Tag Archives: customers

Lessons from Angela Ahrendts, Burberry’s CEO

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After our strategy meeting in 2006, we designed our website to speak to our consumers through emotive brand content: music, movies, heritage, storytelling. Today, more people visit our platform every week than walk into one of our stores. The majority of our employees at corporate headquarters in London are under 30 – just like our core customers. They understand who we are trying to reach.
Our salespeople had become accustomed to selling what was easy—relatively inexpensive items such as polo shirts. Our trench coats are not just raincoats anymore. They are the foundation of a great brand and a great company. We have been innovating around it.  We equipped our sales associates with iPads and our stores with audiovisual technology to show videos. We knew that beautiful, compelling content would connect customers to the brand and our iconic trench.
Actually, Thomas Burberry founded the company at the age of 21. He was young. He was innovative.

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Richard Branson’s 3 steps to success:

Sir Richard Branson
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#01: If you win people over, the profits will follow.
The first step in building a customer-focused business is to ask yourself: What can we can offer customers that others aren’t, or won’t, because they are so narrowly focused on profit? If you base your new business on this premise, it will be much easier to find an edge over your competitors.
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#02: Build on your employees’ ideas.
The second step involves encouraging your staff to think like and empathize with customers, and then tell you about any ideas that they may have for innovations to your product or service. Find a way to empower your people to follow up on their ideas.
Many of the best ideas are free – it doesn’t cost much to make someone happy.
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#03: Increase profits by being nice.
In some American classrooms I recently visited, there were signs posted that read: “Work hard, be nice.” That sign should probably be hung in boardrooms too. There is no better way to improve the bottom line than to go the extra mile for your customers.
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A.G. Lafley :: How Strategy Really Works

A.G. Lafley
Former CEO of Procter & Gamble (2000-2009)
“Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works”
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The biggest shortcoming among today’s CEOs is that they don’t think they need a strategy. They think they have a hot product or hot service. They think benchmarking, best practices and copying what the rest of the industry does is a strategy. They try to be all things to all people.
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If you’re not clear about which customers you’re going to serve, how to serve them in a unique and better way that creates real value for them, and your core competencies, you’re just not going to have as much of a chance to win. You cannot grow if you don’t end up making a meaningful difference in consumers’ lives.
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Why (Steve Jobs’) Apple (was) #1

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Why Apple is #1?

Simply because Apple (Steve Jobs) is the most innovative (not inventive, not creative) company of the past 15 years.
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Apple didn’t create the first MP3 player, the first smartphone, or the first tablet. And yet they, along with rival technology companies like Google, Blackberry and Microsoft have access to the same materials, the same bright minds, and the same funding. Nothing distinguished them structurally from other companies, so what’s the difference?
Why are more people buying iPods instead of Zunes, iPhones instead of Nokias, iPads instead of Samsung Galaxys?
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This post isn’t just to rah-rah about Job’s marketing prowess. At Apple, they think, act, and communicate differently. Marketing is at the “core” of the company, i.e. the customer occupies center stage. Don’t think of Apple as having a single “marketing department” that controls all its advertising and design, rather, the whole company connected to its customers, are the marketing department.
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The iMac’s biggest selling point was how easy it was to get onto the internet. Just plug in your phone line and go. That feature alone made it very enticing to new internet users.
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With iTunes, Apple had completely reinvented the way we looked at music files. Suddenly, we could download just the songs we wanted, and we did not need to go and get/order CDs (and place them on a shelf).
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So the takeaway lesson to remember from Apple Mac’s sudden surge in popularity is to discover what people really want (and not what you, in your office, think they want) and determine if they’d be willing to change and experience your idea in order to get that want fulfilled.
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The Little Black Book of Innovation | How it Works – How to do it

How it Works – How to do itScott D. Anthony

Harvard Business Review Press

Companies spend billions of dollars to advertise products that customers don’t want
Large companies are capable of doing amazing things, but when it comes to innovation, they just scratch the surface.
Marketing teams are busy producing PowerPoint documents on products rarely to be launched.
Companies often look for opportunities by saying something along the lines of: We have things to sell. Who will buy them?

What would you offer your 3-year old child for Christmas?
Dora The Explorer toy laptop, or an iPad?

The customer may very well prefer an offer that is sense & simplicity over complex & technical (what we call overshooting)

What is innovation? Something different that has impact. Impact means measurable results.
The word “technology” does not appear there. The word “creativity” does not appear either. Creativity, of course, can help in the innovation process. But innovation is a process that combines discovering an opportunity, blueprinting an idea to seize that opportunity, and implementing that idea to achieve results. No impact, no innovation.

Take Leonardo Da Vinci and Thomas Alva Edison. Both men were geniuses. Da Vinci was a creative genius. His ideas didn’t have impact at the time. Innovation is not an academic exercice where we think, think, think, but never do. The stock ticker-tape symbol, phonograph, incandescent light bulb, motion-picture industry… all have their roots in Edison’s labs in New Jersey. They all were different. They all had impact.

The new normal is perpetual change
In today’s world, innovation is not an option. And it may require walking away from the things you view as your core competency. Imagine: What if we were legally prohibited from selling to our current customer base?

Ted Levitt, “Marketing Myopia“:
Customers have problems. The company has potential solutions.
People don’t want quarter-inch drills. People want quarter-inch holes.

Peter Drucker, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship“:
Companies need to take a customer-first perspective to succeed with innovation.
Nobody pays for a product. What is paid for is satisfaction.
The customer has a problem to solve or a job to get done.
Now, if you go to your customers and ask them what job they are trying to get done, you are likely to be met with a blank stare. You just need to keep asking Why…? Hence…? And Therefore…?

Why do you want to buy a drill?  – I need to drill a hole.
Why do you need to drill a hole?  – I need to hang a picture.
Why do you need to hang a picture?  – I want to make my living room look nicer.
Why do you want to make your living room look nicer?  – My mother-in-law made an offhand comment about the room last time she visited, and I don’t want this to happen again…

The goal is to move from a solution to the source of the problem. Deep understanding of the problem can reveal the customer dream solution. Train yourself to spot signs of frustrations at your customers’.

A.G. Lafley, “The Game-Changer“:
Innovation is a process that can be managed and measured. The key to successful innovation is a customer-is-boss mindset. We have one and only boss. The Customer.

You need to focus on the customers wants and needs. You need to spend time with your target customers. You need to appreciate not just what the customers were saying, but also what they were feeling or unable to articulate. You need to understand what the person says he or she wants and needs, what he or she can’t easily articulate.

There are two moments of truth. The moment a customer chooses a product. The moment the customer uses a product.
Triple the amount of time you spend with your customers. Get the marketers out of HQ to spend time with the customer. It will help you feel their hopes, dreams, frustrations, and desires. This is a critical input to spot opportunities for innovation.

Joseph Schumpeter, “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy“:
The problem that is usually being visualized is how capitalism administers existing structures, whereas the relevant problem is how it creates and destroys them. Sometimes you have to destroy in order to create.
Schumpeter coined the term “creative destruction“.

Vijay Govindarajan, “Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators“:
Existing companies that want to master strategic innovation have to carefully borrow some core capabilities, thoughtfully forget others, and systematically  learn some completely new skills.

Dave Goulait, P&G Innovation Productivity Team:
To do something different, you have to do something different. It is almost Einsteinian in its simplicity.
If your mission is to shake up the corporate establishment, or to create what does not exist, you simply cannot do the same thing that everyone else is doing.
Historically great companies such as Kodak, Digital Equipement Corp., IBM, Sears, General Motors, Sony, Nokia, Microsfot, RIM (…) stumbled by doing precisely what they were supposed to do.

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