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Goal Getting

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

At this is the time of year of reflection and resolutions, instead of thinking about and working towards the things you want to do—create that new product, increase revenue, write a book, get fitter or finally visit the place you’ve promised yourself you’d see. Consider the outcome.
Explore the reasons why any one or any number of these things are something you must prioritise.
You get to where you’re going when you know where you’re going.
You enjoy the journey when you know why you’re going there.

Image by Luke Behal

The Measure Of Success

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

Success doesn’t have to be a number or a word that ends with ‘er’—a sliding scale, determined by others who decide when enough boxes are ticked. Success is not always first over the line, less of this and more of that, a game of it depends. Success doesn’t even have to be someday soon, that destination in the distance, over there, one day, never now.

You can choose the means and the measure.

Image by DennisM2

The Value Of Subtraction

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

We spent an estimated $85 billion on hair care in 2017. Sales of products to combat dry and damaged hair are on the rise because more women are using straightening irons to get the ‘perfect look’. We have eaten our way through a $500 billion fast food mountain, then paid $83 billion for gym memberships to work it off. We have whiled away 2 hours a day on social media and tried to claim our time back by investing $56 billion in productivity apps.

When it comes to creating change, we often begin by thinking about what we can do differently to fix the problem. We question what we can add to the mix to make life easier, better, more productive.

Often it’s not what we start doing that makes a difference, but the thing we stop doing that creates the biggest shift. Maybe the growth and change we want begins with subtraction.

Image by David Phan

Better Than Before

filed in Brand Strategy, Success, Worldview

Our plumber, Evan, spends every minute of his day solving problems. There are no breaks to check email or to see who’s commented on Facebook. He’s too busy working things out, wondering where the source of the problem is or deciding how he might make the repair more robust than what was originally installed. Evan regularly deals with frantic customers and unreliable suppliers. He crawls over hot tin roofs in summer and trawls through muddy backyards in winter. He squeezes his head under toilet bowls and his body into roof spaces. A lot of his workmanship is invisible, hidden behind plasterboard and covered by tiles.

Evan’s job is a juggling act, tough work by every measure, yet he acts as if the work itself is a privilege—not just a means to an end—but an end in and of itself. He takes pride in his ability to use his hands and his head to make things better. He seems to see challenges as opportunities to do something right.

Of course, it’s not possible to always see a problem as an opportunity, but we can choose to be grateful for the chance to leave something better than we found it, no matter what work we do.

Image by Nikk


12 Lessons From The Biggest Hit Of The Year

filed in Brand Strategy, Innovation, Success

Ed Sheeran’s hit song, ‘Shape of You’ was the most streamed track of 2017. The official video is expected to reach three billion views within a year of being uploaded. There’s a lot we can learn from this video where Ed and his co-writers talk about the process of writing a hit song.

12 Lessons From The Biggest Hit of 2017

1. Hits are accidents waiting to happen. You have to put yourself the situations that give you the best chance of doing great work.

2. Creativity is unpredictable. In Ed’s words.’None of us thought that much into it.’

3. Flexibility is your friend. Understanding what’s not working is key to finding what does work.

4. You can’t always think your way to success. Sometimes you have to feel your way.

5. Going against the grain often creates magic.

6. Shifting your focus can help you to view challenges with fresh eyes.

7. Average first drafts are necessary iterations of great finished products.

8. Your perceived flaws and enforced constraints can become your biggest strengths.

9. A strong team trumps a lone superstar.

10.Nobody knows for sure. Everything would be a hit if we could predict what’s going to fly.

11.It pays to allow your work to be seen through someone else’s lens.

12.Don’t set out to win. Set out to love what you do.

Here’s to continuing to learn from our failures and successes.

Image by Kmeron

Permission To Be Impractical

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

Back in 1984, it wasn’t practical for Richard Branson to think he could launch a better airline with just one secondhand Boeing 747. And yet, that’s is exactly what he did.

It would have been more practical for James Dyson to give up after the fifth attempt to invent the best vacuum cleaner in the world. But he kept going, creating over five thousand more prototypes until he got it right.

It wasn’t practical for one man—even one of financial means, to believe he had a shot at building a better rocket than NASA, with the hope of colonising other planets. That belief was the beginnings of SpaceX, the first privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft.

It would have been more practical for Apple to keep the buttons instead of innovating the touchscreen. That decision gave us the iPhone and revolutionised the way we connect and communicate.

It wasn’t practical for Serena Williams to play, let alone win a grand slam final while she was pregnant. Of course, it would have been more practical for Rosa Parks to stand up and for Nelson Mandela to quiet down.

It’s not practical to look people in the eye or search for flaws in your thinking. It’s never practical to care more and demand less. And it’s always impractical to do the thing that doesn’t give us an immediate or obvious advantage. But often being impractical is essential to doing meaningful work.

Image by Lee

Marketing Backwards

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy

I recently witnessed a young friend agonise for two months about which new smartphone to buy. A thousand dollars was a big investment for her. She had to weigh it up carefully. She trawled through every online review site for weeks. But the internal dialogue went on for much longer. We often believe the customer only considers the story we tell her and forget that she’s thinking about what choosing our brand says about her. When we’re making products and services we hope people will buy, it’s easy to overlook what influences their decision. One way to get better at this is to anticipate their self-talk.

10 Questions Customers Ask Themselves Before Buying A Product

1. Why should I choose this product over the other one?
2. Why is it worth more to me?
3. What features will I use or won’t I use?
4. How often will I use it?
5. What do I like or dislike about it?
6. How does it look?
7. How does it feel?
8. What does it say about me?
9. What will people think?
10.What would make me regret this decision tomorrow/next week/next year?

We get better at making and marketing when we get better at anticipating how our customers think and feel.

Image by Jev

The Key To The Perfect Story

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing, News

In a world where information and ideas can be shared in likes, swipes and clicks, we have never had a better opportunity to make our stories more visible. With so much for people to pay attention to, we have also never stood a better chance of being ignored. And that paradox sets us off on a quest to craft the perfect story—the one that resonates with the most people.

All stories have a beginning a middle and end. There is an inciting incident, conflict and resolution, a hero and a guide, failure and success. But unlike on the screens of Hollywood or in the pages of bestselling fiction, there is no ideal structure for crafting the perfect brand story because there is no single algorithm for touching the human heart.

The important thing isn’t the mechanics of the narrative or brilliance of the creative—the intention behind them is key to resonating with the people we hope to serve. Our quest to tell the right story stops us telling the real story. The key is to start with the truth about why we believed in what we do enough to begin and why we care about solving this unmet need for that particular person. It turns out that getting to the heart of the truth works better than finding an angle.

Image by Luigi Tiriticco


filed in Success, Worldview

Whoever said you should never meet your heroes was only partly right. There is an element of truth in the adage. Reality can rarely compete with the imaginary. Fleeting, real encounters are flat—two dimensional at best. The imagined meeting is all deep connection and unspoken understanding on both sides. In matters of hero worship, the admirer has the unfair advantage over the admired. The poor hero has little sense of the depth of feeling and gratitude upon which his pedestal is built.

The problem isn’t that we shouldn’t have heroes or build pedestals, it’s that we erect our pedestals too infrequently and for too few. What makes the girl putting in an eight-hour day shampooing hair at the salon, carefully placing fresh towels under strained necks, less or a hero than the rock star who can dazzle the crowd for an hour? Why do we value the contribution from the stage above the one from the heart?

We believe in superstars whose job it is to live up to the image we’ve created. What if instead of looking to the false gods of our imagination for inspiration, we applauded the real acts of ordinary heroism we choose to ignore? When we change our attitude to greatness we change the way we move through the world.

Image by Martin Fisch

How Are You Putting The Customer At The Centre?

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

At every strategy meeting, in every company boardroom and entrepreneurial hub around the globe, you will hear some version of the requirement to ‘put the customer at the centre’ in everything we do. These words are easy to preach from on high and harder (but not impossible), to implement at a grassroots level. The key to the success of any strategy is getting the people closest to the customer to feel they have ownership of what’s been planned. We can only put the customer at the centre when we create a culture where everyone feels their voice is heard and their work matters.

The bigger questions for all of us are:

1. How can we embed listening to the customer into our culture?

2. How can we empower everyone in the organisation to care and be curious about the customer?

3. How can we make our teams feel like their ideas and input matter?

Successful strategies might be dreamt up in corner offices, but they are implemented in ordinary moments from cubicles, counters and checkouts.

Image by Jim Coyle

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