time planning to create growth. Often those plans rely on getting the customer to do what we want them to do—so we can make our next move.

The businesses that not only survive but thrive are the ones that anticipate and obsess about the customer’s next move. They intentionally design products and services that take the customer where she wants to go. The brands we are devoted to now—Netflix, Airbnb, Amazon and on and on are masters of seeing us and planning for our next move.

When our future is dependent on our customers, it’s their likely next move that should inform our strategy.

Image by George Pachantouris

Louder Than Words

filed in Brand Story, Marketing

We’re obsessed with finding the right words to communicate our value. We finesse our LinkedIn bios, agonise over product descriptions and sales pages. Of course, words have enormous power. But they are worthless without the actions that support them. It’s no good describing how great your product is if you haven’t put in the work to make sure it never disappoints.

Our stories are every bit as much about what we do as what we say. You have to work at being as good as the words you want to have the privilege of using.
What did you do today to tell your story?

Image by Niall Kennedy

What Do The Best Salespeople Do?

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing

A young couple spent a while ‘just looking’ in the furniture store before approaching a salesperson to ask about fabric choices on a particular sofa. She showed them the swatches and said nothing. The guy asked if they had anything like it—a large squashy four-seater in leather. They didn’t.

“What size exactly are you looking for?” she asked.

The couple didn’t know, but they started to describe the style of sofa they wanted.
Comfortable, not too formal.

“Come back to us once you have your measurements.” she smiled, as they walked out the door.

The salesperson didn’t ask, where they lived, in what type of house. She forgot to find out where the sofa would go, what they would mostly use it for and the number of people in their family. She lost the business because she prioritised the facts before the story. This doesn’t happen at IKEA.

Yes, the sofa has to fit in the room physically, but it has to fit with the customer’s wants, needs, hopes and dreams first. The best salespeople always start with the story.

Image by Judith TB

The First Rule Of Standing Out

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing


If you want to stand out, do the thing that’s in short supply.

When everyone is fighting for attention, be the one who earns permission.
When everyone is looking for an angle, be the one who acts with integrity.
When everyone is chasing growth, be the one who deepens connection.
When everyone seeks scale, be the one who values loyalty.
When everyone takes shortcuts, be the one who cares.

The thing that’s scarce right now is sincerity in one form or another. We’re tired of tactics that manipulate as a means to someone else’s end. In the end we win by being the exception to the rule.

Image by Thomas Hawk

The Art Of Making Progress

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy

If only your business had more media exposure.
If only you could get the materials cheaper.
If only all the reviews were positive.
If only the website had more traffic.
If only your colleagues responded.
If only every employee listened.
If only more browsers bought.

We spend a lot of time thinking about how to change things that are often out of our control, instead of taking action on the things we can influence and impact. We only begin to make progress when we stop trying to control the outcome.

The people who change the world start walking the path—they don’t waste time waiting for others to catch up.

Image by Joelene Knapp

Is Your Business Reacting Or Responding?

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

It was impossible to walk down any high street in June without running into a notice informing you fidget spinners were BACK IN STOCK. The fidget spinner was clearly ‘the thing’ of the moment. A month later we’re already beginning to witness its decline. Another fad bites the dust.

A fad by definition is transient. It’s success hinges on what people are talking about today and is not backed by a genuine need that will require to be fulfilled tomorrow. It takes effort and courage to respond to everyday needs instead of following the crowd that’s reacting to what’s top of mind. It’s impossible to do both—which is why a good business strategy is always intentional.

Is your business reacting to the fickle market or responding to a customer’s unmet needs?

Image by Mario Adalid

The Value Of Subtraction

filed in Brand Strategy, Innovation

The call centre operator’s power is limited. He can’t bypass the company’s systems and processes. He is employed to apply a band-aid to the wound—buying the company some time until someone in another department (who he has no direct access to) can solve the problem. He should be empowered to delight and when he’s not the call centre becomes a point of friction. This is exactly the opposite of what the leaders in the company intended to happen when they invested in customer phone support.

Value is traditionally measured by what is added—giving the customer more for less. When we only view our products and services through that lens, we’re ignoring opportunities to add value by taking something away. What customers want now more than ever is a frictionless experience. Our job then is to remove as many obstacles as we can. When we begin thinking about how we could add value by subtraction everything changes.

Warby Parker’s home try-on service, subscription razors, digital accounting software, online check-in, free trials and same-day dental appointments, are all a result of thinking about how to remove a step in the customer’s journey while still helping her to get where she wants to go.

How can you give your customer more with less?

Image by Daliophoto

 

 

What’s Your Failure Strategy?

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing, Success

Everything runs like clockwork when all staff members show up for the hectic Sunday morning shift at the cafe. Customers are greeted at the door, informed about delays and offered a drink while they wait for a table. The whole system falls apart when one team member calls in sick. Waitstaff double as greeters and coffee runners. People forget to prioritise, service is compromised, and customers get disgruntled.

Every business has a success strategy. We set targets and create plans to achieve them. We imagine how we will perform and serve customers on our best days when staff show up on time and everything is going according to plan. It’s much harder to plan for failure. We don’t devote the same time and resources to imagining our next move for those times when we have to deviate from our original plan. We’re unprepared for failure because we don’t always think about what could go wrong and what we will do when it does.

The server might crash.
The package may get lost.
The email might offend.
The salesperson could have a bad day.
The marketing campaign might not perform as you hoped.

What then?

The difference between an exceptional performer and an average one is that they prepare for their ‘off’ days. It turns out that we do our best work when we plan for failure and success in equal measure.

Image by Garry Knight