How to win in the age of the Digital Customer?

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How to Win in the age of the Digital Customer

data pulse # 19

The Chief Customer Officer has a new agenda . Creating a Customer Obsessed Organisation and designing the human and digital customer experience are top priorities to win in the age of the Digital Customer .

This battle is not business-as-usual, for the following reasons:

  • Traditional loyalty structures are eroding, causing companies to have to work harder to retain customers or risk driving up churn.
  • Customers expect high levels of personalisation, forcing companies to design experiences as close to the individual level as possible.
  • Agile digital companies are seeking to disintermediate the relationship between both traditional digital and brick-and-mortar companies and their customers.
  • Companies must now differentiate on the experiences they deliver to customers.

Each of these forces creates challenges; more importantly, the additive impact of these forces mandates deep-rooted changes in a company’s strategy and operations.

To state the obvious, customers neither understand nor care about how hard it is to deliver consistent, quality and personalized experiences.

Taking stock, the CCO’s agenda now looks more and more like the CEO’s or COO’s agenda.

The agenda

The CCO’s agenda can be separated by a line of visibility: some pieces customers can see, and some they cannot.

Key initiatives such as strategic positioning, brand and loyalty programs are traditional CMO agenda items.

The new and most important item is designing consistent, high-quality, and personalised experiences across both human and digital touch points.

The need to differentiate on the basis of experience is really what drives the deep-rooted operational changes below the visibility line. In most cases, delivering differentiated experiences is not business-as-usual; it will require more severe structural and operational changes such that a company looks and operates differently than it does today. The CMO agenda now consists of:

  1. Making organisational changes to better align capabilities and ensure a seamless delivery of experiences across human and digital touch points.
  2. Transitioning process design from being efficiency-focused to customer-focused.
  3. Making hard changes in people and culture, including leadership, new roles, competencies and a customer-focused culture that fuels the business.
  4. Putting in place an analytics capability to enable data-driven, personalised journeys.
  5. Initiating or accelerating the business technology agenda to improve technologies that deliver customer value and drive growth.

Combined, these efforts tell us that companies, and CCOs specifically, need to think hard about making a fundamental shift in their operating model. To add to the complexity, changes to the operations across the company need to be sufficiently cohesive to ensure they don’t damage or create uneven customer experiences.

For better or worse, this is what is in front of many CCOs/ CMOs today — to lead the charge to understand the consumer mind set in the digital age and truly become a customer-obsessed organization.

This isn’t veneer or some clever tagline. It is the hard work to differentiate and win in the Age of the Digital Customer

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Use Storytelling to explain your company’s purpose

 

The idea of “purpose” has swept the corporate world. Encouraged by evangelists like Simon Sinek, myriad firms like Coop, are devoting real time and attention to explaining why they do. But activating purpose is impossible without storytelling, at both the corporate and individual levels. Purpose is essential to a strong corporate culture, it is often activated and reinforced through narrative. Individuals must learn to connect their drives to the organization’s purpose and to articulate their story to others.

This is hard for most business leaders. Great leaders are often humble and reticent to speak about themselves. This impulse is admirable, but it falls short of what’s needed to inspire people to join in the purpose of an organization. And many businesspeople feel more comfortable with waterfall charts and P&Ls than with telling their own stories.

Only narrative can do that. Storytelling is a skill that leaders can — and should — hone.

Self, Us, Now

Ganz argues that for people to inspire others with the mission of their organization or cause, they must first link that mission to their own motivations, and then connect it through story to those of the people they are hoping to persuade. Ganz has developed a simple framework for those hoping to develop a narrative approach to their purpose-driven organizations: ” Self, Us Now”

Self

To create a public narrative for your own organization, start with “self.” This is perhaps the most difficult part for many businesspeople because it involves focusing on real events in one’s own life and explaining how these incidents established the values that will later link to the values of the organization.

steve jobs stanford

An excellent example of this is Steve Jobs’s address to the Stanford graduating class in 2005. The address was largely a deeply personal reflection on Jobs’s personal history — his working-class upbringing, his dropping out of college. Perhaps more importantly, however, he spoke about how his love of calligraphy instilled with him a love of design that would later guide his work at Apple, and how his cancer diagnosis reinforced in him a deep desire to live passionately and authentically — as if each day were his last. It’s beautiful storytelling, and it gives you a glimpse into who Jobs was, what he valued, and how that would later guide his work at Apple and elsewhere. What’s compelling about Jobs’s address is that it seems authentic and raw. A great story of self has to be a real story of self. Finding that story may require a leader to reflect deeply on her past and motivations, and communicate them honestly — even those parts that are embarrassing or imperfect.

Us

The next step, “us,” aims to connect these values with broader shared values of the audience — clients or employees, for example. In this step, you weave your own personal narrative into the narratives of others through shared values, experiences, hopes, and aspirations. In doing so you create a common narrative for the group or organization. In literature, a well-known example of this (one that Ganz often highlights in class) is the St. Crispin’s Day speech from William Shakespeare’s Henry V. In it, King Henry, attempting to motivate an English army demoralized by their lack of strength, calls on his troops to be a “band of brothers” fighting valiantly together for each other, their country, and the values they share.

anita roddick.jpg

While it’s miles away from the battlefield of Agincourt, The Body Shop is a Good example of how a business applied this technique. They focused telling the story of their mission : ‘To dedicate our business to the pursuit of social and environmental change.’ using our stores and our products to help communicate human rights and environmental issues. They feature the story of their founder Anita Roddick on the website. The story of Anita and her husband founding the Body Shop in Brighton in 1976. Anita wanted to found a health and beauty products skin care, hair care and make-up that are produced ethically and sustainably. It was the first beauty company to ban testing on animals use Fairtrade products and still sources Fairtrade products from around the world.  Anita was company spokesperson for years beyond her operational involvement. Just before Anita’s death in 2007 Body Shop was sold to L’Oreal , acting as a “Trojan Horse for environmental change within multinational organisations”.  A great “story of us” establishing a community, its values and how they came to be.

http://www.anitaroddick.com/aboutanita.php

Now

Finally, the close is what Ganz calls the “now” — an urgent call to action for those who wish to share the purpose of a group or an organization. Consider Great Ormond Street Hospital. one of the most trusted charities in UK.  The organization’s purpose is “Finding Cures. Saving Children,” and their site is filled with the stories of the kids they serve. Their call to action – often, simply to give financially — is simple, direct, and compelling in their videos and materials. meet patients like Dominic….. ( and Joe,Lara.Matthew,Sophia,Stanley, Zihora….)

http://www.gosh.org/meet-our-patients/dominic

Kickstarter

Kickstarter, similarly, has an impactful way of asking people to join its team. That narrative starts by having its founder tell the story of the company (the “self”). Their website includes pictures and short descriptions of each and every company employee (“the us”). Finally, the narrative culminates its “now” call to action with a careers page asking: “Love Kickstarter? You’ll fit right in.” These stories are most powerful when they are individually authentic, build to a collective narrative and values, and then seal the deal by asking the person reading, watching, or listening to join in.

Storytelling can be awkward and unfamiliar to many professionals, particularly if you’re sharing personal experiences. Yet the motivation for this storytelling is not self-aggrandizement, but to create a purpose and culture that others can share.

Purpose is what builds real passion, motivation, and buy-in for the stakeholders of any organization. And it can be articulated by leaders who’ve learned to tell their stories and the stories of the organizations, people, and causes they serve.

 

5 ways hard-headed leaders promote innovation

innovation

I have known many CEOs and CMOs over my career. The best ones created innovative transformational cultures. Many tried. Some failed to comprehend the definition of the word itself; others lacked the vital leadership traits to inspire creativity and implement great ideas. Those who were adept at driving innovation and sustaining it over the long haul had one thing in common: they were hard-headed.

Their tough-mindedness came from an unshakable belief that innovation is critical to corporate survival, and that without powerful and constant change, innovation would be elusive. These trailblazers were innovative leaders, but surprisingly some of them weren’t creative, themselves. That didn’t matter because they were good a recognizing great ideas and welcoming change. No change, no innovation.

So, how do unshakable leaders create change and how to they sustain the innovation outcome?

  1. They unsettle the organization. There’s a host of companies that get things done, control performance, spot problems and deliver their budgets. But the structures, the processes and the people that keep things ticking along can snuff good ideas and block movement through the system. Innovative leaders appreciate that there is a difference between what’s needed to run a business and what’s needed to foster creativity. This ethic prevents excessive layering from killing ideas before they reach the top.
  2. They’re hardheaded about strategy.  Leaders who embrace innovation have a pretty clear idea of the kind of competitive edge they’re seeking. They’ve thought hard about what’s practical and what’s not. So the approach is not wishy-washy, but focused and driven. When this methodology brings results, employees become disciples of the strategy and the culture that facilitates execution.
  3. They make innovation a priority in the “walk” as well as the “talk.” When executive teams demonstrate innovative thinking and practices, the rest of the organization is clear on direction. This facilitates coherent cross-functional teamwork and an innovative modus operandi that encourages diverse viewpoints.
  4. They take note of what’s already going on with a view to balancing creative thinking with the discipline of assessing solutions and their implementation. The best backdrop for spurring innovation is knowledge – knowing the business cold. Good ideas often flow from the process of looking at customers, competitors, and the business as a whole.
  5. They appreciate that not many ideas work the first time, so they’re prepared to praise failure, move on, or try again until the company gets it right. From there, innovative leaders marshal resources behind a few winners and then execute like the SKY Cycle team

Innovative leaders are a special breed. They aren’t as interested in “minding the store” as they are about “opening new stores.” Nor are they shy to admit to controlling strategic direction, influencing the culture, and monitoring the process and practice that unleashes business’s most elusive success factor.

great leaders business

Defining your Brand Tone of Voice

digital

The language of a brand is really decided by two things: where you are looking to position your brand in the marketplace; and the personality that you choose to adopt.

  • Brand leaders speak with authority and surety. Their language focuses on stability, history and confidence.
  • Brand challengers speak with defiance. They seek to challenge the way things are so their language focuses on change, hope and (sometimes) revolution.
  • Cult brands focus on exclusivity – so their language is peppered with tribal terms.
  • Artisan brands focus on craft and attention to detail so their language tends to be quieter, more insular and focused on the work.
  • Budget brands often use language based on frugality (how much you save) or generosity (what you get).
  • Quality brands seek to be steady and trustworthy.

 

In all cases, the language you use as a brand is directly aligned with your value proposition because, of course, language is a very powerful way of capturing and expressing how you see yourselves as a brand and how you want others to think and talk about you.

Personality picks up on these points of view and defines them more specifically. This helps brands in busy and highly competitive markets to distinguish their brand where there may be several brands competing in or for a market position. Here are three of the most important ways to evoke personality through language:

 

  1. Formality – the type of language that a brand uses is a strong indicator of the type of relationship it is looking to form with customers, and of how the brand sees the exchange between them and their consumer.
  2. Dialect – every brand should seek to own language of its own; a way of talking about what it does and what it stands for that complements the visual identity and adds color and texture in terms of how the brand speaks. Don’t just speak the industry language.
  3. Rhythm – every brand needs a speech pattern. It needs to speak at a certain speed, in particular ways, so that consumers consciously or sub-consciously ‘hear’ the brand’s voice in every interaction.

Once you know where you want to position your brand and you have established a personality that speaks to the strategy and distinguishes the brand from competitors, a really sensible next port of call is the frontline.

Speaking with colleagues is a highly effective way of gauging what customers are looking for in exchanges with the brand, what they like about how they interact now, and where they would like to see clear changes in the tone of communications.  Start inside out . These insights should then be applied to content and structuring of information as well as to tone.

Too often brands fail to make all these changes. They develop a new tone of voice to sit alongside their visual identity but they only apply it to a slither of the interactions they have with consumers.

When a brand fails to carry its new voice through to all its touchpoints, it quickly muddies expectations and experiences. Customers expecting the brand to behave in a particular way find themselves being spoken with in a different, often conflicting, way elsewhere within the same brand.

Here’s my rule. A brand may speak in multiple languages – but it should look as much as possible to speak in one distinctive tone of voice everywhere.

New Data Laws in Europe

EU Directive cartoon-proposals

#DataPulse 77

It has been over four years in the making but the EU Parliament and Council have finally approved the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) after the EU Council of Ministers approved the final text last week.

The compromise agreement reached just before Christmas has remained intact, having been agreed by both the EU Council of Ministers and Parliament. Today’s decision means that the GDPR text will not be amended further and is now in its final state.

A two-year implementation process will begin once the Official Journal of the EU publishes the regulation – the final step to complete before the regulation becomes EU law, though whether that is published before the 23rd June EU Reforendum in UK we’ll wait and see.

The real work for European organisations will now begin. The task of picking over the legislation and interpreting what its real impact will be is now underway.

The ICO who has been heavily involved in consultation and done a great job in the last 3 years will publish its guidance

10 Things that you need to know before ICO guidance comes:

  1. It’s a regulation not a directive so passes straight to law in all 26 EU countries
  2. Data processors will be responsible for data protection
  3. The regulation has global ramifications ( 23rd June vote will not impact UK)
  4. Users will be able to make compensation claims
  5. There are tighter rules on transferring data on EU citizens outside the EU
  6. Harmonised user request rights
  7. New Rights to be forgotten
  8. It’s data controllers responsibility to inform users of their rights
  9. Tougher sanctions- E100m or 5% of global turnover
  10. Encryption and tokenisation can come to your rescue

The Principles of the new Directive are good for customers and good for all of us 450m EU citizens: My data is my data and organisations need to treat it thus

  • Transparency of use to individuals,
  • Data use for specified EXPLICIT and LEGITIMATE purposes only
  • Proportionality

Overall this is good for customers, good for responsible organisations and with 2 years before the directive becomes law there is time to prepare ourselves and use this as an opportunity to build consumers TRUST in an organisation.

 

Look out for future Blogs on explaining the detail and how to prepare using ICO guidance

Data driven Foxes win


I have a confession: I am a Leicester City Fan. It started when I was 11 and went to Filbert Street watching Gary Lineker play. we were 2-0 up and I was hooked. We lost the game 6-2 and so began my love-hate relationship with The Foxes.

When the Premier League season began in August Leicester City were favourites for only one thing – relegation. They had only just survived the drop during the previous season and their manager had recently been sacked after a team scandal. To make matters worse, Leicester had appointed Claudio Ranieri as his replacement. The Italian was available after being fired as manager of the Greek national team following a humiliating loss to the Faroe Islands. Little wonder then, that at 5000-1, Leicester winning the Premier League was seen as more unlikely than the Second Coming of Christ by most British bookmakers. You could get better odds on Jeremy Corbyn winning Big Brother or Alex Ferguson winning Strictly. 

If only I had Believed and Kept the Faith and placed the bet,

At the end of the season Leicester City have won the Premier League, with 2 games to go. 

It is a remarkable story and one that marketers should pay special attention to based on 3 simple rules Ranieri applied:

  1. Clear data-driven Diagnosis,
  2. Distinctive Strategic Plan,
  3. Strong Tactical Plan executed with Excellence.

Clear data-driven Diagnosis. In Ranieri’s initial days at Leicester he had arrived with some clear notions about how the team should play. He talked to the players and looked at all the data-driven analytics of the way they played, and realised they didn’t want to and couldn’t play the Italian system. I have great admiration for those who build new tactical systems, but I always thought the most important thing a good coach must do is to build the team around the characteristics of his players.

The secret to future marketing success is data-driven diagnosis. It’s crucial not to arrive with established strategic approaches and prior tactics already in place. Listen. Drill into the data to understand the picture. Understand the new brand, the organisation behind it and the consumers that buy it. You only ever get one chance to perform a proper diagnosis so take your time here. Look for good secondary data, study the brand history and do as much in-market ethnographic work as you can. Ranieri and Leicester City were using the latest data driven techniques to understand the strengths of each individual player and build a clear data driven diagnosis.

Distinctive strategic plan Ranieri quickly realised from his diagnosis that his new team was not exactly skilled in the art of possession football. Leicester’s starting eleven cost a total of £22m to assemble; that’s about half a Rooney. Ranieri realised he would not win anything if he tried to play the game like everyone else. Instead, he gave up on possession football and focused on his team’s overriding advantages – speed and an inherent work ethic. Typically, when a team wins in the Premier League they have on average 60% to 65% of the possession in matches. Leicester are winning each week, often by several goals, with as little as 35% possession. Rather than control games, they use their speed and tenacity to break quickly with lethal counter attacks.

The real lesson here is to listen hard to colleagues and customers, drilling into the data, genuinely studying the situation and your strengths and weaknesses to identify a clear and often distinctive way to win in the market. Who will we target? How will we win? How can we play the game differently from the rest? These are the great strategic questions that set the direction for brand success.

lcfc ranieri strategy

Strong Tactical Plan executed with excellence: Leicester play long ball football to allow fast breaks. They harry and hassle their opponents until they can win the ball and attack immediately. Their star players, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, are encouraged to push forward and await the counter attacks that inevitably result from Leicester’s pressing approach.

The tactical execution and the tools you use can only be applied after a clear strategic approach has been decided upon, and must be executed with excellence.  Too many marketers are ready with tactical approaches but when you push them on the rationale for their execution it becomes apparent that the big strategic questions have simply not been asked.

Leicester have won the Premier League. the greatest turn around story. 

Claudio Ranieri should also be Marketing Leader of the Season 2015-16

Hitchhikers Guide to Disintermediation

Bla Bla1

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When I was a student at Durham University  we’d walk up to the A.1 , stick out our thumbs and Hitch a ride south. Sometimes we waited for a long time, and sometimes we had a very odd ride, but we had time and little money.

I’ve just driven my daughter back to Bristol University and things have changed dramatically in the last 30 years.

Bla Bla Car is a digitally enabled ride-sharing network, connecting travellers who are making similar journeys so that they can save on travel costs and meet like-minded from trusted community of more than 20 million verified members. it’s a great example of understanding customers stories and then developing a brand story using data and digital that works for customers , fitting for them .

Drivers who want to offer a seat in their car submit the details of their journey online and set a price per passenger. Someone looking for a lift can then search the offered journeys and book a place. After meeting at an agreed point and completing the journey, the users then rate each other. The feedback system promotes trust within the community so that people can feel safe and secure when sharing a journey

Bla Bla 3

Bla Bla 2

A fast growing example of a community sharing organisation that brings together users with excess capacity for their capital investment (someones car) with a user who has a need for that excess capacity, at in improved value for money .