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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

21 Questions For Creators And Innovators

filed in Brand Strategy, Innovation, Success

Ideas are easy and free, execution can be painful and costly. Not just because it requires time, effort and resources—but because we often don’t do enough groundwork to get clear about the impact we hope to create. While it’s important to plan for success and mitigate against failure, what’s equally worthwhile exploring is why the idea matters to you and the people you hope it will serve. Why should you give it priority?
These twenty-one questions will help you get clear about your intention.

21 Questions For Creators And Innovators

1. What sparked this idea?
2. What’s your motivation for starting this project?
3. Who is the ideal user, client or customer for the end product?
4. Why will they buy or buy into it?
5. Why do you care about solving this problem for these people?
6. Why are you the person or team to bring it to life?
7. Why this project and not something else?
8. What’s the end goal?
9. What’s the first step?
10.What resources do you need?
11.What’s your minimal viable product?
12.Who do you need to involve or get behind the project?
13.How much time do you need?
14.How will you test your idea?
15.Who can you trust to give you objective feedback?
16.What are the likely challenges you could face?
17.How can you mitigate against or learn from them?
18.What circumstances would make you quit?
19.What does success look like?
20.If this idea succeeds what’s your next step?
21.If not this, then what?

You’re more likely to succeed by confronting the hard questions before you begin.

Image by Business Region Skane

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

 

 

How Much Do The Answers Matter?

filed in Brand Strategy, Innovation

Asking questions is a big part of our job whatever our role. We know we can enhance our products and services and improve client outcomes by asking the right ones and acting on the answers.
So we send surveys.
We listen to what people say and watch what they do.
We go to the trouble of gathering data and then often fail to act on it.
We’ve become very good at digging holes to peer into.

Learning to ask great questions is a crucial skill both in business and in life. What’s even more important than asking the right questions though, is having a genuine interest in the answers you get back. We need to be more honest with ourselves about why we’re questioning something at all.
It’s just as critical to know how you’re likely to respond to the answer.

Image by Trygve Utstumo

The Two Questions Behind Every Successful Product And Service

filed in Brand Strategy, Innovation, Marketing

There’s a subtle difference between a product or service that stems from an idea and one that’s born from recognising an opportunity. Ideas are solutions in search of problems. Opportunities are problems begging for a solution. The magic of solving problems for a specific customer is that the marketing is baked into the product.

Like many disruptive companies, the team at Dollar Shave Club created a compelling product, innovative business model and viral marketing campaign simply by understanding their customer’s pain points.

We find opportunities when we look for problems to solve, by asking the following two questions:

1. What’s happening that shouldn’t be?
2. What’s not happening, that should be?

In the case of Dollar Shave Club, the answers were clear. The razor blade market was dominated by a few legacy brands who had no direct relationship with their customers. Men were paying a lot of money for shave tech they didn’t need. Buying expensive razor blades didn’t necessarily guarantee a better shaving experience. Shopping for razors and replacing blades wasn’t as convenient as it could be. The startup disrupted the market by addressing these unmet needs.

The utility, quality and success of our products and services improve when we pay attention to what’s missing in our customers’ lives.

What gaps can you fill for your customers?

[Learn more about turning your insights into successful products and services in my new book, Hunch].

Image by Thomas Hawk.

Unlock the magic in your story now.

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