tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/culture Latest Culture content from Econsultancy 2016-09-28T10:30:53+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68343 2016-09-28T10:30:53+01:00 2016-09-28T10:30:53+01:00 What does disruption really mean? We asked the disruptors David Moth <p>We know that all too well having set ourselves the challenge of identifying 100 brands that can be defined as innovators in their field.</p> <p>Along with Marketing Week and Salesforce, we scoured the globe looking for exciting companies that offer something different.</p> <p>Having tracked them down and produced a rather lovely <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/top-100-disruptive-brands-2016/">Top 100 Disruptors 2016 report</a>, we’ve asked a few of the founders for their opinions on what it means to be disruptive.</p> <p>In this video you can hear from the following people:</p> <ul> <li>James Kirkham, chief strategy officer at <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/disruptive-brands/copa90/">Copa90</a> </li> <li>Stephen Rapoport, founder of <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/disruptive-brands/pact/">Pact</a> </li> <li>Kirsty Emery, co-founder of <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/disruptive-brands/unmade/">Unmade</a> </li> <li>Justin Basini, co-founder and CEO of <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/disruptive-brands/clearscore/">ClearScore</a> </li> <li>Andy Hobsbawm, co-founder and CMO of <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/disruptive-brands/evrythng/">EVRYTHNG</a> </li> <li>Erin Ozagir, founder and CEO of <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/disruptive-brands/push-doctor/">Push Doctor</a> </li> <li>Emma Chalwin, marketing leader UKI at Salesforce</li> </ul> <p>And I’ve also summarised a few choice quotes below, but you’ll have to watch the video to hear from them all.</p> <p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/183472091?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <h3>What does it mean to be disruptive?</h3> <p><strong>James Kirkham, chief strategy officer at Copa90</strong></p> <p>"Crucially it means you then set the agenda that other people try to mimic or copy or follow suit.</p> <p>"Disruption isn’t just doing things in a different way that then doesn’t resonate, or go any further, or becomes a one-off, because that’s more of a gimmick.</p> <p>"It provides entirely new challenges of course, because to be continually disruptive you need to continually stay ahead of that chasing pack, but that’s also the exciting reason people like us are involved in a business like this."</p> <p><strong>Kirsty Emery, co-founder of Unmade</strong></p> <p>"Being disruptive means looking at a problem with a new perspective and finding a different solution through that new perspective.</p> <p>"So the way we do that here at Unmade is by having a team full of lots of people from lots of different backgrounds.</p> <p>"So although we’re solving a problem within the knitting industry we have people who are engineers, physicists, fashion designers, and also other creatives all working together."</p> <h4>Andy Hobsbawm, co-founder and CMO of EVRYTHNG</h4> <p>"The idea originally of disruption was that there are unmet market needs that incumbents can’t address because they’ve grown so broad in their approach to the market that they’re missing those fundamental pockets of needs.</p> <p>"Then a new entrant comes, identifies that specific thing that they want to serve, and they do that more effectively, with more focus, better, cheaper and so on."</p> <h4>Emma Chalwin, marketing leader UKI at Salesforce</h4> <p>"I think to be a disruptor in today’s ever-evolving world you really need to not be afraid to take a risk.</p> <p>"Some of the best innovators and disruptors in the world have just had that passion, tenacity and vision, and have never deviated away from the true core of their business.</p> <p>"They’ve seen an area in the market that needs to change, or the customer experience needs to change.</p> <p>"Brands such as Airbnb and Uber I think are perfect examples of where an industry has changed, someone has come in and disrupted and completely turned that industry on its head.</p> <p>"17 years ago Salesforce disrupted the software market by wanting to make enterprise software as easy and simple as buying a book on Amazon."</p> <p><strong><em>Subscribers can <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/top-100-disruptive-brands-2016/">download the full Top 100 Disruptive Brands 2016 report</a>.</em></strong></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4230 2016-09-07T11:00:00+01:00 2016-09-07T11:00:00+01:00 Embracing Digital Transformation in the Pharma and Healthcare Sectors <p>The <strong>Embracing Digital Transformation in the Pharma and Healthcare Sectors </strong>report looks at the opportunities that digital presents in these sectors, how they are responding to the changing needs of customers, the challenges companies are facing in digitally transforming themselves and how they are approaching these challenges.</p> <h2>Methodology</h2> <p>We carried out a series of in-depth interviews with senior digital professionals from across a range of pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and consumer healthcare companies to understand how they were responding to different opportunities and challenges.</p> <p>Companies interviewed included Alere Inc, Fermenta Biotech Limited, GSK Consumer Healthcare, MSD AP, Lenovo Health, Ogilvy Commonhealth Worldwide (OCHWW), Roche Products Limited and Takeda Pharmaceuticals.</p> <p>We also looked at sector-specific data from our <a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2016 Digital Trends" href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-2016-digital-trends">2016 Digital Trends report</a> published earlier this year.</p> <h2>You'll discover findings around:</h2> <ul> <li>Why companies need to have digital transformation on their agenda.</li> <li>How companies are responding to the changing needs of customers and putting them at the centre of everything.</li> <li>Ways in which companies are looking at digital and how it can support interactions with their customers.</li> <li>How companies are focusing on optimising content as a top digital opportunity and challenging the way they deliver content.</li> <li>The need for change management to deliver digital transformation and how companies are driving this cultural shift.</li> <li>How companies are demonstrating the value of digital and developing digital skills across their organisations.</li> <li>The new opportunities and challenges from innovation and technology.</li> <li>Overcoming the obstacles ahead as digital becomes more of a focus for companies.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Download a copy of the report to learn more.</strong></p> <p>A <strong>free sample</strong> is available for those who want more detail about what is in the report.</p> <h2>How we can help you</h2> <h2 style="font-weight: normal; color: #3c3c3c;"><a style="color: #2976b2; text-decoration: none;" href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation" target="_self"><img style="font-style: italic; height: auto; float: right;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/8296/rgb_dt_logo-blog-third.png" alt="Digital Transformation" width="200" height="66"></a></h2> <p style="font-weight: normal; color: #3c3c3c;"><a title="Digital transformation - Econsultancy" href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">Digital transformation</a> is a journey that's different for every organisation. To enable delivery of your digital vision (or help you shape that vision) we’ve designed a comprehensive approach to tackle your transformation.</p> <p>Covering everything from strategic operational issues, down to specific marketing functions, we will work with you to achieve digital excellence.</p> <p>Talk to us about an initial, no-cost consultation.</p> <p>Contact our Digital Transformation Team on <a href="mailto:transformation@econsultancy.com">transformation@econsultancy.com</a> or call</p> <ul> <li> <p>EMEA: +44 (0)20 7269 1450</p> </li> <li> <p>APAC: +65 6809 2088</p> </li> <li> <p>Americas: +1 212 971-0630</p> </li> </ul> <p style="color: #6b6b6b;"> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2q_lWLm5qtg?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68211 2016-09-01T11:56:00+01:00 2016-09-01T11:56:00+01:00 13 qualities that will help make you a great business leader Paul Rouke <p>Good leadership inspires people to become the best they can be and creates a platform that enables people to showcase and begin exploiting their true potential.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8301/FullSizeRender.jpg" alt="" width="581" height="435"></p> <h3>A story about bad leadership </h3> <p>In my mid-20s, I experienced bad leadership within a blue-chip company. I’m not exaggerating when I say my last three years at that company were the most frustrating, confusing and even angriest period in my working life.</p> <p>I was ambitious. I felt like I had a lot to offer my employer. I wanted to push myself; to take on new challenges. I challenged the status quo. I didn’t just come to work to do a job – I wanted to make a <em>difference</em>.</p> <p>I wanted to climb the ladder and increase my influence on those around me.</p> <p>Unfortunately, my manager (for their own reasons) wasn’t prepared to embrace my passion, drive, determination and creativity.</p> <p>I would regularly have to explain myself and my ideas. The feedback I got was most often negative and conclusive: </p> <ul> <li>“This isn’t going to work.”</li> <li>“There are other people that look after that.”</li> <li>“This isn’t part of your job description.”</li> <li>“Why don’t you just concentrate on your job?”</li> </ul> <p>I would often speak to people close to me to try and help me understand why my manager was entrenched in managing me in such a negative, condescending way.</p> <p>The general consensus was that my manager was probably afraid of my ambition, afraid that I may outshine them. </p> <p><em>What a crying shame that is.</em></p> <p>The nail that sealed the “I don’t ever want to experience bad leadership again” coffin was when a new role was being created in our growing team.</p> <p>It was a role that I felt I had the drive, passion and willingness to move in to and succeed in. It was a natural progression for my career.</p> <p>I was ready to stretch myself, I was ready to take on more responsibility. I was ready to increase my influence and impact on this blue-chip business. </p> <p>What was the feedback from my manager when I went to them expressing my interest in this role?</p> <blockquote> <p>We are going to look to bring someone in from outside the business. We want someone with more experience than you. It’s okay, there will be other opportunities for you in the future.</p> </blockquote> <p>Now my manager may have thought that dangling this carrot may have been enough to pacify me.</p> <p>As it turns out, I had stopped reaching for the carrot a long time before this exchange. I knew I was simply not going to be given the opportunity to exploit my potential with this manager.</p> <p>Around half-way through this three-year period of experiencing bad leadership, I started to ask myself these questions:</p> <ul> <li>“Why am I letting my manager hold me back?”</li> <li>“How am I going to break free from this?”“</li> <li>What more do I have to offer that I’m not being given the opportunity to do?”</li> </ul> <p>Unbeknown to my manager (whom I would continue to work for during the next 18 months), I made the decision that I would start taking control of my own destiny. I made the commitment to myself that I would no longer be held back.</p> <p>I decided that I was going to work for myself. I started moonlighting in summer 2004, and in summer 2006 I handed my notice in.</p> <p>I made a commitment to myself that I would never experience bad leadership in my career again.</p> <h3>A story about good leadership </h3> <p>It wasn’t until a few years in to being a freelancer that I started to consider the potential of hiring someone.</p> <p>My immediate thoughts were that if I do get in to the position of being able to offer someone a job, I was absolutely determined that my management style would be the complete opposite of what I had experienced.</p> <p>There is a well-known saying in business and leadership: “behaviour creates behaviour.”</p> <p>In addition, we all know how ideas, beliefs, experiences and perceptions all get ingrained within our minds over time. We also know how hard it can be to embrace change.</p> <p>For me, although I had never experienced good leadership, never mind truly inspirational leadership, I knew what bad leadership was and I was committed to doing things the right way.</p> <p>“Anyone who I manage and lead will be given the opportunity to exploit their true potential” was running through my DNA.</p> <p>It was in early 2008 when I hired my first employee. Since then, I have dedicated time and energy into developing a leadership approach that is true to my aim above.</p> <p>Here are some of the key attributes of being a good leader, alongside lessons that I've learned...</p> <h3>1. Hire exceptional people that have the potential to outshine you</h3> <p>The complete opposite of what I experienced. This ethos has been the key to the growth of my business.</p> <p>Everyone benefits too, as exceptional people are working alongside exceptional people.</p> <p><em>Some teams just work together. Good teams do great things together. Great teams grow together.</em></p> <h3>2. Praise your team regularly</h3> <p>In the hustle and bustle of daily life running a business and managing people, it can be very easy to miss out on providing praise and recognition when a team member goes above and beyond – or they just do something in their job description exceptionally well.</p> <p>I have learnt just how important and valued it is to provide praise to individuals, both one-to-one and in a group environment.</p> <p><em>After all we just want to do a good job and be respected, right?</em></p> <h3>3. Catch people in</h3> <p>Not only have I realised the importance of praising individuals, a lesson I have also learnt is how important it is to simply “catch people in”.</p> <p>The small things people do, the ideas they bring to the table, the creative way they are thinking.</p> <p>Highlighting the smaller details which add value to the day-to-day running of a business will encourage your team to speak up and champion larger ideas going forward.</p> <p><em>Never underestimate the importance of people feeling valued.</em></p> <h3>3. Take time to find the right people</h3> <p>You’ve heard the saying, “hire slow, fire fast”.</p> <p>Thankfully the second part isn’t one I have encountered regularly (though the phrase is applicable in a business case) but certainly hiring slowly has been a cornerstone of how we have built the team.</p> <p><em>Remember that exceptional people are out there, you just have to be patient to find them.</em></p> <h3>4. Trust people</h3> <p>When I employed just three people, I published an article titled '<a title="11 Values That Are Helping Me Build a Great Team at PRWD" href="https://www.prwd.co.uk/blog/news/11-values-that-are-helping-me-build-a-great-team/" target="_blank">11 Values That Are Helping Me Build a Great Team at PRWD</a>'.</p> <p>In many ways it is the beta version of this article. Point three was “have complete trust in new team members straight away” and this is so important.</p> <p><em>Trust your staff and see them flourish with the responsibility you have given them.</em></p> <h3>5. Throw people in at the deep end</h3> <p>As a direct follow-up on from hiring slowly, taking your time to find the right seat (or as one of my mentors Lily Newman champions, “get the right people on the bus”) can and should lead you on to having the opportunity to put new team members in the limelight very early on.</p> <p><em>When it comes to whether a new starter will sink or swim, have faith they will swim.</em></p> <h3>6. Encourage people to push themselves</h3> <p>Some people have a natural hunger and desire to push themselves.</p> <p>They want to embrace change, they want to take on new challenges and go outside of their comfort zone. Many people don’t have this natural hunger. </p> <p>People have a natural tendency to think less of their skills, experiences and ideas compared to those around them.</p> <p>If you don’t provide everyone - irrespective of their natural hunger - a platform and opportunity to open their mind, you are likely missing out on valuable insights to help your business, and the chance at helping your team realise the potential you see in them.</p> <p><em>Every human has the ability to offer more than they think – they just need to be inspired to go outside their comfort zone and think “what if I…”</em></p> <h3>7. Create ways for people to fast track their careers</h3> <p>One of the things that genuinely gives me goosebumps is when I see my colleagues doing things which they probably expected to only be doing years later – or not even at all.</p> <p>One of the areas we explore during the interview process is the candidate’s response to changes in their life, and what they feel about facing up one of humankind’s biggest fears, public speaking.</p> <p>I have been doing public speaking since 2009 and I am often able to provide my team with speaking opportunities within their first year of working in the business, something which took me over five years to reach.</p> <p><em>Leaders should harness what they have to help their team achieve things far quicker than then did.</em></p> <h3>8. Embrace the 34-hour working week (or don’t let the business completely consume your team)</h3> <p>I run an agency and there are few if any agencies who have a 34-hour working week. In fact, there are few businesses globally who have a 34-hour week.</p> <p>For me, even before I became a father for the first time, having a healthy work-life balance was crucial for me.</p> <p>There was no way I was going to let running a business mean I didn’t have much of a life outside of my business.</p> <p><em>There is no work-life balance – there is just a life balance that you have to work on.</em></p> <h3>9. Be human</h3> <p>Some would look at my leadership style and come to the conclusion that I’m a little too open; maybe I share too much.  </p> <p>The way I see it, I am just being a leader who isn’t afraid of exposing his weaknesses and explaining what he is working on in order to become a more positive leader.</p> <p>In this age of robots and artificial intelligence, being relatable and communicative with my team leads to stronger team dynamic; one built on trust and understanding.</p> <p>This will lead to a team working together and for one another, rather than simply logging their hours and ticking boxes.</p> <p><em>The more human you are, the more you connect with your team.</em></p> <h3>10. Be approachable</h3> <p>It is easy to get consumed with the day-to-day activities of running a business. It is easy to be in your “leadership bubble” and want to focus on just what is in front of you.</p> <p>Some people may perceive this as ‘unapproachable’.</p> <p>For me, I have learnt that being approachable, giving my team the confidence that, irrespective of their role or position in the business, they can come and talk to me, is invaluable.</p> <p>It ensures I am staying connected with my team, even when new levels of management are being created.</p> <p><em>Never underestimate the value of being approachable by any member of your team – it brings you even greater respect from everyone.</em></p> <h3>11. Be genuine</h3> <p>I have to hold my hands up and say 'Be Genuine' is one of my company’s brand values, alongside 'Be Expert', 'Be The Change', 'Be Experimental', 'Be Open' and 'Be Happy'.</p> <p>Being genuine and having integrity is absolutely essential if you are to create a culture that empowers people to want to be the best they can be.</p> <p>Being frank and honest and showing some of the inner workings of the business, whether good or bad, isn’t a case of “showing too much” or “worrying your team” – it is simply demonstrating that you are real.</p> <p>With your team believing in you and sharing in your vision as a result, it will only help you and your business grow and flourish.</p> <p><em>Don’t try to be someone that you aren’t – just be yourself and you will be respected.</em></p> <h3>12. Be transparent</h3> <p>I have huge amounts of admiration for the brand Crew. It is one of the most open and transparent businesses I have come across.</p> <p>The leadership style within Crew is the complete opposite of the vast majority of businesses.</p> <p>It reminds me of one of the statements from the exceptional book ‘REWORK’ that has stayed with me for a long time – “out-teach your competition, don’t be afraid of explaining how you do what you do – customers will respect you and come to you.”</p> <p><em>Expose areas of your business that will encourage your team to have a greater sense of belonging.</em></p> <h3>13. Have humility</h3> <p>One of the greatest lessons I have learnt during my entrepreneurial journey is that no matter how much knowledge and experience you amass, you should never disrespect or disregard the ideas and opinions of other people.</p> <p>Always provide people with the opportunity and confidence to share with you their very best ideas, especially if it’s in a subject area you aren’t an expert in.</p> <p>Humility is actually the cornerstone of my article <a title="Re-invented HiPPO" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68080-it-s-time-to-reinvent-the-hippo/" target="_blank">“Re-invented HiPPO”</a>. The new HIPPO entails a list of attributes to which we should all aspire: Humility, Integrity, Passion, Positivity and Openness.</p> <p><em>Respecting other people is one of the greatest ways to build trust and confidence.</em></p> <h3>So...</h3> <p>What does good or bad leadership mean to you?</p> <p>What leadership traits are you experiencing as an employee? Are they providing you with the platform from which you can exploit your true potential?</p> <p>If you are a leader, what is it that you feel gets the very best out of your team?</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68218 2016-08-26T14:42:52+01:00 2016-08-26T14:42:52+01:00 What can be done to address the gender pay gap in digital roles? Nikki Gilliland <p>As always, there’s been a LOT of hoopla on social media since <a href="https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/8428">the findings were reported</a>, with some dismissing the pay gap as a myth and a natural result of mothers opting to work part-time.</p> <p>With the average hourly pay for women being 18% less than men, there’s no denying that the gender pay gap remains a huge cause for concern.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8353/IFS.JPG" alt="" width="610" height="423"></p> <p>But what about when it comes to digital roles?</p> <p>The IFS report directly backs up findings from our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/career-and-salary-survey-report-2016/?utm_source=youtube&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_campaign=econ%20blog" target="_blank">Career and Salary Survey</a>.</p> <p>In terms of digital specialists, our research discovered that on average men are receiving £8,202 more than women – resulting in a pay gap of 17.7%. </p> <p>What’s more, there is a difference of 18.1% within general marketing roles, with men being paid an average salary of £8,273 more than women.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8354/Gender.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="605"></p> <p>So what can we do about it?</p> <p>Vinne Schifferstein Vidal, Global Digital Category Director at Pearson suggests that, while it’s important for changes to be made, a more equal footing will ultimately benefit organisations as much as individuals.</p> <blockquote> <p>Teams (and therefore companies) thrive by having a mixed set of people, and that’s gender but also skill-set, culture and nationality.</p> </blockquote> <p>In terms of government involvement, Vinne suggests that it’s not necessary, highlighting the fact that the gap is already smaller than it was 10 years ago.</p> <blockquote> <p>I think it’s up to companies, as well as both males and females themselves, to figure it out.</p> <p>Out of the next generation that’s coming into the workplace, females are earning more than males. So, it is already changing, and we just need to keep at it. </p> </blockquote> <p>It is certainly true that the pay gap has lessened – it was 28% in 1993 and 23% in 2003.</p> <p>And while the IFS suggests that this is due to better conditions for lower-paid women rather than advancements for women in higher roles – a new wave of girls studying STEM subjects could be a factor.</p> <p>Where science, technology, engineering and maths were once seen as typically male subjects (leading to male-dominated careers like graphic design and web development), youngsters are now realising that this doesn't have to be the case.</p> <p>With non-profit organisations like Girls Who Code on a mission to close the gender gap in technology, progress is being made. </p> <p>Meanwhile, the statistic that male managers are 40% more likely to be promoted over females is a sobering reminder that a lot more work needs to be done.</p> <p><em>Watch Vinne's answers in full:</em></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jInjt2T3vmk?list=PL1-kPkZBw50G5af50RWyZQktGWjOkGxLI&amp;wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p><strong><a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1-kPkZBw50G5af50RWyZQktGWjOkGxLI" target="_blank">Click here</a> to view more interviews in our Digital Smarts series.</strong></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4208 2016-07-29T15:00:00+01:00 2016-07-29T15:00:00+01:00 Trends and Priorities in the Media and Entertainment Sector <h2>Overview</h2> <p>This Trends and Priorities report, focused on the <strong>media and entertainment</strong> sectors, is produced by Econsultancy in association with <a href="http://www.adobe.com/marketing-cloud.html">Adobe</a> and explores an industry caught between its past and future, with many having high aspirations but held back by culture and siloed budgets.</p> <p>The report, which is based on a survey of more than 200 senior-level marketers and executives in North America, discusses where the sector's digital trends are headed and the strategic priorities for media and entertainment companies as they attempt to stay ahead of the curve.</p> <p>The media and entertainment industry is responding to change with a set of interlocking strategic priorities focused around data, addressable audiences and technology partnerships. Throughout the trends report there are signs that media organizations are working to better understand their consumers and build the new capabilities to serve them.</p> <h2>You'll discover findings around:</h2> <ul> <li>What are media companies' top strategic priorities?</li> <li>How media companies are looking to partnerships to address emerging needs in addressable audience expansion.</li> <li>Are KPIs changing to accomodate the new priorities of media companies?</li> <li>How technology is a focus but media marketers struggle with selling it into the enterprise.</li> <li>Which technologies are media companies pursuing to improve their digital capabilities?</li> </ul> <p><strong>Download a copy of the report to learn more.</strong></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68088 2016-07-26T14:26:00+01:00 2016-07-26T14:26:00+01:00 How can digital brands adapt content strategy for high growth markets? Marco Veremis <p>With three billion content-hungry consumers, high growth markets offer exactly this. In fact, according to Upstream’s <a href="http://www.developingtelecoms.com/tech/apps-content-ott/6483-amazon-eyes-up-emerging-markets-for-next-growth-opportunity.html">2016 Developing Markets Mobile Commerce report</a>, there is an estimated $70bn revenue opportunity on offer.</p> <p>Not only is there a desire for digital services and a willingness to pay, but with the purchasing power of consumers also increasing, emerging markets are a truly viable option for brands.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/netflix-expands-to-190-countries-1452106429">The expansion of Netflix</a> to a further 130 countries earlier this year suggests these markets are beginning to be identified for their revenue potential, but digital content brands still have a long way to go before they are truly maximising the opportunity available.</p> <p>Whilst Netflix recorded <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/18/11454362/netflix-q1-2016-earnings-81-million-subscribers">double the number of subscribers in Q1</a> this year compared to 12 months earlier, it has also projected a slowdown in new subscribers for Q2, suggesting more needs to be done to engage consumers.</p> <p>Understanding the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-quest-for-mobile-excellence/">mobile-first markets</a> and the habits and preferences of those within them is critical. For the likes of Netflix, it’s clear that taking a one-size-fits-all approach based on the practices followed in Western markets is not going to deliver long-term success.</p> <p>Whilst there is an appetite for digital content services, this is simply not enough to drive revenue growth. Recognising the environmental and cultural limitations and adapting accordingly is going to be key for any brand looking to extend its reach.</p> <p>So, how can brands such as Amazon Prime and Netflix ensure they approach high growth markets fully prepared, to maximise the viable revenue opportunities on offer?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0005/9222/Screen_Shot_2015-02-06_at_11.13.14.png" alt="netflix" width="615"></p> <h3>Make digital services affordable</h3> <p>The economic intricacies of each emerging market means digital providers will need to adopt <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67699-how-online-retailers-can-improve-price-optimization-strategies/">pricing strategies</a> that take into consideration the huge gaps in GDP, compared to developed markets in the West.</p> <p>The total cost of services needs to be affordable, taking into account both the initial cost of purchasing the service and the ensuing on-going cost of using it.</p> <p>In terms of the initial cost for purchasing its service, for example, while Netflix introduced pricing in Brazil that is 39% lower than that in the US, it is worth bearing in mind that the income differential in other emerging markets can be as much as 94% lower compared to the US.</p> <p>It is therefore necessary for brands to set pricing in line with purchasing power, adjusted to the local currency.</p> <p>In addition to the initial cost of purchasing a digital service, streaming and mobile data charges are also costs consumers need to bear. For the average consumer in an emerging market, streaming costs use five times more of their monthly income, compared with the corresponding percentage of the average US consumer’s monthly income.</p> <p>Therefore it should come as no surprise that the majority (87%) of consumers accessing digital services on mobile devices in high growth markets, demand lower data charges.</p> <p><a href="https://media.netflix.com/en/company-blog/netflix-introduces-new-cellular-data-controls-globally">Netflix just released a new tool</a> to help people avoid costly bills for high data use when viewing streamed television shows on mobile devices, which indicates that it is taking steps to overcome this.</p> <p>Another approach brands can take is to create an affiliation with local mobile operators to offer bundles that reduce charges for consumers. Brands may also need to reconsider monthly subscription offers in emerging markets as pay cycles can be much shorter, often weekly.</p> <p>Understanding the specifics of the market will enable brands to develop a proposition that suits the behaviour of the consumers they are trying to engage.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7461/cellular_data_usage_netflix.png" alt="netflix data usage feature" width="450"></p> <p><em>Netflix's new cellular data usage tool</em></p> <h3>Keep content ‘Lite’ to make it accessible</h3> <p>Digital brands that make their content as accessible as possible on mobile devices can perform better in developing markets.</p> <p>In high growth markets, 61% of consumers report internet connectivity as still being slow and unreliable, with intermittent Wi-Fi, which means accessing digital content is reliant on mobile data. One option for brands to consider is to provide ‘lite’ versions of services, which use less data.</p> <p>Additionally, it’s important to remember that digital commerce isn’t solely focused on apps. Research shows that consumers are accessing content via mobile web browsers more than apps (43% vs 40%).</p> <p>SMS and MMS messages <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67108-is-sms-the-most-underrated-and-overlooked-dark-social-channel/">also still play a role</a> for some services, so shouldn’t be discounted.</p> <p>With this is mind, brands should not be too reliant or restricted to apps but instead deliver content through multiple delivery channels where possible to ensure they reach 100% of the population.</p> <h3>Deliver localised content</h3> <p>Before launching digital offerings in emerging markets, brands must first do their due diligence to understand what type of services are missing and develop content that truly meets consumers wants and needs.</p> <p>Providing content and services that are compelling, have a local feel and are available in native languages will be important for brands.</p> <p>Whilst there is a demand for international content in emerging markets, 76% of consumers have a strong preference for content and services to have a sufficient local feel, in terms of language and cultural nuances.</p> <p>Netflix recently announced a move towards <a href="http://www.businessfinancenews.com/25950-netflix-inc-to-cater-to-indian-market-with-original-bollywood-content/">producing exclusive Bollywood content</a> for the Indian market and also added <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/03/26/inside-netflix-how-reed-hastings-is-building-the-first-global-tv/">Arabic, Korean and Chinese</a> to the 17 other languages it already supports.</p> <p>This willingness to adapt to the local market and deliver content that appeals to the consumers is something digital brands such as Amazon Prime will have to prioritise if they hope to truly take advantage of the $70 billion digital opportunity on offer.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68080 2016-07-20T10:58:00+01:00 2016-07-20T10:58:00+01:00 It's time to reinvent the HiPPO Paul Rouke <p>The traditional HiPPO in business is the thing that so often is seen as the opposite of progress, engagement, leadership, inspiration, collaboration and humility.</p> <p>The HiPPO (meaning Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) usually stirs perceptions from the wider team of egotism and short-sightedness, whilst generating frustration for everyone underneath them within an organisation.</p> <p>If you have never worked within a company where you’ve had a HiPPO running the show, you’re one of the lucky ones.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7119/by_Nils_Rinaldi__Flickr.jpg" alt="" width="549" height="367"></p> <p>If you think you might be the one being perceived as a HiPPO, then consider this a guide to change.</p> <h3>The reality is this…</h3> <p>Every business will always have a HiPPO, but do we have to accept and work in businesses where the typical negative influences on company culture are driven from the top down?</p> <p>Do we have to accept these types of leadership traits?</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Egotistical</strong> – “I have all the answers”</li> <li> <strong>Arrogance</strong> – “I’m experienced enough”</li> <li> <strong>Cowardice</strong> – “I don’t need to quantify this”</li> <li> <strong>Blinkered</strong> – “But this is the way I’ve always done it”</li> <li> <strong>Apprehension</strong> - “It’s easier to keep things the way they are”</li> </ul> <p>A simple solution would simply be to eradicate these negative influences within a business. What I propose however, is that we reinvent the HIPPO to make it something every single person within a business (and generally in life) can aspire to.</p> <h3>I’m in, let’s reinvent the HIPPO</h3> <p>So how do we do it? Well, we change what the acronym is built from. Below you will see my proposed changes and my rationale.</p> <p>In my experience, I’ve found the qualities I’ve listed below are integral to healthy and thriving relationships, both in and out of the workplace.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7118/hippo-re-invented.png" alt="" width="549" height="308"></p> <h3>H for Humility</h3> <p>Personally speaking, in life but even more importantly in business, over my career I have come to truly appreciate the importance of having humility.</p> <p>No matter how experienced I am in my profession, how much public speaking I do, how many hours I spend with users (listening to them during a research session), or how many businesses I go and meet who are at the start of a journey to transform their culture and strategy, <strong>I know I do not have all the answers</strong>.</p> <p>Just as important is not pretending I have all the answers, either. I’ve no doubt that you will know a whole lot more than me in your areas of passion and experience.</p> <p>In a business environment, having humility is a key to success. Correctly identifying and communicating individual strengths and weaknesses will create a stronger team unit, from the board level down through the departments and beyond.</p> <p>I would summarise the importance of humility as this: <strong>know that you will never have all the answers, truly respect the thoughts and ideas of others, and listen more than you talk to give people in your presence the opportunity to share their very best (often buried away) ideas for improving experiences and our world.</strong></p> <h3>I for Integrity</h3> <p>I have a confession to make, and quite an embarrassing one at that.</p> <p>Back in 2010, if you were leaving people a recommendation on LinkedIn, you had the option of choosing three words which best describe that person.</p> <p>When I was receiving recommendations, the word that was chosen for me most often was integrity.</p> <p>Believe it or not, if someone asked me to describe what integrity means, I wouldn’t have had a compelling answer. My thought back then was simply that it related to being honest, but I couldn’t say much more.</p> <p>Type integrity into Google and this is what you get:</p> <blockquote> <p>Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. It is generally a personal choice to uphold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards.</p> </blockquote> <p>On reflection (LinkedIn removed this feature a few years later), it makes me very proud that integrity was the word so often used to describe me as person.</p> <p>For everyone reading this, <strong>having integrity (especially in business) will garner you more respect and provide you with a platform that more people will want to share with you.</strong></p> <h3>P for Passion</h3> <p>The happiest, most fulfilled and not coincidentally, the most successful people you will meet all have something in common: they live life with passion.</p> <p>A quick search in Google brings up this result:</p> <blockquote> <p>Passion is a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion, a compelling enthusiasm or desire for something.</p> </blockquote> <p>From my personal experience, you won’t be able to realise your potential in a role you’re not passionate about. I learnt that when I left BAE after one year of an apprenticeship.</p> <p>You also can’t underestimate the importance of passion in motivating those around you. One key example of this is public speaking.</p> <p>I have seen many public speakers over the last 10 years (and I’m one myself), and the speakers who stick with me and whose message resonates deliver their message with passion.</p> <p>For everyone reading this, <strong>being passionate about what you do will demonstrate how much your work means to you, and your enthusiasm will be infectious.</strong></p> <h3><strong>P for Positivity</strong></h3> <p>I have another confession to make. You know how you can be a “glass half-full” or “glass half-empty” person? I am typically a “glass half-empty” person.</p> <p>At this stage I won’t go in to explaining about imposter syndrome, apart from saying that it’s something that affects almost all driven, passionate, ambitious people.</p> <p>For me, advocating the importance of positivity is in some way contradictory to my general persona, but one thing I know is 100% true: when I focus on being positive in my life and in my work, more positive things happen.</p> <p>A key part of being (and staying) positive is knowing that you are working towards something.</p> <p>Maybe things don’t fall in to place straight away. Maybe you are getting setbacks and people around you start to lose faith. Throughout this, staying positive, keeping the faith, planning for long term personal (and business) success is crucial.</p> <p>The higher you are in a business, the more people will look to you for guidance. If they see the captain of the ship doesn’t believe, then why should they?</p> <p>For everyone reading this, <strong>remember that our lives and our careers should be a marathon, not a sprint. </strong></p> <p><strong>Have determination to reach your goals, keep pushing forward, fight back against those negative thoughts in your mind, and know that positive thoughts bring positive experiences.</strong></p> <h3>O for Openness</h3> <p>When we are open-minded, we are creating opportunities for ourselves to have new experiences in our lives or in our careers. We are stepping outside of our comfort zone to try new things.</p> <p>In some ways, this is facing up to our fears: fear of taking on a new role that is going to stretch us, fear of putting our experiences and reputation on the line, fear of standing in front of people to deliver a presentation.</p> <p>Being open these past 15 years has led me to where I am today. Yes, I have had to face up to my fears on many occasions; but would I swap all that anxiety, worry, stress, and the sleepless nights for having a simple career which is just plodding along on auto-pilot?</p> <p>Not for one minute.</p> <p>What are your biggest fears? Are you truly fulfilling your potential? Is there something that you wish you could do which will take you completely outside of your comfort zone? Just remember: who dares, wins.</p> <p>For everyone reading this, <strong>whether you’re at the top of the chain and worried about change, or anywhere in the business, if you take one thing away from reading this article, it is this: open your mind to the possibility of facing up to some of your biggest fears.</strong></p> <h3>Will you aspire to be the HIPPO?</h3> <p>So there we have it, the re-invented HIPPO. Humility, Integrity, Passion, Positivity, Openness.</p> <p>Thank you for reading (the first step in being open to change) and I look forward to working alongside and working with more HIPPOs during the rest of my career.</p> <p><em>For more on leadership, read the following:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67238-redefining-leadership-in-the-digital-age">Redefining leadership in the digital age</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67303-15-inspiring-quotes-from-digital-leaders">15 inspiring quotes from digital leaders</a></li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67797-digital-transformation-five-key-tenets-of-a-digital-leader">Digital transformation: five key tenets of a digital leader</a> </li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4175 2016-06-30T09:28:00+01:00 2016-06-30T09:28:00+01:00 The Convergence of Marketing and Sales <p>The Convergence of Marketing and Sales report provides a framework to assist a manager's journey in deciding whether or not to converge marketing and sales. Designed to be a companion and thought-provoker, the guide is written in two parts.</p> <h2>What's in the report?</h2> <p><strong>Part 1</strong> sets the scene, framing marketing and sales in different ways - from the path to purchase in the mind of the customer, to the marketing and sales process in the mind of the vendor, and the changing role of marketing and sales in a digitally networked world.</p> <p><strong>Part 2</strong> outlines our framework, split into the following key steps:</p> <p><strong>Strategy development</strong></p> <p><strong>Diagnosis</strong> - the research and obstacle definition that needs to precede all strategy development. We consider four key topics:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Process design. </strong>Diagnosis focused on current processes used by marketing and sales and how they differ from the ideal.</li> <li> <strong>Content management. </strong>Diagnosis focused on current content used by marketing and sales and how they differ from ideal.</li> <li> <strong>Competitor analysis.</strong> Analysis of how to gain competitive advantage.</li> <li> <strong>Measurement planning. </strong>What measurements do we need to put in place to indicate if our strategy is working and do we need to refine and optimise the actions we are taking?</li> </ul> <p><strong>Insights and action - </strong>what insights have come from the above diagnoses and how can we convert these insights into coherent actions to overcome obstacles and achieve our strategic goal? (We identify Key Actions at the end of each topic.)</p> <p><strong>Strategy deployment</strong></p> <p><strong>Team organisation. </strong>How, when we roll out this convergence strategy for marketing and sales, do we take two teams with different cultures and different ways of working and turn them into a single team?</p> <p>Written by experienced consultant Dr Mike Baxter, who has led consultant teams on many of Econsultancy's digital transformation projects, the report aims to identify best practice approaches and techniques. The report also includes real-life examples illustrating how marketing and sales have a pivotal role in digital transformation.</p> <h2>How can we help?</h2> <p>Our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">Digital Transformation</a> team regularly supports leading organisations to drive forward organisational change. Our Digital Maturity Audit is often the first step in this journey, providing you with a clear framework to:</p> <ul> <li>Understand critical capability gaps.</li> <li>Prioritise key projects and areas for development.</li> <li>Validate business cases for investment.</li> </ul> <p>If you want to find out more about the Digital Maturity Audit and how we can help, please don't hesitate to get in touch by emailing <strong>transformation@econsultancy.com</strong> or calling us on +44 (0)20 3199 8475.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pi15K7YytWo?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>video by <a href="http://www.londonvideostories.com/" target="_blank">LondonVideoStories</a></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4162 2016-06-21T11:05:00+01:00 2016-06-21T11:05:00+01:00 Digital Transformation in the Financial Services Sector <p>The <strong>Digital Transformation in the Financial Services Sector</strong> report looks at the challenges that companies within the sector are facing as they digitally transform themselves to compete in today’s changing market, seeking to understand best practice approaches, techniques and strategies that financial services companies are adopting to increase their chances of success.</p> <p>The report, which is an update on the 2015 research of the same name, aims to explore how marketers' responses to challenges have evolved and provide some updated recommendations on approaches to and opportunities related to digital transformation.</p> <h2>Methodology</h2> <p>We carried out a series of in-depth interviews with senior executives from across the financial services and insurance industries to understand how a range of organisations were responding to different opportunities and challenges.</p> <p>Companies interviewed included: Saga, MORETH&gt;N, RSA Insurance, LV, BlackRock, Alpha Financial Markets Consulting, Direct Line Group, The Co-operative Insurance, Barclays Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander UK, Droplet, Nutmeg, AXA, JP Morgan Asset Management, Bibby Financial Services, Interactive Investor, Hargreaves Lansdown, Betterment and Scalable Capital.</p> <p>We also looked at sector-specific data from our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-2016-digital-trends/">Digital Trends 2016</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-trends-in-the-financial-services-and-insurance-sector-2016">Digital Trends in the Financial Services and Insurance Sector</a> reports, both published this year.<br></p> <h2>What you'll learn</h2> <ul> <li>The financial services industry is facing challenges from new business models and new players entering these markets, changing the ecosystem and making these sectors ripe for digital transformation.</li> <li>Companies in the sector see investment in digital and related skills as critical to success.</li> <li>Customer experience is a major focus for marketers.</li> <li>Having the right strategy and culture to deliver digital transformation is seen as essential.</li> <li>Data is perceived as being a huge part of the digital transformation journey.</li> </ul> <h2>You'll discover findings around:</h2> <ul> <li>How companies are looking to differentiate the customer experience and deliver value to their customers.</li> <li>Ways in which companies are putting the customer at the centre of decision-making.</li> <li>Practices companies are adopting to work in a more agile way.</li> <li>Encouraging a digital culture where digital is promoted throughout the organisation and is a part of everyone's job.</li> <li>Importance of re-platforming and moving away from legacy systems to be able to deliver on ambitions. </li> <li>Integrating data to understand customer journeys and behaviour to deliver more personalised and relevant communications.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Download a copy of the report to learn more.</strong></p> <p>A <strong>free sample</strong> is available for those who want more detail about what is in the report.</p> <h2>How we can help you</h2> <h2 style="font-weight: normal; color: #3c3c3c;"><a style="color: #2976b2; text-decoration: none;" href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation" target="_self"><img style="font-style: italic; height: auto; float: right;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/8296/rgb_dt_logo-blog-third.png" alt="Digital Transformation" width="200" height="66"></a></h2> <p><a title="Digital transformation - Econsultancy" href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">Digital transformation</a> is a journey that's different for every organisation. To enable delivery of your digital vision (or help you shape that vision) we’ve designed a comprehensive approach to tackle your transformation.</p> <p>Covering everything from strategic operational issues, down to specific marketing functions, we will work with you to achieve digital excellence.</p> <p>Talk to us about an initial, no-cost consultation.</p> <p>Contact our Digital Transformation Team on <a href="mailto:transformation@econsultancy.com">transformation@econsultancy.com</a> or call</p> <ul> <li>EMEA: +44 (0)20 7269 1450</li> <li>APAC: +65 6809 2088</li> <li>Americas: +1 212 971-0630</li> </ul> <p style="color: #6b6b6b;"> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2q_lWLm5qtg?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p style="color: #6b6b6b;">video by <a href="http://www.londonvideostories.com/" target="_blank">LondonVideoStories</a></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67942 2016-06-13T15:15:00+01:00 2016-06-13T15:15:00+01:00 How AO.com succeeds by focusing on people, culture & customer service Lynette Saunders <p>In an interview for my report on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-transformation-in-the-retail-sector/">Digital Transformation in Retail Sector,</a> Dave Lawson, AO.com’s group ecommerce director, said it's about getting the right people who care massively, are driven and smart, and rewarding them accordingly.</p> <p>The basic principle of delivering what customers want is embedded in what <a href="http://ao.com/">AO.com</a> does, but key for the company is its people. </p> <p>I was fascinated by what sounds like the perfect culture within a company, where everyone loved their job, was rewarded for what they do and was focused on the customer and keeping them happy.</p> <p>So much so that I wanted to find out more and Andrew Kirkcaldy, AO.com's group brand director, who looks after both the brand team and people team, was happy to answer more of my questions. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6110/ao_manager.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3><strong>Can you first tell me about your job role. It sounds interesting to link brand and people together?</strong></h3> <p>I have been in the business for eight years, working my way up from managing our Google paid search activity to managing all of the digital marketing teams, to now focusing on brand, people and culture.</p> <p>Two years ago, we realised that it was our culture that had enabled the business to be so successful and would shape our brand's future success.</p> <p>When I chat to people about what I do they are surprised at first, but when I explain the importance of having alignment of the culture and your brand communications it all makes sense.</p> <p>I see a piece of brand communication as a promise to the consumer - if the reality of the business doesn’t match up to that promise then you won’t have a very sustainable business.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6017/AO_screenshot.png" alt="" width="800" height="463"></p> <p>It’s about perception vs. reality, your brand communication has to originate from truth of the business; why do we do what we do.</p> <p>For us our biggest risk is not necessarily competitors, but ourselves as we continue to grow. We have a lot of programmes that support our emerging talent, as we see promoting from within as a key defence against diluting our culture.</p> <p>When we do look externally to recruit we take this very seriously. If we recruit a person who doesn’t believe in our vision and core values then this can be very disruptive and potentially damaging.</p> <p>By ensuring that everyone has an intimate understanding and belief in our culture means that the people who don’t ‘get it’ stand out very clearly.  </p> <p>We want to be the best electrical retailer in Europe. This can only happen by having the best people who believe they are part of shaping what that looks like.</p> <p>Best means lots of different things to people, therefore, we need the culture that amplifies the passion for our customer, as every customer has different needs. </p> <h3><strong>How did you develop the culture you have?</strong></h3> <p>Every business has a culture, but the key thing to understand is whether that culture is aligned to the vision of the business and, of course, aligned to what consumers expect and deserve.</p> <p>In startup businesses the culture is very potent, as you have the passionate founder who exudes why they believe in the business.</p> <p>As you grow more people join and decision-making gets de-centralised with people across different locations and countries, so this approach is not scalable. </p> <p>We knew that we had to codify the AO culture. We embarked on a programme of surveys, one-to-one interviews and focus groups to gather opinions, stories, anecdotes and customer testimonials, which gave us great insight into how it should be shaped.</p> <p>After many iterations we settled on five values. We tested them by seeing whether these values were used when we made business decisions over the years, how we treat our customers, to how we treat each other.</p> <p><em>Two of AO.com's five values</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6015/ao.com_values.png" alt="" width="802" height="347"></p> <p>This enabled us to see that they were more than just words, but how people behaved and the resulting stories they created. They were a perfect match.</p> <p>We launched the values by running culture workshops that outline the importance of our culture and why it now needed to be defined.</p> <p>We now run regular values role model workshops to arm people with how they can protect, promote and lead by example.</p> <p>We have monthly ‘state of the nation’ meetings where John Roberts (founder &amp; CEO) shares stories with the whole business on how the team have gone above and beyond by living the AO values.</p> <p>Finally, we also encourage all employees to share stories of colleagues who have lived the values. Some of these stories are amazing and humbling to read. It is these stories that maintain our passion for the business.</p> <p>Story telling is a key to making sure everyone realises that our culture is alive and well - people remember how you made them feel, not the facts and figures.  </p> <h3><strong>Through your recruitment process how do you ensure you hire the right people and know these are going to be people that care?  </strong></h3> <p>We have questions that extract stories from the candidate that allows the recruiter to understand whether they understand and believe in our vision and values.  </p> <p>For us it is about focusing on behaviours, their beliefs and attitudes rather than solely on their qualifications.</p> <p>A person could be the most qualified; most experienced in the world, but if they don’t ‘get’ our culture, then they don’t progress to the next stage. </p> <p>Our recruiters play a pivotal role in maintaining our culture as they are our gatekeepers for our special AO culture. They have an implicit understanding whether someone is right or wrong for our business.</p> <p>People don’t get to an interview if they are not the right cultural fit. Sometimes a simple question can help identify this. </p> <p>When I was interviewed eight years ago; I remember our COO asked me ‘how often do you see your mum?’ in the interview as he wanted to extract whether I care or not.</p> <p>You can’t teach or pay people to care and this is one of our core values.  </p> <h3><strong>How important is training to developing your culture?</strong></h3> <p>When people join they have a three-week induction training programme.</p> <p>For new starters into our contact centre, part of this is a values week, where they get to understand the AO mantra of how we approach customer service.</p> <p>It is not a big book of rules, but a set of principles. One of the core principles is;<em> “Treat every customer like your gran and do something your mum would be proud of.”</em></p> <p>We also run a series of product training across the business – we want them to be passionate about what they sell and have deep knowledge of products. We have built product showrooms so anyone can experience the product themselves.</p> <p>On top of that we have manufacturers bring their own mobile training centres to the business, where they give live demonstrations of the products.</p> <p>We have a development programme called <em>“AO star programme”</em> that is for rising stars within the business where they have the opportunity to get wider exposure across the business, which will enable them to accelerate their development.</p> <p>We try and tie things together through development and engagement. We set up our own charitable foundation called, AO Smile Foundation.</p> <p>Every development programme has a team building element and we use AO Smile initiatives to ensure that we mix team building and making a difference to the local community.</p> <p>For example, DIY SOS with a house that needs doing up where the family was unable to do for themselves. A great example of how people at AO.com go that extra mile is shown in this video:</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fv-cC0RYITI?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Remuneration is also important to ensure people are paid fairly and we benchmark in our industry and this is reflected in how employees are rewarded.</p> <p>For me Richard Branson’s quote sums it up nicely:</p> <blockquote> <p>Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.</p> </blockquote> <h3><strong>In my initial interview with Dave he talked about driving out negativity, how do you manage to drive a positive attitude?</strong></h3> <p>It starts with making sure you recruit like-minded people. We are a very fast-paced business and there are always too many opportunities to work on. This of course leads to frustration.</p> <p>The key is making sure people appreciate each other and respect what each person brings to the table and have what we call ‘positive frustration’.</p> <p>We know there will be conflicts and challenges to any ideas of progressive thinking. We are very positive company and encourage people to challenge, but do it in a constructive way. </p> <p>What has helped this, is by creating situations for people to come together from different parts of the business – logistics, operations, finance, IT and marketing through our development programmes, internal communications, engagement activities and events.</p> <p>This enables people to create personal connections as they get a greater appreciation for what others do.</p> <p>This reduces negativity as people see different views and try and work through problems together and everyone knows they are all working towards the same business vision.</p> <h3><strong>Finally, I have heard some great stories about how AO.com empowers its staff. Can you tell me more about why this works so well for you?</strong></h3> <p>Everyone has a part to play in our culture and vision of the business. If something does go wrong, we empower our staff to make it right.</p> <p>We have put guidelines in place and trust people we recruit to do what they can to make sure the customer is happy.</p> <p>The challenge is how we articulate our culture to people outside of the business. ulture is a set of beliefs, behaviours and feelings that means when you come and see the business you feel the difference.</p> <p>Over the years we have fanatically worked on making our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics/">customer experience</a> seamless.</p> <p><em>Positive reviews for AO.com</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6018/positive_reviews.png" alt="" width="800" height="432"></p> <p>When a customer places an order with us, we are making a promise to that customer and we take their hard earned money very seriously.</p> <p>Things do sometimes go wrong, but because the vast majority of our customer promises are met, we can fix the ones that go wrong quickly to ensure that the customer is happy.   </p> <p>As an example, we had a family of four who bought a free-standing cooker which had been disconnected and wouldn’t load on our van. The family had the problem of what were they going to do about their dinner.</p> <p>The agent took it upon themself to have pizzas delivered to the family so that they wouldn’t have to do it themselves. </p> <p>We are not telling people to give things away, but we know it is an inconvenience for people if things have not gone to plan.</p> <p>By living by our culture and principles, we allow people at AO to be very creative in how they solve problems.</p> <p>We don’t follow a computer says ‘No’ approach. </p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66768-ao-com-the-best-ecommerce-experience-available-online/"><em>AO.com: The best ecommerce experience available online?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64902-13-ecommerce-best-practice-lessons-from-ao-com/"><em>13 ecommerce best practice lessons from AO.com</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67107-five-digital-organisations-with-a-transparent-company-culture/"><em>Five digital organisations with a transparent company culture</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67059-changing-company-culture-six-things-to-try/"><em>Changing company culture: six things to try</em></a></li> </ul>