Thursday, October 09, 2014

Ad campaigns for women focus on leadership rather than beauty

I've discovered a tremendous change in what are called beauty products' approach to potential clients: your confidence comes from the way you think and behave, not your hair or skin.

@DianaTheodores has tweeted two great campaigns: one from P&G's #LikeAGirl Social Experiment and one from Pantene on women constantly apologising.

Both campaigns focus on developing leadership skills for women. Has anyone noted how radical a change this is from the success that used to be promised due to feminine wiles?

Here's a story: I worked for one of the most successful women's magazines in NYC for a short stint of 8 months. I didn't know what I was getting into, right out of teaching drama at Brown University where no one really cared what your hair looked like or if you wore make-up.

On arrival at this first job (I was told I was lucky to get with a PhD and no experience), I began planning my exit strategy.

Why? The editorial strategy was (in short) to alternate articles telling readers that they are enough just as they are -- with articles that tell them they are not nearly good enough.

In other words, the editorial strategy - led by advertising - alternated enough support to keep readers reading with enough anxiety to make readers run out and buy something to make them good enough. Women need to dress differently, look younger, lose weight - you know the drill.

It was an editorial formula followed every month, and I didn't want any part of it.

What a difference a decade makes. Women have transformed the way companies advertise because of the way we think about ourselves. Campaigns are designed to target our aspirations. Apparently, increasingly, the market is demonstrating we aspire to leadership based not on our looks but on our confidence in our own ability to lead.
*Please note, UK folk: in the US cultural norms insist you don't apologise in business. One takes no prisoners, as I've been told as a New Yorker in London throughout my seven years here.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Commercialising research as a road to entrepreneurship and innovation

Academics are often dismissed too quickly by industry when not looking for R&D because communication is not necessarily a researcher's strongest suit. However, innovation is not subject-specific. It's a process that can be applied to anything.

Mix innovative academic smarts at every university with just a little help articulating commercial benefits, and the UK could take over the world.

I had the great privilege of working with academics across Imperial College and Business School helping them commercialise their research. This was the idea of David Stokes, Programme Coordinator (Cross Faculty) – Digital City Exchange, and Elizabeth Varley, TechHub CEO and board member at Imperial.

Please note: these researchers are already very successful finding commercial partners - businesses come to them. This was a top up as there's always room for improvement. David found me because I work with TechHub helping entrepreneurs pitch for investment and partners, and Elizabeth kindly recommended me to him.

And thank you Elizabeth, for restoring my faith in innovative thinking. When business meets academics in the right spot, anything is possible - just give the researchers a little help talking to industry.
Companies dealing with smart cities would be tremendously lucky to have any of the folks I worked with at Imperial - with their depth of industry experience, agile thinking, and energy to make things happen. Genuine innovative thinking is so hard to find.

Want to learn about innovation? Go directly to Imperial. I am not usually a betting woman, but I suspect you'll find someone to help.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Nothing since 2002? Why is it so hard for start-ups to scale?

This might be a small point, but it seems worth making based on a pitch workshop I gave at London's Google Campus for TechHub.

If scaling is the single most important capability investors look for, it's not just a technology issue. Even if you have a great idea for a start-up, it's a much better idea to get some business experience to make sure you can run the company before quitting your job and going full time. Another alternative is to get a founder with a lot of business experience to run it for you, of course. Otherwise, how will you grow?

Resist the urge to take money - as a loan or in exchange for equity - before you have a team that can make it all work in the long haul. HBR said it in 2002, and it's still true - a successful business requires a lot more than innovative thinking. See Why Entrepreneurs Don't Scale.

Just as an example of why founders might want to reread this old chestnut, back to my workshop.
We had a class-wide debate on behalf of a founder's concern: would investors respond poorly if he told them that the company was 5 years old?*

Some participants suggested that the founder shouldn't tell investors the company's age - 5 years is when you exit, they said. Why haven't you raised funds before?
I voted with the other half the class who said that it's an advantage to have bootstrapped. It gave the new company time to develop the technology and client base before selling any equity. It shows commitment to your business, they said (and I agree), and you're in a better negotiating position with a higher valuation.
Here's my conern:

A very smart, accomplished, internationally experienced group of people had a heated debate about whether or not to take a cash infusion.

But the management team's ability - or inability - to grow the company didn't even come up.
Did I mention that article from 2002?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A day with Jane Goodall and her remarkable team

I am led the closing workshop for Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots in their week-long residency at St. George's House, Windsor Castle. So I spent yesterday morning observing and listening to see what they might need in terms of skills at presenting their business proposition to corporates, partners, governments and volunteers.

When I've work with global charities, group dynamics can be fraught. Individuals mean well, but when given short periods of time together, their main concern is getting problems solved in their own countries rather than having a concern for the overall organisation -- or for each other.

Quite to the contrary, Roots and Shoots is a case study in how to do things right. Individuals from all over the world, with vastly different projects and challenges, talked for 4 hours about solving problems together. In fact, much of the time was spent finding ways to make sure they do things as a group - not to preserve the brand in a superficial way - but to make sure the work itself continues to run with the highest possible integrity.

Jane gets a lot of credit. At 80, she doesn't seem to have slowed down with her work - both as evangelist and on the ground. Jane is no figurehead - she continues to inspire and support her team in-country in a hands on way. She also vets those who grow her charity and Institute, and that has paid off.
Those in the field have accomplished what seems like superhuman feats in short periods of time. And with very little infrastructure, both as an global organisation and as national offices, they maintain connections with each other all over the world to improve they do their work as individuals and as a group.
One quick example: In South Africa, there is programme that helps children learn about how to treat animals by conquering their fear and making them more aware of animals' needs. The result has been not just healthier pets and livestock but more confidence in children. It's been repeatedly demonstrated by a new willingness by children in this programme to stand up for their beliefs in school.
Over lunch, everyone exchanged connections - to their own funders and other resources - that could help others start, develop, or expand similar projects around the world.
It's hard to convey in a short post the breadth and depth of impact that these individuals have had on their communities and countries - or how fast they've grown the organisation through love of people, animals, and the environment.

Definitely worth checking out, as is the Jane Goodall Institute, and I'm looking forward to help them tell their stories.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The financial benefits of diversity: Women improving the bottom line of VC firms

There has a lot that has been written on the financial value of new perspectives when organisations put women in roles of leadership. However, lately, there seems to be increasing evidence that VCs are leaving money on the table by neglecting to include women's perspectives in their investment choices.
Perhaps the most obvious reason is that with no women around, it's hard to understand of what female customers will spend money on. Women investors clean up here, as Inc's article says they "profit from others' clulessness".

Bloomberg said last year that VCs that back women-led companies do much better than those that don't. This is becoming increasingly true as women help each other in the start-up world and beyond. Fortune agrees. Gender bias in male-dominated VC firms tends to examine women founders in ways that miss the where the value is.

If this is true for start-ups, imagine what women in leadership could do for the bottom line of organisations with the infrastructure in place to reach enormous markets. Corporates, take note - and while you're at it, hire some qualified women to help take your business forward.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

STEMS: Good for kids and industry

In my 7 years in London, I've seen two ministers in charge of education who seem almost entirely unqualified. Ed Balls was a finance guy - and Gove doesn't seem to have much more experience than he.
In New York City, when the Board of Education was disbanded, decisions went to businessmen as well. Wouldn't it make sense for someone to have done a job before they manage others doing it?

Despite the top leaders, this UK government does indeed have a few smart programmes, probably created by experienced civil servants. Two are programmes around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and STEAM (the same, but the A stands for Arts).

(My friend and client, Tamsin Fox-Davies, now working and writing for Constant Contact, says a kitten dies every time you use an acronym. STEM and STEAM do so much good that they are bound to be exceptions.)

Both STEM and STEAM are equally useful for kids who want to go into industry and industries who will eventually want to hire them. And when industry gets involved, the combination of academic and commercial assets make the programmes more likely to spur on the economy.

Here's an example:
The Medway Science Centre Partnership is a growing community-led group, based in the relatively deprived Medway area of Kent. This group is supported by a number of local institutions, most notably The University of Greenwich and Medway Council. The aim of this group is to develop a Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education centre that will ultimately act as a hub for consolidating and promoting STEM activities in the area, with the purpose of supporting education and raising local aspirations.

Medway has a strong heritage in technology and in particular engineering, however, following the closure of the Naval port in the 1980s, the area has declined, leaving a real need to promote the benefits and opportunities in science, technology and the environment to children.

The area covered by the proposed centre covers a substantial population; within the proposed catchment of our centre there are:
· 170,586 Primary pupils in 680 Primary Schools
· 147,689 Secondary pupils in 136 Secondary Schools

Such a centre would therefore have a significant impact on STEM and environmental teaching in Medway, and the wider Kent area, which is relatively lacking in suitable resources. The centre would be of benefit both directly to the students, but also as a source of continuing professional development for teachers, and we have received strong support from a significant number of teachers in the area. We also hope to provide a conduit by which local science and education students – from the nearby universities: University of Greenwich, Kent University and Canterbury Christchurch University – can obtain a first experience of public engagement on these important subjects.

Medway Science Centre Partnership has been working with the EU-funded Recreate project to host a month-long, free, science and arts festival in the POP gallery within the centre of Chatham. This “Medway Science Centre Partnership presents” festival, will host a number of science-of-art themed exhibitions throughout the month of September 2014. This festival will be run along the theme of “The Beauty of Science” and will feature local and national artists and science communicators, with individual exhibits rotating on a weekly basis.

A particular focus of this period will be the “Hands On Science” weekend, where for two days the gallery will be converted to a hands-on science centre, free and open to the public; and featuring a variety of activities similar to those that will ultimately feature in the permanent centre, once established. Activities for this weekend will include: science-education shows by the London Science Museum’s internationally renowned engagements team, hands on science activities and meet-the-scientist sessions run by researchers from the local universities, scientific face-painting and exhibitions of science-art.
Anyone interested?
They would welcome anyone who is interested in getting involved and supporting the project, from business who would like to sponsor aspects, to volunteers in any capacity: @MedwaySciCentre

Thursday, August 28, 2014

One of the best storytellers I've met: Now easy and cheap to study with Doug Rushkoff

I am a huge fan of Douglas Rushkoff -there's little that he says that doesn't deserve mulling over at least. On top of that, he's one of the loveliest, least pretentious, and committed people I've ever met.

And what a storyteller: economics is usually dry.  Not this material, ever.

Doug is now giving classes that anyone can take. As of this Fall, he'll be a Full Professor of Media Studies at CUNY/Queens, the public university of New York City. He's teaching undergraduates as well as helping start a new Graduate Program in Media Studies, specifically targeted at activists and others who want to create change through media. You can study with him easily and cheaply - how fantastic is that?


This is what Doug says about the programme
Disclaimer: I get nothing from this except the pleasure of evangelising about someone worth listening to:

The idea is that media studies for the 20th Century was largely about reception: how we can “read” media such as TV and radio in order to better assess its intent and influence. Now that we’re in an interactive era, I think media studies has a lot more to do with how we create media, from email and tweets to journalism and movies. As I explained in the press release about the new program, “the essential skill in a digital age is to understand the biases of the landscape – to be able to think critically and act purposefully with these tools – lest the tools and companies behind them use us instead.”

It’s a truly fabulous department with an activist and intellectual bias, from Richard Maxwell (the leading scholar in the environmental impact of digital media devices and production) to Mara Einstein (Compassion Inc and Brands of Faith) to Amy Herzog (working on peep show arcades of 1970’s Times Square) to filmmaker Zoe Beloff to feminist and queer studies genius Joy Fuqua. And those are just the ones I’ve gotten to meet so far.

[Cheap and easy - what a world!]

You can take undergraduate or graduate courses at CUNY/Queens as a non-matriculated student, which means a la carte. That’s one of the main reasons I picked this school. I get a few emails a week from people asking how they can study with me, work on projects, or do some reading with me. Most schools require students to be full-time, and charge tens of thousand a year for the privilege. I wanted to be able to look into the faces of students across the seminar table without worrying that I was putting them in life-long debt.

So now is our chance. The undergraduate course is almost full, but the graduate course is not. Here they are, as well as how to register. You can also find application materials to join the program and get a Masters degree - in class schedules designed to let you have a job while you study.

Undergraduate Course: Media Studies 350: Propaganda

In this 15-week course, students will be exposed to the practice of propaganda as well as the assumptions underlying its use. What does the intentional application of propaganda techniques say about the governments and institutions using it, and what does its effectiveness say about the populations on which it is being practiced? Instead of taking a strictly historical approach, we will explore propaganda by venue and medium, including spectacle, atmospherics, television, and social media. For instance, in studying the use of spectacle we will compare the Roman games to the Nuremberg Rallies to an NFL football game. Our study of atmospherics will include Victorian The Crystal Palace, the 1964 Worlds Fair (which took place next door to this college), and Disneyworld. We will give particular focus to the migration of propaganda techniques between governments and corporations, as well as the way propaganda changes the greater media landscape of a society.

Graduate Course: Interactive Media Theory
The emergence of interactive technologies has profoundly altered our relationship to media and art from the position of passive spectators to that of active players - at least potentially. For longer than we might imagine, cultural theorists have foreseen these shifts, feared them, fought for them, celebrated them, and, clearly, misunderstood them. In this seminar, we will explore the thread of interactivity in cultural media as well as the opportunities and perils posed by the associated rise of mass interpretation, authorship, and bottom-up organization. It is our purpose not only to understand theories on interactive media as they emerged, but also to be capable of developing and arguing our own theoretical approaches.

How do you enroll? If you are already in a CUNY school, just sign up through the course catalogue. I will be accepting qualified undergraduates into the graduate seminar for the first semester or two. If you want to take either of my courses as a non-matriculated student, apply for non-matirculated status here (they make it look hard but it’s very easy), and then, simply email me and I’ll put you in the course.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What banks can't do for themselves: Reuters offers innovation for financial services

Most of discussion about innovation focuses on tech inventions and billion-dollar exits. This story of creative thinking demonstrates that the bigger the business, the bigger the pay-off.

Despite the ubiquitous, continuous fall-out of the global financial crisis, and the continuous challenges within banking practice, there have been very few effective solutions offered.

To be fair, regional challenges take up a lot of our bandwidth. In the UK, we had a hard time agreeing on how to handle problems as local as a couple of beavers who showed up, unannounced, and are causing quite a row among conservationists. Once this is solved, try working your way up to the NHS lack of funding or benefits, and it's hard to see how it will all come out.

Now move to something with the enormous impact on everyone globally - say, transparency in global financial practice. And don't give up.

Cross-disciplinary innovation is probably the most effective because it brings with it a kind of perspective that an industry can not have for itself. So despite the crazy agreements required among stakeholders across countries and continents, Reuters has begun to make a real dent in the problem that the banks themselves have not been able to. And they've done it in less than a year.

Anna Mazzone is primarily responsible: she's worth checking out.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

UK Research Council's Conference on the Digital Economy

A scary smart friend and client, David Stokes, has raved about a December conference that might be of interest. I write about it here because it won't get the kind of publicity that the more commercial events get.
It's called the DE2014 Symposium, and it's the prinicipal annual event of the Research Council's UK Digital Economy programme.
From what I'm told, the symposium is unique in bringing together the UK’s most innovative research thinkers with key members of the industrial, entrepreneurial, creative and finance communities.

It is not just for scientists, but is also aimed at entrepreneurs and basically anyone involved in the digital economy.
Check it out - more information than this, even, will be fully up next week at the same url.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Follow up on delivering information exactly when needed: this time, in person

Following from the last post, there's a reason that we need information delivered exactly when it's useful online: it's the way we think everywhere.

The best way to learn how to fish - or anything else, for that matter - is to master the skill in one context so that we can think fluently around all aspects of the problem we're solving.  Until we've got a lesson down in one area or kind of situation, human beings are not great at transferring learning among contexts.

It's a mistake many coaches make when they take people off-site: we might feel free and creative out of our normal work environment, but how do we sustain it when we trudge back into the office on Monday?

Terri Mcclements, a great thinker from PwC where I used to work, wrote about it here.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Despite press, start-ups aren't just for 20-somethings

No surprise that founder confidence has a huge effect on a start-up's success. As in most press, the focus is digital natives. Diversity, when measured at all, is measured by industry, gender, nationality and race rather than age.

The failure rate in young start-up companies that is higher in the younger population than in the older.   It's not clear exactly why, although there has been much attributed to the determined energy that carries the inexperienced into new ventures with less back-up and know-how than older colleagues who understand more of what it takes to build a business.  Knowing a little - in the exuberance of youth - can be dangerous.

Time for the over-50s to jump in with both feet. There are certainly perceived barriers to entry, most of which are age-related in a digital economy inhabited in greatest numbers by people who are the same age as their kids.

This perception won't last forever. As technology continues to move from rarefied to ubiquitous, the business experience that these people bring, and the desire to work for themselves (equal to that of their younger counterparts) will transform the economy.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Michelle Sellinger, The Internet of Everything, and Learning More Effectively - For Life.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rushing to Discover: The Only Way to Innovation

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Amazon's Smart Phone: Not so smart?

When I started as an early adopter in the agency world in the early mid-90s, Silicon Alley in New York corporates rushed to create websites once they realised the web was here to stay.

The good news was that they understood that a web presence was a competitive necessity - they knew everyone else had one, and the Internet was here to stay. The bad news is that they didn't understand what an effective presence actually entailed. So brochure-wear won over smarter ways of engaging clients and sustaining conversations.

Smart Phones seem to be going the same way - IHS has come out with a rather damning report about Amazon and their attempt to get into the market. Take a look.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Small world lessons: Reach out and hit someone important

I tell my clients, when on a plane, train, or automobile: just reach out, and you'll hit someone important.  Just try not to hit them too hard.

While you're apologising for dislodging a hat, why not start a conversation?   If you're persistent, you'll find a fan.

Something along these lines worked for Broad City,   It's a It's not just the web itself that is making the world a smaller place: it's also the pop culture we share on it that creates a bond that TV could never do at the same scale.  Their show gave everyone a big tap on the shoulder.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Is Everyone a Really a Gamer?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fighting City Hall: How do you change the story so you win?

I live in a leafy suburb of London on purpose: after spending my infancy, childhood, and (til now) adulthood in Manhattan, I needed a break from relentlessly urban.

I love neighborhoods South of the river, and Shoreditch is very chic, but I crave more green space than they can provide.  Even in New York, I made sure I lived near the Park, no matter how many Superintendant doorbells I had to ring.

(It used to be that one way of finding an apartment in New York is to walk up and down the streets of the neighborhood you want and talk to Super's directly.  Sometimes you gave them "key money", sometimes they just didn't advertise an affordable flat and it was yours.  This I did for 3 months on until I found my home.)

In the name of housing shortages, there are plans to build a huge building in my 'hood that will not only block out the light in our local green space but also create the kind of wind tunnel one usually only feels when entering some tube stations.  That will be the end of our outdoor market.

The planning document is a sham - there are so many untruths, either from fraud or neglect, that it's untenable according to English law.  Despite the disproportionate amount of money on the builders' side, however, the neighborhood might well defeat them.

I haven't heard anything like it in New York since the 1970s.

So What?

What does this have to do with storytelling, leadership, and all the usual topics in this blog?  For justice in the US, the answer to a bad man with a gun certainly isn't a good man with a gun.  The answer is blasting away a credible but false story with a credible true one.

(Would someone take on that gun story, for a start?)

It's not news that politics is all about which story is most persuasive to the right people to win the day in the same way that history belongs to the victor.

In New York, we call countering the dominant narrative "Fighting City Hall."  Here, I guess you'd call it arguing with the local council.  Has less of a ring to it, but it actually could be more effective.

Why?  There's a transparency in England, I've found, not available in the US, probably because of the difference in scale.  If a story is not true, there are more people closer to the centre of power who can expose it.  When the story breaks, all the news is national.  It is even more quickly international because many in the US who get their news from BBC Worldwide.

In the US, who lives within 4 hours from the White House?  In England, who doesn't?

English culture is built on a premise that the US lacks, and it's equally important in the fight for transparency of storytelling: people here believe that things should be fair.  It's not just an inward complaint, either.  When I approach friends, they say, "Of course things should be fair.  What are you talking about?"

My Fellow Americans, can you imagine a country where everyone believed in a reality that prioritised fairness, if not always in practice, than at least in everyday theory?  How many of the stories that you know are false would you stand up and fight with a better story - from local or federal government, from corporations, from people trying to get you fired, from anyone who's lying, really?

*For anyone interested in helping fight developers who will come to your neighborhood next, please keep your eye on 100 Avenue Road in Camden.  Link to follow.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

When Navigating Investment, Good to Know What's Out There

I came across Private Capital 101 and thought I'd share.  The article is selling something called The Pitch Book, and I'm not endorsing buying anything at all.

 But it's a hard road out there.  Good to know what's available, in case it's for you.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Marketing Reboot: Join Us Next Week with a Discount

I've had the honor to work with Tamsin Fox- Davies as a speaker next week in the Marketing Reboot.  Love the idea of shaking off the cobwebs and creating some momentum for 2014 in the midst of January blahs.  

Added bonus: you can have close to a 30% discount on the event if you enter ANNETTE20 when you register.

Here's Tamsin's blog post about what we're up to, and please join us if it catches your fancy.

How a Marketing Reboot Will Help Your Business in 2014, in Three Steps
What is a Marketing Reboot
A Marketing Reboot is when you take stock of your marketing to date, see what’s working for you, and make a plan to rework and restart it.
A New Year is a great time to do this because most of us have the time over the Christmas & New Year lull to think about our businesses properly. The hamster wheel has stopped for a little while, you’re not getting quite so many customer emails, and your brain has time to breathe.
The start of a new year also just feels like a good time to try something different and 2014 will be no exception.
Rebooting your marketing is all about assessing the best ways to get new customers into your business and encouraging existing customers to come back to you again. You’ll look back over the past year and see what’s worked and what hasn’t, and also give yourself a clean slate to work out what’s possible for the upcoming year.
Why you need to reboot YOUR small business marketing
If I was being blunt, I would tell you that you were in a marketing rut – doing the same old things, over and over again, with little awareness of whether you could do things more effectively for better business returns.
That may be taking it a little to far, as a ‘rut’ sounds like a bad place to be, although actually it can be quite beneficial – keeping you on a simple track that allows you to keep moving without too much thought or effort.
In reality, both of these things are true. Your marketing rut both helps and hinders you – the help is that you can get it done and you know what you’re doing, and the hindering is that you don’t try anything new or look for different things to experiment with.
With the increasingly competitive small business market, nobody can afford to keep doing the same thing. This is because our customers expect us to evolve – even if they love our long-term values, they want to see a steady improvement in how we implement them.
This is where a Marketing Reboot comes in. Instead of carrying on with the same-old, same-old, you’re going to look at your marketing as a whole and take proper stock of where you are.
It’s not as hard as it might sound, and there are three easy steps you can use to get going now.
N.B. Constant Contact is running a great free training programme throughout January to help you learn new things and put them into action too. More details & booking here.
Three steps to doing your own Marketing Reboot
1.       Commit:
Intentions are not good enough. Make a commitment to DO this. The best way to do this is to be accountable to someone. For some people who like to be accountable to themselves alone, it’s enough to put a daily reminder in your mobile phone, write it on a sticky note and pin it on your notice board, or to say it out loud.
For others, getting a marketing buddy will be more effective. All you need to do is find someone else who runs a small business and wants to reboot their marketing too, and commit to do it together. Figure out how that’s going to work – are you going to email or call each other once a week with an update? Will you set goals together? Are you going to share a reward when you hit a target or milestone? You will be able to figure it out together, and if you don’t already know someone who could become your buddy, come along to our Marketing Reboot conference on 30thJanuary and find yourself a buddy there.
2.       Make a plan
Motivation alone won’t carry you through this process – you need to figure out exactly what you’re going to do in your reboot.
I recommend the following stages, but how you put it together is up to you (and your buddy, if you have one):
  • Take a sheet of paper, whiteboard or flipchart and write up everything you’ve done to promote your business in 2013.
  • Decide what worked and what didn’t, and annotate your list accordingly (if you don’t know for sure, take a guess).
  • Take a new piece of paper (or whatever you’re using to make your notes) and write down all the things you think you could do to promote your business and create great customer relationships in 2014. This is where a buddy with fresh eyes can really help, as they may think of things that you wouldn’t.
  • Look at the two lists side-by-side and compare. Is there anything that worked for 2013 that isn’t on your 2014 list? If so, why? What is new on your 2014 list?
  • Put the combined list in priority order.
3.       Set aside regular time for marketing (and use it)
Now you know what you’re going to do, you need a timetable to get it done. Look at your list, and work out when you are planning to achieve each one.
Start with the items that relate to specific times of year, e.g. Valentines Day, Mothers Day, Bank Holiday promotions, and put them in first. Then work back and fill in the gaps to see where your other items will fit. You can use our free marketing calendar  to help you work this out.
Now decide when you’re going actually DO this stuff. I recommend a regular appointment with yourself. Block it out in your diary and keep to it (this is another time that your marketing buddy can help to keep you on track).
I find it easier to block out a small amount of time (say 15mins) every day, rather than to try to put aside something like a whole day once a month, or a half a day a week. You may want to try some different schedules out and see what works for you however.
These three steps will ensure that you can get your Marketing Reboot planned and actioned – bit by bit.
Rebooting your marketing means a better chance at building those customer relationships that matter so much, creating more sales for your business, and drawing existing customers back to you again and again.
If you want to find out more about rebooting your marketing for 2014, how to do it, and some of the key marketing techniques that you should be using, join us for our Marketing Reboot series of webinars and the one-day conference in January. 

Find out more and book your place here

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Blogging Around Chatham House Rules: Windsor Castle Consultation

Because I am a Fellow at St. George's House, Windsor Castle, I have the honor of introducing highly interesting people into high-level discussions that go on there.

Such was the case with Hermann Miller's innovative thinker, Mark Catchlove.  And the event that came out of the introduction was almost as dynamic as he.

Chatham House Rules prevail, so I can't say much.  But I can link you to Doug Shaw who attended, and facilitated, and he will share more as it becomes available.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Catching up in India: International presentation training and more

It's often difficult to find a balance betweeen being active and reflection, as my clients often tell me.  

I work with people who are so close to the details in the work they do every day that it's hard to see the big picture.  Generally,  our work together gives them both time and a new set of eyes to remind them of the value they have forgotten to include in the way they present their businesses and themsevles.

This Autumn, working with Cisco and UCL at IDEALondon, Constant Contact, Microsoft Ventures, FriedFrank, UKTI, Virgin Media Pioneers, WAYRA, BBC Labs, TechHub, the Clean And Cool Mission, and others I can't name - plus private clients who are on the verge of IPO, it has taken a trip to India to sit down and consider the past few months.

I'm in India working with an Auroville social enterprise that wants to grow and with Chennai's UKTI and TIE entrepreneurs.  The time continues to prove an excellent adventure.  Despite the fact that busiensses operate every day but Sunday, often until 8pm, life away from work in India seems to be more separate in the minds of people with whom I work than in the UK where people work until 5 or 6pm and have the weekends off.

In fact, my clients here turn off their business heads at lunch and in the middle of the day and seem entirely present with their friends and family.  The mobile phones are neglected except to text about social plans. 

I can't say whether or not this behavior is representative in India.  But what I can say is that my Indian clients have been quicker to complete training with me and present their business propositions engagingly. 

I suspected this is because they have access to more than one way of thinking every day, more than one way of experiencing their identities and relationships with priorities.

This seems to be true.  "I just think of the converstaion about family I had with my sister at lunch," said one entrepreneur when I asked how she transformed a rather flat monologue into an engaging presentation so quickly.

"Sometimes I forget that there are people who need to understand what goes on in my head," she explained.  "Then I look back on my day, and I remember that everyone hears what I say from a different perspective."

For the entrepreneurs I've worked with here, embedding emotional intelligence into every day seems to be useful for meditating on business.  "It's a practice," said my client, "and it takes discipline to enforce on myself.  But when I do, I know I work smarter."