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Try Anyway

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

Texas head teacher, Belinda George, doesn’t have access to more resources than her colleagues. So how does she change her students’ lives for the better? Instead of focusing on the things she and her team can’t control, like educational policy and budgets, she concentrates on the things she can influence.

Ms George is then free to show up as herself, own her story and ask; what can I do to make things better? Her goal is to bridge the gap between school and home, deepening the school’s relationships with the children and their families.

The result is ‘Tucked-in Tuesdays’—a weekly bedtime story reading broadcast to her ‘scholars’ via Facebook live. Belinda George didn’t wait for the data to tell her what she already knew in her heart was the right thing to do.

Too often we get caught up looking for certainty about a likely outcome before being willing to try. Many breakthrough innovations and life-changing initiatives were brought about by people who didn’t know for sure, but who tried anyway.

Go ahead, try anyway. What have you got to lose? Or even better, what does the world stand to gain because you did?

Image by Austin Public Library

Efficiency Vs. Meaning

filed in Success, Worldview

Mike’s been driving for Uber for three years. In that time he’s done 20,000 trips while maintaining a consistent 4.94-star rating. Mike works when he wants to. He’s earning more than enough money to pay the bills, and yet he can’t help feeling there’s something missing.

Mike is a phenomenally successful Uber driver by any measure, and yet he doesn’t feel successful. Despite his best efforts and his stellar record Uber doesn’t differentiate him from any other driver. And he knows most of his passengers don’t either.

In the industrial age, factory owners prioritised efficiency above meaning. In our technological age, some still do. But as workers, we do the reverse. We don’t want to be anonymous robots.

When we’re no longer part of the assembly line, we are responsible for our effort, and how much to care, or not to care. The fruit of our labour becomes about more than the exchange of time for money. Work is no longer transactional. For people like you, me and Mike, that means choosing to do the work that gives us that meaning, for the people who find it meaningful.

Image by Roger W

Prices Are Stories

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

The difference between an $800 pair of Jimmy Choo sandals and those you can buy in Target for $20, isn’t only the quality of the materials. The prices we pay or charge are not just stories about value. They are stories about intentions and expectations—not just on the part of the customer, but also on the vendor.

Customers make assumptions about what they’re buying based on what they pay, and sellers make assumptions about the kind of customers they will attract with a particular pricing strategy. But price alone is a crude way to sort your right customers from your wrong customers.

Just because someone has the money to pay what you’re charging, doesn’t mean they’re your ideal customer. If you get to choose what you work on or make, you also get to decide who to serve.

What are your criteria for choosing the customers and clients who allow you to do your best work, and make it joyful into the bargain?

Image by Steven Guzzardi

Build A Trust Engine

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing, Success

In the golden age of the advertising businesses of all sizes relied on ads to promote and sell their products. Giant corporations reached us via TV and whole page newspaper ads. Small businesses got our attention by placing small ads in the local newspaper. In the past advertising allowed average products to gain traction. Now we block and ignore.

When conventional advertising became less effective, many businesses migrated to social media platforms. The promise was that targeted promotion would enable us to reach more customers for close to free. While it’s easier to target and reach prospective customers, there is no guarantee that more people will be won over. That doesn’t stop us spending the majority of our resources trying to reach potential customers, and relatively few to convert or retain them. According to Econsultancy, for every $92 we allocate to creating awareness, we spend $1 on converting the customer.

How could we invest our resources wisely?

As is often the case the clues lie in understanding what’s unchanging about people. We still buy things the people we trust are buying. We eat in the places our friends tell us serve good food. We know where to get the best coffee because our neighbours tell us. We do things we see others doing. We always have done. We always will do.

Lasting success isn’t built around launching one PR campaign after another. It’s powered by trust. Whenever you see a business that’s endured look for the trust engine that’s driving its success.

How To Build A Trust Engine

1. Care more than the competition.
2. Make the best product.
3. Give your customers a story to tell.
4. Make it easy for them to tell that story.

In the quest to do work we’re proud of trust trumps awareness every time.

Image by Spyros Papaspyropoulos

The Opportunity Cost Of Pursuing New Opportunities

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

Time. We can sell it. We can buy it. But we can’t get it back. And yet when it comes to resourcing opportunities, we sometimes believe we can have it all. All we need is to be disciplined about how we spend our time. When we choose to pursue a new project or goal we’re investing more than time—we’re also devoting energy to that new opportunity. And the energy required to do work we’re proud of is as finite as time.

Questions for you

If you decide to do this what are you deciding not to do?
How well can you keep doing this if you start that?
What additional resources will you need?
Which of these projects is getting you closer to your goals?

It’s not an opportunity if it isn’t helping you to get to where you want to go.

Image by Jason Tester

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