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The Power Of Actionable Feedback

filed in Brand Strategy


How many times do you politely leave a restaurant after a bad experience, vowing never to return, without letting the manager know what you think?

How often have you stopped buying from a brand you once trusted without telling them why?

How valuable would your feedback be, if only these companies were in the habit of asking for it?

It’s hard to ask questions that elicit useful feedback. Fear about the response we might get holds us back because suggestions inevitably make work for us. The trick to making feedback actionable is to ask a specific question of the right people at the right time.

You don’t need everyone’s opinion about everything to improve your product, service or business. But it’s important to ask the people who matter questions about the things you are willing to change.

Image by Garry Knight

Two Ways To Think About Selling

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing


Are you selling or are you showing up in the best light for the people who need you?

Sales can be a service. And vice versa.

Image by Garry Knight

Lucky By Design

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy


The cathedral was packed. More than a thousand people arrived on a warm Tuesday morning to attend cafe owner, Sisto Malaspina’s funeral. Many more stood outside—others watched the service at home on their laptops or giant screens in Melbourne’s Federation Square. We were there, not to mourn Sisto’s death, but to celebrate how he had lived. Sisto was a man who was grateful for the privilege to serve people. He felt fortunate to do work that mattered to him. And how he did that work became a reflection of his life and his legacy. Sisto was lucky, for sure.

After the service, the crowd slowly filed out the front entrance. People began talking as we got closer to the door. Two men behind me spoke about the service. Then one asked the other what he was up to next. “Are you heading back to work?” “Yeah, worse luck,” his friend replied.

During the service, one of Sisto’s customers (and friends) had spoken about why he would be missed. “You loved us, and we loved you,” he said. But then he went on to say something that people don’t often articulate. “There’s been a moment when we all wished we were Sisto.”

It was true. Everyone wants to show up to work with as much gratitude and joy, passion and pride as Sisto had done. Not just the people who were fortunate enough to be served coffee or pasta by him at Pellegrini’s—but you and me too.

It’s easy to think that it was alright for Sisto. He had his own business. He was doing something he loved. He was in charge of his destiny. He was one of the lucky ones. Many of us are not that lucky. But what if we could find a way to feel like Sisto? To be lucky by design and to feel fortunate for the work we do—whatever that work is. What if we looked for the moments in our day to make a difference? And if we can’t find some joy in our work, a way to do it with heart and soul, then maybe it’s time to think about how we could change that too?

Image by Valberg Larusson

Nurture Vs. Growth

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Success


It’s virtually impossible to think of building a successful business (or life) without having the intention to grow. But sometimes growth for growth’s sake can be a trap. The idea that we have to make a particular metric go up at all costs can lead to unintended compromises. What if instead of thinking about growing our businesses, our expertise or our influence, we thought about how we could nurture them instead?

When we begin to think in terms of nurturing (protecting something while it grows), we are compelled to be more intentional about how we grow. And focusing on how makes all the difference.

Why does your business need to grow?
How does it need to grow?
What does sustainable growth look like for you?
What are you unwilling to compromise on to achieve growth?
What else should you consider before making your next move?

Every journey involves making two decisions. We happily get to where we’re going by figuring out where we want to end up and how we want to get there. Success comes in more than one flavour.

Image by Garry Knight

The Shorthand Trap

filed in Brand Strategy, Success


Everywhere we look in our digital world we increasingly see options to choose digital shorthand over a handcrafted, personal response. Gmail’s Smart Reply and Smart Compose features for responding to emails, and LinkedIn’s convenient Quick Replies will save us time today, but what might they cost us in the long run? Who do we become when we allow ourselves to communicate on auto-pilot instead of thoughtfully, with humanity?

Emoji are convenient and getting to inbox zero feels good. But if we don’t take time to find the words to say what we mean what do we sacrifice?

There is not shorthand for caring. No substitute for deep connection. There is no shortcut either.
We have to do the work of being the kind of people who make the effort to build the relationships we want if we are to create the future we want to see. What if we saw communicating longhand as an opportunity?

Image by Garry Knight

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