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Learn from our minds and the others that we look up to

The Most Underrated Part of Your Business: Your HR Strategy

Coda Family PageWe never talk about our human resource strategy, HR’s never really top of mind, and we don’t attend many board meetings on specific outcomes of next years’ HR strategy. Why is that? HR has a bad wrap stemming from University, everyone joked about the crazy HR lady at companies. You know, the lady that had been there for 30 years and still hugged you on occasion but recognized it was “wrong” in the workplace?

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Why A Retroactive Customer Service Strategy is Silly

Quotes-sam-walton-the customerThe vast majority of organizations don’t do customer service properly. Without a great customer service strategy, you end up being retroactive in how you deal with customers. The smart companies understand that if they first delight, impress, or go out of their way for their customers, they will have to do a lot less apologizing.

Proactive > Reactive

Sam Walton said it best, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” Instead of the putting out fires when they arise why not give your staff the training they need to do their job to the best of their ability.

Too often we blame marketing for poor sales, or we make excuses as to why people don’t like our product or to frequent our establishment. Before you jump to the conclusion of whose fault it is, maybe for a change look at how you approach customer service.

Do your employees get adequate training when they start? How do you know? 

Do they receive more training once they have experience on the job?

What do your customers think of your customer service? Do you ever ask them?

What if you incentivized your customers to help improve your customer service?

Who has the best in class customer service in your category? If it’s not you, why not?

What company do you look up to as a leader in customer service outside of your industry? What can you learn from them?

Is customer service a priority to all levels of management and employees at your company?  Be honest…

Pricing And The Paradox Of Choice

While discussing pricing strategies and product line offerings with a client, I was reminded of a great TEDTalk by Barry Schwartz entitled The Paradox of Choice.

In the talk, he encourages us to break through the assumption that more choice equals more freedom and realize that we are often crippled by choice. In regards to marketing, people often refrain from purchasing something altogether if there are too many choices. Below is the TEDTalk. I consider it to be one of the most informative AND one of the most entertaining.

If you don’t have twenty minutes to spare, here’s a quick breakdown of Barry’s talk.

We all know what is good about choice. Here’s what’s bad:

Paradoxically, choices cause paralysis rather than liberation.

Example: Investment records from Vanguard have shown that for every ten voluntary retirement funds that were offered by an employer, ten percent fewer employees participated. With 50 funds to choose from, the fact that it was so hard to decide resulted in procrastination and a tomorrow that never came. Significant matching money (as much as $500/year was passed up).

Further, even if we overcome the paralysis of a decision that has many alternatives, regret is induced. This regret subtracts from the satisfaction of the choice that was made – even if the decision made was good and rewarding. We end up imagining the outcomes of the choices not chosen and become less content with the route that was chosen.

Example: A couple sitting on the beach in the Hamptons sits there dreaming about all the good parking spots they’re missing on West Eighty-Fifth Street in NYC. Everyone’s on holidays because it’s August and they could have prime spots in front of their building at home.

In summary, increased choices result in:
1. Paralysis
2. Regret

So, how should you apply this to your marketing strategy?
1. Don’t overwhelm your customers with too many product line and price options.
2. Don’t promise the world with your marketing and risk under-delivering. Create a situation where your customer is more than pleasantly surprised.

Video: On How To Stand Out

How do you stand out?

In Practically Radical Practically RadicalBill Taylor introduces the concept of “Vuja de thinking”. A way to look at a problem from a completely different perspective, or lens, like if this was the first time you had ever looked at this problem. (replace ‘problem’ with ‘strategy’) The book gives a lot of great examples of organizations that just think differently.  Here’s a good little PDF on Vuja De Thinking.

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The Greatest Myth About Creativity…

is that it just happens. Creativity is an art form, an unquantifiable, an intangible quality. It’s easy to claim “I am creative” then hide behind “but I have writers block” and not do anything, you’re not creative, you’re lazy.

Creativity does not just happen.  It doesn’t come out of no where at random. Creativity comes from discipline. Creativity only exists within constraints. Once you define the limits of your thinking, then and only then can you explore how far within those limits you can go.

People don’t just “become inspired”, you get inspired when you wake up every morning and create something. When you have a religious discipline for the creative process.  You have bad days and good days, brilliantly creative days and horribly useless days. The most important part isn’t the act of being creative, it’s the fact that no matter what happens the day before, you get up the next day and try again. Creativity is a habit of the relentlessly disciplined.

Product Integrity ft. Levi’s and Nudie Jeans (Video)

Video Music – Explosions in the Sky – Let Me Back In

Have you ever purchased a product and eventually lost faith in it? Whether it’s the healthy sports or vitamin drink that you feel no benefit from or the expensive sweater that starts to pill after the first wash, an unsatisfactory product that doesn’t live up to its hype can be very damaging, especially with today’s information-sharing ways, to a company or brand. Nudie Jeans’ raw denim and Levi’s Commuter Jeans are two products that live up to the hype, do what they say the will, and align with their respective companies’ values.

Nudie Jeans’ Credo

Levi’s Mission

Job 1: LEARN (Slide Show)

Before you do ANYTHING, do this:

Slide Breakdown

  • 1. Learn
  • 2. “The only way to win is to learn fasterthan everyone else.”- Eric Reis Author “The Lean Startup”
  • 3. It’s simple:If you’re not learning, you’re losing.Learn who you are.Learn who your customers are.Learn the platforms needed to connect.
  • 4. You.Don’t assume people will love you.Don’t incessantly bleed brand info.Create context, provide value, bend over backwards
  • 5. “Don’t simply spend on advertising to create an image for your business.Spend on the human capital andprocesses that will make your customer’s one-on-one experienceremarkable. The effect will be real and spread exponentially. Youradvertising will be real.”- Me Author “This Presentation”
  • 6. Platforms. It’s not about the next big thing. It’s not about social media. It’s about where people are.
  • 7. Market like it’s 2012. Not 2008. Not 2016. 2012.
  • 8. It’s simple: If you’re not learning, you’re losing. Learn who you are. Learn who your customers are. Learn the platforms needed to connect.
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