September 2012 - c3centricity | c3centricity

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How to Innovate better than Apple

Last week I gave a lecture to a group of Executive MBA students at Miami University. It was a fabulous new experience for me, having only done lecturing in European Business Schools until now. There were lots of great questions and many comments about why organisations do what they do when looking to innovate.

It’s always easier to identify the sub-optimal processes a company uses when you’re on the outside and even easier to suggest possible changes that are needed, but when you are in the heat of the action, it is not so obvious.

I therefore thought it would be useful to list some of the ideas we came up with, in the hope that it will help all those challenged to improve the status quo within their own organisations and to provide some new ways to look at innovating outside the box.

 

#1 What business are you in?

When you are looking to innovate, instead of starting with your own current technology and skills, or products and services, how about taking a step back and thinking about what business you are really in. Lego is a great example; they realised that they were not selling (just) toys; they understood that they were in the imagination business. Which business are you in? Do you have an opportunity to redefine it? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Food: Family Time, Neutraceuticals – offer family sized portions, children’s play areas, partner with another industry as Nestlé did with L’Oreal when creating Inneov
  • Cigarettes: Personal Pleasure – tobacco companies should be going far beyond their current simplified expansion into electronic cigarette offerings
  • Alcohol / Beverages: Fun / Relaxation: br and lounges, music, video or internet services
  • Pharmaceuticals: Wellness – instead of curing or treating, offer prevention

 

#2. Can you add something new to an existing product?

Professor Steenkamp Knox Massey Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Area Chair of Marketing at Kenan-Flagler, proved back in 2007 that at least for Fast Moving Consumer Goods, small innovations (which are often referred to as renovations) can be just as successful as large step-changing breakthrough innovations. His research came to the conclusion that it was the ones that fall in the middle of “newness” that don’t meet with significant customer success. So what small changes can you make to your current offer to make it more appealing?

How about adding sound to a food, as Kellogg’s did with their Rice Crispies or Nestlé did by adding a layer of chocolate to the top of their cream deserts in France? Or what about adding smell to your outlet, as bakers and coffee houses already do these days, or Singapore Airlines did many years ago? A small change can have a big impact, especially if tapping into a different sensory perception from those customers are used to having stimulated.

 

#3. Can you add a service to the product?

Some products are actually designed to work with services, which are quite often the more expensive part of the sales equation (e.g. razors and blades or espresso capsules which are not only br and specific but can also only be bought online). However, there are other products that have provided additional services to their customers, by building upon their relationship with them, and boosting loyalty, even significantly in many cases. Examples include:

  • Starbucks offer more than coffee; their outlets are a “home away from home”, offering comfy sofas, free internet, tables for working and meetings
  • Purina offers pet insurance
  • Gerber offers college fund investment packages

 

#4. Can you change the packaging to make it more convenient?

Observe how your customers are using your product in their normal daily lives, as well as the products of your major competitors. Identify issues they have whilst using it, or ways they compensate for a product that is less than ideal for them and then add this extra benefit not offered by your competitors. Some recent examples:

  • Adding a simple h andle to a larger pack makes it easier for your customers to carry; these can be found on Dog Food and Toilet Paper, but not on all Cat Food and Kitchen Towels
  • Repackaging your product into smaller or single portion packs, if this is how most of your customers are using it. Incidentally these single portion packs may find a further use in developing markets where the price point is important for attracting potential new customers.
  • Inverting the tube of thick or creamy substances – as Heinz did for the Ketchup, or many toothpaste manufacturers did for some of their br ands

 

#5. Can you combine some of your current offers or extend a br and into an adjacent category

P&G have many examples of doing this very successfully, following the reduction in the number of br ands they offered about ten years ago. For example, they combined the sheeting action of Cascade & the water-filtering technology from PUR to create a spotless car-wash product under the Mr. Clean br and. Both Nestlé and Unilever have extended their confectionery br ands into ice-cream bars.

 

#6. Can you deliver the product or service in a different way?

Many airlines, including British Airways and Air France, now offer a fourth class on board their aircraft, premium economy / coach. The extra services they offer include priority check-in and boarding together with business class, as well as more legroom and better services on board than economy / coach.

Zappos has been built on service and they even have it in their slogan “Powered by Service”. They regularly surprise and delight their customers by offering express delivery for free. As their CEO Tony Hsieh is quoted as saying:

“Customer Service shouldn’t be a department;

it should be the entire company”

How could you surprise and delight your own customers by exceptional or additional services?

These examples have hopefully stimulated your own thinking, to take it outside your current innovation box. If you have other ideas, then please share them below; we would love to hear about your own creative examples.

However, if you would like support in reinventing your own innovation, why not do like many of our clients and start your journey in the fast-lane, by asking for a 1-Day catalyst session? We would love to catalyse your business to even greater success.

For more information on innovating brilliantly, please also check out our website: www.C3Centricity.com

C3Centricity.com uses images from Dreamstime.com and Kozzi.com

The 10 Laws of New Marketing

Earlier this week, I gave a short presentation to a group of top marketing and communications experts on the topic of new marketing. If you want to know what I shared about the new customer and what it will change for marketing, then read on.

The meeting was the second part of a series of talks on building great br ands and most of the presentations were from creative agencies and global br and builders. I had perhaps the less enviable task of speaking about the new dem ands on us all as marketing and communications experts, and the things we are going to have to consider because of the new environment in which we work.

Following the very lively discussion after my presentation, I realised that we could all do with revising the unspoken laws of marketing and communications to meet the desires of these new customers, so here are my ideas, with apologies to any resemblance to the original decalogue:

 

#1. You must not have any other customer but me

Customers want to be treated as individuals and although we marketers may be segmenting and communicating to target groups, we should always treat customerson a one-on-one, personalised basis whenever we can.

 

#2. You must not take yourself seriously

Sometimes we get so tied up in what we are doing and our perceived importance of it, that we forget that our communications are just one of a very large number that our customers will see in a day. How many? Well guestimates range from 250 to 20,000, but who knows? What is more important to underst and is that it is their resonance and emotional link to our customers that matters, not how much we like them.

 

#3. Do not misuse the name of your br and

Our br and means something to our customers and it is essential to underst and what that is; what personality it has and how it fits into our customers lives. Their loyalty builds an intimacy with br ands that they will protect ferociously if we try to make (too many) unwelcome changes. As examples take the infamous failed launch of New Coke, or Cailler’s experience when trying to revamp their packaging.

 

#4. Remember to never observe a day of rest

Our customers expect to be able to connect with us on their terms. This means whenever, wherever availability, with the exact information and answers they need at that particular time. Don’t miss the opportunities given to you by your customers to communicate, by doing it in the wrong way, place or time, or even worse, not being available at all.

 

#5. Honour your parent br and

Many br ands in your portfolio are part of a family of products; some may even stretch across categories. Ensure that your br and messages, tone and content are coherent and complimentary. If you are using your company name in addition, remember that it’s image will also have an additional role in image building.

 

#6. You must not kill great ideas

Some of the best ideas for new products, services and communications come from customers. Instead of killing some of their ideas without a second thought, try to underst and not what they say, but what they mean by it. As an example take the well-known quote from Henri Ford “”If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Underst anding what your customers desire, even dream for, means underst anding the reason behind their requests, rather than the content itself.

 

#7. You must not be disloyal

Your customers vote for you with their wallets and in fact pay your wages every day. They deserve your respect and you must do whatever you can to surprise and delight them. Never fall short of giving excellent service. The extra mile is shorter than you think, but pays h andsomely.

 

#8. You must not steal

Your customers don’t expect you to offer exactly the same as your competition, so there is nothing to be gained by copying (stealing) their ideas. Be unique and st and for your values; you may not resonate with everyone, but your own customers will feel a much stronger link, because you will be satisfying them precisely.

 

#9. You must not testify falsely against your competitors

Following on from the previous law, don’t bother to compare your competitor to you unfairly. Customers are wary of false claims and are capable of making their own comparison, if you provide all the relevant information to them. In fact the result of the comparison will be all the stronger because they themselves have done it.

 

# 10. You must not crave your competitors’ properties

In every market there is room for good competition, so concentrate on what your product or service can do for your customers.  Don’t crave for what you can’t have or what you can’t be. Be the best you can and if that is still not enough, find a new way to better satisfy your customers, by going back to listening to and watching them. Knowledge and underst anding can provide the answers if you are willing to integrate and dig deep.

If you follow these rules, then you will be prepared for the new marketing challenge and be in a significantly better position than all of your competitors, to satisfy and delight your customers.

Have I forgotten an essential ingredient of today’s marketing and communicating challenge? Then please let me know below.

For more information on underst anding and communicating with the new customer, please check out our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/

Four Steps to Building Br and Affinity

This week’s guest post is from C3Centricity partner PhaseOne. Terry Villines, their senior vice-president shares some of the learnings from their proprietary research, which identify the characteristics of br and communications that successfully elicit emotional responses. See how your communication compares.

There’s no question that the role br and-sponsored communications play in building br ands has changed drastically.  Remember when we were held to a benchmark of quant testing and getting a high Persuasion score or high Br and Linkage score on an advertisement?

Today, with the influx of channels, and having our customers and prospects in control of how and when they receive our messages, we have to think beyond the persuasiveness of any one message.  We have to build a relationship with our targets, participate in the conversation, elicit an emotional response, and ultimately build affinity for our br and.  Persuasion and motivation are so much more than any one communication.

But how do br ands build that affinity?  How do they elicit emotional responses?  It was only a year or so ago that br ands felt that if they could get their web-posted video to go viral that they were in some way building affinity for their br and.  But how many videos that you received or forwarded made you consciously aware they were br and sponsored?  In fact, one of the key attributes of a successful viral video is that it appears to be amateur and not sponsored.  Affinity is so much more than passing a video from one person to the next.  It’s about building an emotional connection, and there is a specific role your communications can play in building that connection.

In a recent study of 70 different advertisements covering 21 br ands and 7 product categories, PhaseOne identified 4 key characteristics of br and communications that were successful in eliciting emotional responses (getting consumers to say that they “liked” or were “engaged” by the communication).

1)      Entertainment – So what we always thought played a role in eliciting an emotional response holds true… the Entertainment value of the communication is the foundation.  Yet, entertainment on its own is not enough.

2)      Br and Integration – Believe it or not, building affinity for your br and requires your br and to be integrated into the entertainment; woven in like fibers of a rope.

3)      Meaningful Differentiation – giving your target a way to think about your br and in a way that sets it apart from other options they have is critical.  Just think about it: people become most engaged with messages that provide them with meaningful information.  Yes, it should be wrapped in an entertaining context, but without an underlying meaningful message, it is likely to go the way of so many messages our targets are exposed to – into the ether of our overcrowded minds.

4)      Absence of Issues – Because each and every one of us is bombarded with marketing messages day in and day out, the presence of any kind of issue (clutter, boring, unclear) gives us permission to drop out, not pay attention, and move on.

So the next time you see a br and-sponsored communication that you like (not just an ad that entertained you, but an ad that truly resonated with you), ask yourself if it contained these four criteria.  The same could be said for those advertisements or messages you simply can’t st and – where did they fall apart?  We know these principles hold true across platforms – do you see it when you engage with a br and online or out of home?

For more on communicating effectively with your target audience, don’t forget to check out C3Centricity’s website https://www.c3centricity.com/home/engage and contact us for an informal chat on how we can support the optimisation of your own communications.

6 Secrets to Better Customer Relationship Building

Yesterday I read a wonderful post from Ted Rubin about IBM’s recent Global Summit, which used an unusual emotional stimulation to connect with the participants. It also illustrated how emotions can be used for customer relationship building as well as for prompting longer-term memory in potential customers. If that is what you too want to build, read on.

Ted mentioned that when it was first announced, that they were going to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s Longest H andshake Chain “You can imagine the reaction of the attendees. The first response was one of amazed disbelief. “Really?” And then, “Wow, this will be something to always remember as a group!” This is the sort of thing you naturally tell your kids about… and then tweet, and post to Facebook. The energy in the room and the excitement of the crowd were palpable.”

I still remember the excitement of attending a local cinema morning when I was 5 years old, that was sponsored by a major tea br and. I should mention that I grew up in Cornwall, where tea is the leading day-time beverage and it is served as strong as the women who make it and the men who drink it. Even today, I can sing the song we learnt word-for-word before the film was shown and find myself buying the br and to take back home whenever I go to the UK.

What both these companies got right, was their customer relationship building based upon a group experience of their potential customers at the respective events. In my case I don’t remember what film was shown and I am not sure what IBM services Ted will remember, but we will both surely remember the br and names at the heart of our memorable experiences.

How are you getting into the brain of your own potential customers and are you finding a permanent place in it? Earlier this week I presented to a group of professionals at The Marketing and Communications Loft in Geneva. We discussed the many ways there are to connect with our audiences today, but also the challenge of breaking through the clutter of everyone attempting to do the same. As this Infographic “What happens online in 60 seconds” shows, there is so much going on online already, that it is becoming harder to build this emotional connection, which is the only way to really resonate and build relationships with your potential customers. So here are some ideas on how to do so:

#1. The secret of Information

Underst and what information your customers really want, not just what you want to give them. This is the single most important thing to remember when building a br and website. Read this post from Anita Williams Weinberg of Poppermost Communications for some useful thoughts on this.

#2. The secret of Needs

Review where your customers are on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and ensure you are using relevant arguments to resonate and build a relationship that matters to them for the level they are at currently. Talking status to someone who is struggling to feed their family is unlikely to get either a positive reaction, or recall!

#3. The secret of Polysensoriality

Realise that products alone are rarely building an emotional connection and need a point of differentiation. Adding sensorial experiences will link directly with consumers and ensure higher loyalty even when product performance is similar to a competitor’s. Cars and personal care products are two industries that already rely on these to resonate with their potential clients.

#4. The secret of Surprise

Another way of increasing the emotional connection of a br and is by adding appropriate services to your offer. Zappo’s is a great example of how to do this; their slogan “Powered by Service” and their habit of training all new hires in customer service, including time in their care centres, ensures all employees are truly customer centric and will go above and beyond their duty to satisfy their customers.

#5. The secret of Underst anding

Surprise your customers with an extra they weren’t expecting. Amazon was one of the first to propose other relevant articles to their customers whether they were merely browsing or after having purchased. The emotional connection their customers feel by being understood clearly outweigh any feelings of “Big Brother” watching, although this of course remains a risk, especially for other companies trying to replicate the service idea.

#6. The secret of Service

Welcome the chance to solve complaints. According to the results of research recently conducted by The Temkin Group, 89% of customers have switched to a competitor after just one negative experience and only around 4% will even complain. It therefore makes good business sense to treat complainers as providing you with the prized gifts that they are doing and to do everything you can to solve their issue. Go “over the top” in listening to them and resolving their issue to their complete satisfaction, not yours. A positive experience will be shared with friends and family, as well as on the web, as will a negative one, so make sure your company delivers the former.

I hope this has given you some food for thought on how to start building relationships with your customers, to gain a place in their hearts and minds through using emotional connections. If you have any other ideas, we would all love to hear them, so why not share them below?

For more information on how to better connect with your customers to build relationships, please check out our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/engage/

C3Centricity.com uses images from Dreamstime.com and Kozzi.com

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