Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Investing in Innovation

Monday, July 17, 2006


Do whatever is necessary to understand each individual on your team

You will not be able to motivate people unless you discover precisely what it is that makes them tick. Think hard about each individual; learn their background; conduct personality profiling.

Friday, July 14, 2006


See in others more than they see in themselves
Your job as a manager is to identify the potential in others, often previously completely unseen and untapped, and then make sure that they fulfill it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

from Motivate!

Players play, managers manage

Managing is too important to be a part-time pursuit. If you’re a manager, concentrate solely on getting the best out of others.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Incorporating your Brand into Everyday Lives

How is it that only now, companies are beginning to think, “Hey, maybe our audiences don’t want to be bombarded with advertisements?”

With TIVO, the Internet, and the mute button on the remote control, it’s easy for marketers to be very afraid that the largest consumer base is looking elsewhere. But, in the midst of all the booming technology, marketers are retreating to the more simple concepts that are less “in your face.”

In this week’s The Wall Street Journal, executive vice president and director of integrated marketing at TM Advertising James Hering says, “People are just tired of being yelled at.”

The newest trend in advertising is trying to fuse into people’s daily lives.

That's why we use our C.H.E.M. tool:
* Connecting -- fit in their world, not try to disrupt it
* Honest -- utilize your best data, not distort it
* Easy -- simplify communications, not make it more difficult
* Motivating -- show customers how to take action, not demand it

If you can become part of people’s everyday scenery, they are more likely to study the “ad” and be open to seeing and hearing what it is about. If you think that maybe people who like flavored coffee will like your newest flavored cereal, make that their newest breakfast.

Put the cereal next to the coffee. Grocery stores are now the biggest place to sell. It’s the last place of decision-making. Put the Oreos next to the tampons, your newest juice flavor next to the alcohol or the bagels. It’s simple. Fit into people’s lives. Make connections for them. Certain things just go together. Put the breath mints next to the Doritos. Maybe these companies need to merge.

Can you imagine if Lays marketed a new brand of breath mints that specifically cut the lingering stench that the Cool Ranch, or Spicy Cheese chip causes, then put them next to each other in the grocery store aisle?

All I’m saying is that, advertisers are making a great move by being less bombarding, but maybe some research needs to be done in the grocery stores.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Keeping the Brand Alive

As a follow up to our June 26th blog, Branding Motorola cell phones with the stars, I wanted to recognize the ad I saw in The Wall Street Journal.

The Global Fund, which is benefited by the sales of the Bono’s Red brand, is looking for an Executive Director starting in 2007. The ad states that since it was founded in 2002, it has attracted $8.9 billion dollars and is funding programs in 131 countries. Who is up for “one of the most exciting opportunities in international health and development”?

While Red is trying to stay hot, sexy, and cool, The Global Fund is looking for someone with proven leadership and strategic management, international experience in health & development, and experience working with boards of directors. Oh, and you have to speak multiple languages.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Expanding your Brand

It’s a dream come true! Chrysler, in its latest Dodge Caliber, transformed the typical glove compartment into a cooler for drinks and snacks! While I’m thinking soda and candy bars, in marketing this genius idea, they claimed on Comedy Central’s Stand-Up that, “The chill zone holds up to four hands!”

Self-deprecating humor, or “mocketing” is the latest risk-taking strategy being used to expand brands across target markets, some of which were highlighted in Brandweek last week. Using different forms of parody and approaching their consumers with a relaxed, open-mind has proved success for NASCAR, Boost Mobile, and Toyota.

It’s risky because humor is so selective, and companies cannot afford to offend their consumers and risk drowning their product. NASCAR, whose popularity has skyrocketed in the last decade, is willing to take that risk. Will Ferrell will be staring in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Definitely a parody of Days of Thunder and NASCAR, the movie will attract NASCAR fans, Will Ferrell fans, and millions of movie-goers of all ages, genders, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds—everyone. Sarah Nettinga, media entertainment director at NASCAR says, “Comedy may be risky, but stepping out of the box and away from the safety zone can pay dividends in expanding the brand’s core fan/consumer base.”

One of the parodies was on MADtv. Toyota’s low-end Yaris were parodied as “the ride of nonconforming underachievers, not the likes of Donald Trump.” An edgier approach like this appeals to a broader population whose access to communication mediums is just as alternative as their humor; chat rooms, blogs, message boards.

Taking risks for the opportunity of brand name expansion will be successful so long as you keep in mind all the elements of moving your brand, as entailed in our “Forward. Fast. ® model. They are:
-Quality offering
-Quality experience

Friday, July 07, 2006

A More Innovative Way to Innovate

“We sit there looking embarrassed like we’re all new to a nudist colony,” says Joe Polidoro who has worked for a variety of banks.

“I can’t remember a single instance where a group produced a really creative idea,” says John Clark, a former university dean of engineering.

“It can’t be scheduled at 9:15am, I’m more mercurial than that,” says Kate Lee, General Electric worker.

“The best way to get good ideas is to get people to write them down privately and then bring them in,” says Harvard professor David Perkins.

“There are so many things people do in management because they think it’s good, but there’s no evidence for it. Teamwork is one example. Brainstorming is another,” says Paul B. Paulus, professor of psychology at University of Texas at Arlington.

The Wall Street Journal recently featured an article about brainstorming in the workplace, and it conclude that collaborative brainstorming sessions are nothing but a waste of time. Managers use these sessions to make people feel like they have a voice in the decisions that will affect the company. But while teamwork is the American way, and “there is no bad idea”—it’s not always the best way, and yes, there is.

Terms like “coblabberation” and “blamestorming” are commonly practiced in team situations with a diverse group of people to the point where they come to obvious conclusions, or even worse, mediocre ideas.

As a creative facilitator, I’ve walked into sessions like this, and it takes effort to get the group to a state of mind in which they actual feel like they have a voice, but more importantly, a state in which they are able to voice strong, creative ideas. Just a couple of weeks ago, our firm conducted brainstorming groups with nearly 300 scientists. We encouraged them all to take time prior to the scheduled meeting for brainstorming. This type of pre-work is generally effective. Attendees know the topic of discussion, and have ideas to bring to the table. This creates a nice discussion because they have thought through their ideas and are able to expand on them, and others.

I have learned how to motivate people for optimum performance – and with our Action Shoes® tool – you can create a productive meeting full of respect and innovation to help accelerate ideas and explore mediums for action.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Innovation Retention

I know a lot of people who attend focus groups on a regular basis. They have told me that in one hour they can make anywhere from $60 to $125 for sharing their opinions about beverages, CD label-making kits, or credit cards. Whether they use that money for rent or for dinner, they like the fast, easy cash. This type of quick fix is ok for the participant and maybe even the consumer goods client hosting the focus group.

But contrast that with the needs of pharmaceutical-biotech companies who are sponsoring clinical trials, and you see the needs for client retention strategies are very high. These patients need more than quick cash since they have to complete a more lengthy study. They need trust, recognition, and support. They need to be kept informed, shown that their values matter, and rewarded for their initiative.

Sound familiar? These are the exact things employees want from their bosses. In the workplace, compensation is very important, but when it comes to long-term employee happiness, loyalty, and retention—well, it takes more than money.

Anna LeGoff and Liz Moench share their research in an article “Patient Retention and the Power of Praise” in PharmaVoice.

“Employees thrive, are motivated, and stick around longer when they are recognized for a job well done; the same goes for patients,” the article says. And it lists these 10 ideas:

1.) Full appreciation for returning for study visits and following study instructions directly expressed by the physician investigator as well as the study coordinator.
2.) Learning opportunities about their condition and other relevant information that can help them manage their healthcare.
3.) Decision-making authority and autonomy--providing patients with the knowledge that study participation is their decision and choice.
4.) Flexible visit schedule (within the boundaries of the clinical protocol) to accomodate patients' schedules.
5.) Being kept informed about the study--how many patients are participating in the United States and in the world; how many studies have been conducted; the importance of the study and their participation.
6.) Providing feedback, making study participants feel that their opinion counts.
7.) Having a sense that their study participation is meaningful and they are making a difference.
8.) Feeling part of a study team with great people.
9.) A caring study coordinator who provides constructive feedback.
10.) Fair pay and compensation for participation.

While not all business have gotten this down yet, many have. So, pharmaceutical companies are incorporating the best practices of this model into their strategies for motivating patients to complete their studies. As in anything, it’s keeping people interested in your brand – and even creating what we call an Evangelist Effect to share their happiness with others – that will lead to success.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Equal Opportunity Innovation

In a perfect world, teachers would be paid like brain surgeons and non-profits could function as though they were making millions. They would get the money they needed and then some. A mere reward for all their hard work. With that money, they would be able to protect themselves and their ideas from big corporations and those ideas would be on the cover of magazines.

Unfortunately for Sound Portraits Productions, this is not an ideal world. This non-profit created a national oral-history project called StoryCorps back in 2003. Their trailer travels the country recording the stories of everyday Americans. The stories are archived in the Library of Congress and NPR shares them weekly on their new program “Morning Edition.” Since 2003, they have recorded over 8,000 stories and have grown to have two offices in New York and two traveling trailers. The value of these stories obviously goes beyond any monetary value, and contributes to the history of Americans all over the nation.

But last month, Sound Portraits accused the discount airline JetBlue of taking their idea. An idea they believe took years to generate and maintain. And they say it’s a project that will be put in jeopardy if this airline doesn’t change its name and concept from ‘Story Booth.”

JetBlue created the same type of trailer and the same type of experience for Americans to tell their stories. They even showed up in the same cities as StoryCorps. And while the airline thinks it’s ridiculous for the non-profit to take credit for the idea, the point is, they can’t even fight JetBlue in court for the rights of their project. They don’t have the resources.

“StoryCorps is the boldest attempt I have ever seen to take the American art of storytelling and bring it everywhere in the country. I find it astonishing that any company would try to capture and take that spirit and apply it for commercial purposes,” says Ken Stern, executive vice president of NPR.

It raises the question: How can we combine the humanistic passion from the non-profits and the money and resources from big business?

Perhaps in the answer, innovation for both can be expressed equally.