Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Release The Child In You!

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Pablo Picasso

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As children we explored and created, working in all mediums (e.g., crayons, paints, pencils, paper cutouts, etc.) before we even mastered our native language.  Some of us even created some good art that got exhibited on refrigerator doors.  Then we learned our native languages and asked a lot of questions.  Why this?  Why that?  Are we there yet?  Some of us even performed for our family/friends – we sang songs, danced, performed skits, etc.  Then we messed up and lied; a form of imaginative story-telling!

What happened after our formative creative years?  We went to school, competed for grades so we could get into the best academic institutions at all levels.  Outside of the few that continued to be creative (e.g., writers, artists, musicians, etc.), our grades were predicated on right or wrong answers.  If we answered enough questions right, we landed top jobs in top professions.  To earn more money we had to perform within the guidelines of our chosen professions.  Somewhere we abandoned the creative process of childhood. 

The respective organizations for which we worked needed to always operate in the black.  Consequently performance guidelines where established.  Everyone was expected to perform within the guidelines.  Employees were not rewarded to be creative.  Existing organizations lost their innovative spark!  

Innovation will drive future sustainable business models.  Help your organization innovate so it can evolve into a true market leader.  Release the child in you!   

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Two articles piqued my interest last week – David Brooks’s New York Times op-ed and Gartner’s warning about social business networks.  When I connected the two articles, I suddenly concluded that businesses I encounter here in America are really beginning to suffer from “short-termitis!”

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Citing American companies, education and government, Brooks’s op-ed Carpe Diem Nation, asserts that instead of sacrificing the present for the sake of the future like our founding fathers, pioneers that traveled west, each generation of immigrants, we are now sacrificing the future for the sake of the present.  One example: R& D spending; between 1999 and 2006 U.S. companies only spent 3 percent compared to South Korean companies 58 percent, Finnish companies 28 percent and German companies 11 percent respectively.

Information technology research and advisory company Gartner predicts that 80% of social business efforts will not achieve intended benefits until 2016.  Gartner defines social business as more than just using social media platforms to get closer to customers.  They believe social business is all about the communication platforms utilized both externally and internally to improve an organization’s overall business functions.  The end game according to Gartner is all about getting everyone (customers, management, employees and business partners) speaking a common language, thus collaborating.  Gartner predicts that by 2016 and beyond, 50 percent of large organizations will have internal Facebook-like social networks that will be as essential/effective as email and telephones.

When I reflected on the two articles I immediately thought about the findings of an IBM survey I read in December 2012.  Among 1,700 CMO’s from 64 countries only 16% were actively utilizing social media platforms; 57% indicated that they will be there in three to five years; 71% admitted they felt unprepared for the challenges of today’s business environment.  My immediate reaction when I read these survey results was: “Why are they waiting?”  Then I realized that everyone is just focused on the short-term, not willing to change or invest the time and dollars essential for the future.  I emphatically label this “short-termitis!”  What are some of the classic corrosive signs of “short-termitis?”

·         Silos!  Silos!  Silos!
·          “That is not how we do things around here.”
·          An absence of experimentation!
·         “What is the ROI on social media?” 
·         “Twitter is for kids.  I use email.” 
·         “We do not have money in our budgets right now.”

Apologies to my fans: I have been on my soapbox advocating that it is time to transform and invest in your future ever since I first posted A Lesson From Charlie back on September 30th, 2009.  “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin 

Future winners, it is time to banish “short-termitis” within the walls of your organization!  It is time to adapt!  The future is here!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Expiration Dates

Control the daily flood of information + take time out to think = common sense.  Yesterday I was reminded of this winning formula that I first introduced back in 2009 when I threw out a pile of old periodicals that had gathered dust.

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The title of my old post was Timeout.  The Blink read: “Everyone gets so much information all day long they lose their common sense.”  Gertrude Stein 

The spine of my post addressed how all the daily information I was consuming was beginning to overwhelm me – email, my daily social media rounds, blogs, digital newsletters, etc.  Remember that was back in 2009.  Now it is 2013 and thanks to being proactive, my online time and community have geometrically grown.  However, I am proud that I have been taking time out to think, thus walk the talk.  Unfortunately in the process, the periodicals I subscribe to have taken a back burner.  Reminds me of the leftovers or open containers of unused food beyond their expiration dates gathering in a refrigerator; science projects that develop mold. 

My recommendation: We now live in an era of TMI (Too Much Information).  If you are on information overload and have accumulated piles of periodicals beyond their expiration dates, toss them!  It is more important to take time out to think so you can refresh your common sense.

Take time out for current thoughts.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dislike – The Missing Button

Thanks to social media we have become conditioned to hit the like button.  I propose introducing a dislike button.  For example: I dislike planned obsolescence. 

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Last month I went to my local AT&T store to replace my HTC Inspire which I bought in May 2011.  Sometime back in September of 2012 it began to act squirrelly.  I learned that I was eligible for an upgrade in December even with six months left on my two year contract.  I spent valued holiday time conducting research plus reaching out to my tech guru for a recommendation.  Conclusion: I was going to buy the Samsung Galaxy S III which I knew in addition to its capabilities had a better screen than my current TV.  Sweet!  Only $199.99, but AT&T requires a one-time upgrade fee of $36.  Remember my old phone had been on its death bed in less than two years; 16 months to be exact.  Throw in a DuraShell Case since the back of the Galaxy S III is as thin as a sheet of Kleenex.  Voila!  $242.98 later, I was back operating in our Mobile First World.

Oh yes, while I was in the store, one individual bought a Blue Tooth (an option I passed on) and another traded their Android in for a new iPhone5.  If my math is correct, AT&T grossed $600 in the thirty minutes I was replacing my HTC Inspire designed for planned obsolescence.

Beware of planned obsolescence!!  

Friday, February 1, 2013

B2G Marketing

B2C marketers: I advocate it is time to convert your consumers to valued guests.  Welcome to the new era of B2G marketing!

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Smart marketers understand the importance of bringing together all aspects of marketing communications, inbound and outbound via multiple channels to work together as one unified force – Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). 

Smart marketers crunch, slice and dice Big Data to know who their consumers are, where their consumers are. 

Smart marketers understand we live in a mobile first world, thus make sure all their marketing movements are mobile optimized. 

Smart marketers use all the available marketing tools in their tool kit to engage and get closer to their consumers 24/7. 

Smart marketers understand that thanks to all the clutter out there, they are fighting for their fair share of consumer dollars, therefore they are obligated to work extra hard to create the ultimate shopping/eating experience for their consumers. 

Tomorrow’s smart marketers will acknowledge no two consumers are the same and that each consumer should be treated extra special like a guest coming to spend the weekend at their home. 

Welcome to the new era of B2G marketing!

Are you prepared to become a smart marketer and build your brand, one guest at a time?