tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/strategy-operations Latest Strategy & Operations content from Econsultancy 2017-04-26T15:30:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69038 2017-04-26T15:30:00+01:00 2017-04-26T15:30:00+01:00 Shea Moisture's customer backlash was caused by poor brand management, not bad advertising Patricio Robles <h4>The backstory</h4> <p>Shea Moisture was founded by Liberians Nyema Tubman and Richelieu Dennis, who came to the US as refugees. They built a business reportedly valued at $700m by developing natural beauty products that cater to a market historically underserved by large beauty brands – women of color.</p> <p>But with outside investment from Bain Capital and skyrocketing consumer interest in natural beauty products, Shea Moisture's parent company Sundial Brands is betting that there is a bigger market for Shea Moisture's products.</p> <p>With that in mind, the company recently unveiled a 60-second ad developed by agency VaynerMedia as part of its #EverybodyGetsLove marketing campaign. The ad features a black woman, but it also features a blonde woman and two redheads. That did not sit well with some Shea Moisture customers who felt that the ad was a sign the company is moving away from the market segment that made it what it is today.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">SheaMoisture is CANCELLED <a href="https://t.co/T4Dru1JgAq">pic.twitter.com/T4Dru1JgAq</a></p> — NANA JIBRIL(@girlswithtoys) <a href="https://twitter.com/girlswithtoys/status/856563772223365122">April 24, 2017</a> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Black women have supported and gave free press to Shea Moisture for YEARS. And then they have a "hair hate" commercial with white women?</p> — no. (@DatGirl_ICEY) <a href="https://twitter.com/DatGirl_ICEY/status/856569496508747777">April 24, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>On Facebook, the company's Page has been inundated with more than 7,000 one-star reviews.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5738/shea.png" alt="" width="774" height="531"></p> <p>The backlash was fast and big enough that the company quickly pulled its ad and Richelieu Dennis, Shea Moisture's founder and the CEO of Sundial Brands, took to social media <a href="https://www.facebook.com/SheaMoisture/photos/a.108636299188014.8145.108628512522126/1495966387121658/">to apologize</a>. "Wow, okay – so guys, listen, we really f-ed this one up," he wrote. "Please know that our intention was not – and would never be – to disrespect our community, and as such, we are pulling this piece immediately because it does not represent what we intended to communicate."</p> <p>He further stated, "While this campaign included several different videos showing different ethnicities and hair types to demonstrate the breadth and depth of each individual’s hair journey, we must absolutely ensure moving forward that our community is well-represented in each one so that the women who have led this movement never feel that their hair journey is minimized in any way."</p> <h4>When marketing mistakes aren't marketing mistakes</h4> <p>While the media coverage of the backlash caused by Shea Moisture's ad largely focuses on the notion that the company made an advertising mistake, this is really a brand management mistake because the truth of the matter is that Shea Moisture is a company that was probably going to have a hard time extending its brand without alienating the customers in its core segment.</p> <p>Strong brands that focus on underserved market segments risk upsetting their customers when trying to expand beyond those segments or to "go mainstream" because the customers in those segments feel strongly about the brands. </p> <p>In Shea Moisture's case, the segment it built its brand serving – women of color – know Shea Moisture as a company that for years has focused on their needs when other beauty brands didn't. That gives them a stronger-than-usual level of perceived investment and ownership in the brand.</p> <p>This can be a powerful asset, and it's one of the reasons there are riches in niches. But with the wrong strategy, this asset can become a liability because loyal customers, when they feel slighted or abandoned, are more likely to speak out. Unfortunately for Shea Moisture, its parent company, Sundial Brands, appears to have made a major brand management faux pas that caused just that to happen.</p> <p><a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/shea-moisture-ad-falls-flat-after-backlash-n750421">According to</a> CEO Richelieu Dennis, the decision to extend Shea Moisture into new market segments was based on the notion that "we have to grow the business." He elaborated...</p> <blockquote> <p>Brands that didn't service women of color for decades are all of the sudden creating campaigns for them to go after that because of the growth they've seen come from us. The competition that we now see, puts businesses like ours at risk.</p> </blockquote> <p>But it's not clear to this author that trying to extend the Shea Moisture brand to market segments already dominated by the very newcomers he speaks of represents a wise growth strategy because this type of brand extension is very difficult and actually risks brand dilution.</p> <p>In my opinion, a better strategy would have been for Shea Moisture to double down on the market segment that it built its success on by playing to its strengths, which include brand loyalty and a reputation as a pioneer, rather than intentionally trying to bring the Shea Moisture brand to segments that are already saturated by bigger companies that are hoping to make inroads in Shea Moisture's segment.</p> <p>If Sundial Brands truly believed there are opportunities in other market segments, it should have explored launching one or more new brands for the effort. While doing that would not be without its own challenges – building a new brand is never easy or cheap – clearly the company did not fully grasp how risky the attempted extension of the Shea Moisture brand to new customer segments would be.</p> <p>Risking customer segments in which you have a strong position for new, competitive segments is usually not a pillar of sensible brand management. </p> <h4>It's too easy to blame advertising</h4> <p>At the end of the day, had Shea Moisture better managed its brand, it never would have produced a backlash-inducing ad in the first place.</p> <p>So while many are focusing on the company's ad, it's important for brands to remember that good advertising can't fix bad brand management, and advertising shouldn't be blamed for consumer backlash when poor brand management all but ensured that advertising couldn't be good in the first place.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:ConferenceEvent/869 2017-04-26T11:19:43+01:00 2017-04-26T11:19:43+01:00 Digital Transformation Annual Conference: Talent and Culture <p>As digital impacts ever more broadly across every area of your business, fostering an environment where digital culture and talent can thrive is key. </p> <p>Join us for an exclusive senior leaders’ conference, focusing on two of the key pillars of <strong>Digital Transformation: Talent and Culture</strong>. </p> <h3>On the agenda:</h3> <ul> <li>Find out how the customer experience revolution is impacting every area of your business </li> <li>The importance of HR in supporting your people and change </li> <li>Understand how best to bring your people on the Digital Transformation journey  </li> <li>How to manage the challenge of attracting and retaining digital talent </li> <li>An overview of how best to support the right culture for agility </li> </ul> <h3>Benefit from:</h3> <ul> <li>Insight from those at the forefront of transformation</li> <li>Learnings from speakers from some of the world's leading brands</li> <li>Networking and discussions with your peers </li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2017-04-21T12:55:00+01:00 2017-04-21T12:55:00+01:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports (in addition to two sector-specific reports, B2B and Healthcare &amp; Pharma) across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet statistics and digital market research with data, facts, charts and figures. The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need - a huge time-saver for presentations and reports.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Sector-specific data and reports are available under the following areas:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a> </strong></li> <li><strong><a title="Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/healthcare-and-pharmaceuticals-internet-statistics-compendium/">Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals</a> </strong></li> <li><strong><a title="Financial Services and Insurance Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/financial-services-and-insurance-internet-statistics-compendium/">Financial Services and Insurance</a> </strong></li> <li><strong><a title="Retail Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/retail-statistics-compendium/" target="_self">Retail</a></strong></li> </ul> <p><strong>Regions covered in each document (where data is available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69017 2017-04-21T10:25:00+01:00 2017-04-21T10:25:00+01:00 Get a free copy of our report on how marketers learn by completing this short survey Seán Donnelly <p>Still need convincing? Here's some more information about the research and what you can expect to learn.</p> <h4>1. What is the purpose of this research?</h4> <p>The report’s overarching purpose is to bring together different professional perspectives and experiences on learning and development (L&amp;D) within marketing in a way that hasn’t been done formally before.</p> <p>It will have Econsultancy’s signature tone of clarity and usefulness so that it can be used as a practical guide for both organisations and individuals.</p> <h4><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/5560/research_image-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="309" height="236"></h4> <h4>2. Who is this research for? </h4> <p>Individual marketing professionals, strategic decision-makers including Heads of Marketing, Learning &amp; Development Professionals and HR Managers.</p> <h4>3. Why are we doing this research?</h4> <p>This report is the result of suggestions from a wide range of people from Econsultancy’s client base.</p> <p>It seeks to identify a baseline as to how marketers and their employers approach learning and development. The report will help organisations remove barriers to learning and development and help determine the value of marketing training.</p> <h4>4. What will the final report contain?</h4> <p>The report will feature, among other things:</p> <ul> <li>Original research via this survey into how marketers currently approach their own professional development.</li> <li>Insights from in-depth interviews with educators, senior marketers and thought leaders from a range of industries.</li> <li>Approaches that organisations can use to ensure their people are fully equipped with the knowledge and skills they need.</li> <li>Resources that individuals can use to support their professional development.</li> <li>An evaluation of the learning and development landscape available to marketers.</li> </ul> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/5559/knowledge_transfer-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="414" height="207"></p> <h4>5. What do we need from you?</h4> <p>We want to survey marketers like you. This survey will help shape the report and enable us to identify an industry benchmark of how marketers currently approach learning and development.</p> <p>This survey will take a maximum of 10 minutes to complete. The link to the survey is available <a href="http://bit.ly/HML-2017">here</a><strong>.</strong></p> <h4>6. Can you share the survey with colleagues?</h4> <p>By all means, feel free to share this survey with marketing colleagues or indeed colleagues from functions supporting marketing such as L&amp;D and Human Resources. </p><p>The link to share the survey is: <a href="http://bit.ly/HML-2017">http://bit.ly/HML-2017</a></p> <p>If you have any questions about this research, please do get in touch.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68999 2017-04-19T10:00:00+01:00 2017-04-19T10:00:00+01:00 Eight ways to kill email bureaucracy in your organisation Ben Davis <h4>1. 'Four sentences'</h4> <p>In a recent correspondence with PR Matt Mirandi, I noticed his email signature, which declared: "Q: Why is this email four sentences or less? A: <a href="http://four.sentenc.es">http://four.sentenc.es</a>"</p> <p>If you follow the link you'll see the remarkably simple premise - limiting the length of email responses (where desired). Short emails can be composed and the signature explains that far from being curt, the intention is to increase the efficiency of communication.</p> <p>Anyone who works in a busy administrative job understands the burden that email can become. Being able to respond quickly, with brevity, perhaps in lower case, with little care for grammar or courtesy, can be a massive help.</p> <p>This is an elegant solution to a particularly British dilemma.</p> <h4>2. An internal blog</h4> <p>The privacy of email is a problem. It does not offer an easily searchable history and can detract from the ease with which employees can assess the progress of a project. Even when using project management software in tandem (e.g. Basecamp), this problem still exists.</p> <p>One solution which Automattic (the parent company of WordPress) uses is the internal blog. This blog uses the P2 theme (<a href="https://p2classicdemo.wordpress.com/">try it here</a>) and allows different teams to maintain their own pages, where people can comment and search for information.</p> <p>Such a solution immediately gets rid of small talk, and pushes all project conversation into the open. Email may still prove its value, but not as a way of keeping record. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5515/Screen_Shot_2017-04-18_at_14.03.49.png" alt="p2 theme" width="615"> </p> <p><em>The P2 theme developed by Automattic</em></p> <h4>3. Video</h4> <p>How many emails do you get each week to which you simply want to reply TL;DR (or indeed, do reply as such)?</p> <p>When managers send out emails to explain decisions or events, reams and reams of text is often not the best format. Why not try short form video with subtitles? Not only is it easier to digest but it gives management a face.</p> <p>Brief highlights and a transcript should be provided, too, and the video should live in a central location (blog again?). With video an increasingly common format of communication thanks to messaging apps, and production a hell of a lot easier, with quality achievable even on a smartphone, it should be part of internal comms.</p> <p>Even if you think this level of production is something you're unprepared for, experiment with apps such as <a href="https://www.apple.com/uk/clips/">Apple Clips</a> that may offer a quick-and-easy solution to subtitling.</p> <p>Oh, and silly as it sounds, if you're linking to a video from an email, do so via an embedded screenshot of the video - it just makes the whole thing more tangible and will increase clickthrough rate.</p> <h4>4. Don't check your emails in the morning</h4> <p>When you get in at 8.30 (each to their own), use the first hour of the day to do some actual work, rather than wading through emails.</p> <p>Later in the day, when correspondence starts to pour in, you can deal with emails knowing you have already gotten some work under your belt.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5513/office.jpg" alt="office" width="500" height="375"></p> <p><em><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mxmstryo/3999669009">Image via Flickr (mxymstyro)</a></em></p> <h4>5. Slack</h4> <p>I won't dwell on Slack - most readers will be familiar with it, if not in practice then in theory.</p> <p>Slack is a chat tool that encourages group communication and better prioritisation of messages, through a well-designed user interface and functional search and notifications. </p> <h4>6. Stand ups</h4> <p>How to encourage less email? More face-to-face meetings.</p> <p>This can be achieved by committing to a regular standup meeting. It could be weekly or daily, but the important thing is that a standup be quick and efficient (hence why it happens standing up and not in a meeting room).</p> <p>Not too many jokes or chatting about the weekend, no navel-gazing digressions, just a sharing of jobs done, jobs to be done, and anything of note in relation to current projects or sprints. Standup meetings are characteristic of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67346-agile-development-what-do-marketers-need-to-know/">agile teams</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5512/standup.jpg" alt="standup meeting" width="500" height="339"></p> <p><em><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/improveit/1470213987">Image via Flickr (improveit)</a> </em></p> <h4>7. Walls</h4> <p>What comes as a set, along with standup meetings? Walls, of course.</p> <p>By that I mean space with which to visualise the status of your projects. The more important information you have on display, the fewer update emails that have to be sent - just go and look at the wall. </p> <h4>8. Cloud platforms</h4> <p>The fancy version of a wall is a cloud platform. I have recently written about the<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68957-the-future-of-content-is-marketplaces-not-ai/"> trend for content marketplaces</a> which include a cloud platform for workflow management (invoicing, storage, comms, sign-off etc.).</p> <p>Of course, software as a service has existed for project management for quite a while, but you should be encouraged to look for further solutions, such as in HR. Though clunky software or poor implementation can lead to further bureaucracy, if it's done right it can reduce email.</p> <p>At Econsultancy we have been using <a href="https://motivii.com/">Motivii</a> for a number of months and I've found it to be a useful way for staff and managers to check in on the major challenges and tasks of the week ahead. These tools are not silver bullets, but if you find the right one for you, you're on to a winner.</p> <h4>Summary</h4> <p>There are doubtless many other things to try, when attempting to reduce email bureaucracy. The key points are to value transparency, searchability, brevity (where achievable), varied forms of communication, co-location, and a commitment to questioning the status quo of outdated process.</p> <p>Let me know in the comments below if you have implemented your own solutions or hacks.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68957 2017-04-18T11:15:00+01:00 2017-04-18T11:15:00+01:00 The future of content is marketplaces, not AI Ben Davis <h4>AI for content generation is a long way off</h4> <p>Though <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68496-10-examples-of-ai-powered-marketing-software/">AI</a> seems to be a trend that is living up to the hype, content generation is one area where its potential impact is perhaps overblown.</p> <p>Yes, deep learning is proven to craft more effective email subject lines and other short calls to action (such as in display advertising) but natural language processing is nowhere near good enough to craft long form copy.</p> <p>Yes, deep learning can be used to <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/20/14022958/ai-image-manipulation-creation-fakes-audio-video">manipulate images and even create convincing new ones</a> (see below), as well as create movie trailers <a href="https://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/09/01/watch-ibm-watson-creates-first-entirely-ai-made-movie-trailer-really-eerie/#.tnw_Z5E40XK8">it seems</a>, but the training of these networks and the 'robot hand-holding' necessary means they are also a long way from proving an autonomous solution.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5400/generated_images.jpg" alt="ai generated images" width="650" height="706"></p> <p><em>Images created by generative networks, <a href="http://www.evolvingai.org/ppgn">via paper</a> by Nguyen A, Clune J, Bengio Y, Dosovitskiy A, Yosinski J</em> </p> <h4>What are content marketplaces?</h4> <p>Content marketplaces are in vogue. They connect businesses with writers, graphic designers, film makers and the like. Though marketplaces are nothing new, the technology they offer is improving and plays a big part in eliminating inefficiencies during large scale content production.</p> <p>One such marketplace is Quill, which specialises in creating what it calls 'primary content', the content that influences consumers at the point of conversion, be it product descriptions or buying guides.</p> <p>Quill's cloud platform automates network management, quality control, production and delivery processes. Work can be viewed and edited in the platform, and APIs can deliver the content to a client's CMS or ecommerce platform. Access to hundreds of freelancers and the automation of bureaucracy such as allocation of tasks and invoicing is what makes this kind of platform a candidate for increasing scale and speed.</p> <p>For companies with thousands of product SKUs, platforms like Quill are a way to achieve well-crafted content quickly.</p> <p>Another notable marketplace is Gigster, this time in engineering. Gigster is a software development service which uses more than 700 freelancers to work on projects for corporate giants such as MasterCard and Airbus. One interesting component of the Gigster service is its use of AI to increase the efficiency of its projects.</p> <p>The company monitors projects to look for patterns that predict bugs or issues with deliverables, assessing activity data across software such as Trello, Slack and GitHub.</p> <p>Gigster ultimately allows its clients to use a blended workforce of inhouse and freelancers, and to develop projects with much greater speed.</p> <h4>Wider workforce trends</h4> <p>Content marketplaces are part of a wider workforce trend for flexible teams that are able to deal with rapid change, as well as create new digital products and services.</p> <p>Though much discussion of digital transformation has focused on the need for companies to create cross-functional internal teams, there are also many benefits of maintaining an external network to assist with task-based work. The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67263-skills-shortage-the-biggest-barrier-to-digital-progress-overtaking-legacy-systems/">digital skills gap</a> has been much publicised and marketplaces allow companies to compete in a competitive jobs market.</p> <p>In Accenture's recent<a href="https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-future-workforce-trends"> research into future workforce trends</a>, 73% of survey respondents said that corporate bureaucracies are stifling productivity and innovation. A large majority (85%) indicated they planned to increase their organization’s use of independent freelance workers over the next year (2017).</p> <p>P&amp;G is one such company that Accenture cites as having recently completed a pilot program using Upwork Enterprise, a freelance management system, with products from the pilot program delivered faster and at lower cost than with conventional methods 60% of the time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5401/marketplaces.jpg" alt="workforce trends" width="615"></p> <p><em>The spectrum of role-based and task-based work, taken from Accenture's Future Workplace Trends.</em></p> <h4>The dispersed workforce model - Automattic</h4> <p>There are some companies that have taken the marketplace model to its logical conclusion and whose core team of full time workers is dispersed, too, thereby allowing the company to pursue the best employees wherever they live.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.inc.com/glenn-leibowitz/meet-the-ceo-running-a-billion-dollar-company-with-no-offices-or-email.html">an interview on Inc.com,</a> Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress and CEO of its parent company Automattic, describes the dispersed nature of its workforce:</p> <p>"Automattic is a totally distributed company, so everyone works from wherever they are in the world. It could be a coffee shop, it could be their home, it could be a co-working space. We hire people regardless of where they are.</p> <p>"We now have folks in just over 40 countries. This has been amazing for the company in that we can attract and retain the best talent without them having to be in New York or San Francisco or one of the traditional tech enters."</p> <p>Part of making this model work is ensuring effective communication between remote workers. Much like Quill and Gigster using cloud platforms for workflow, Automattic avoids email and uses its own blog theme called P2 for internal comms.</p> <p>Mullenweg says "I think email is definitely on its way out, between things like <a href="https://p2theme.com/">P2</a> and Slack... Email just has so many things wrong with it. I've never heard anyone who've said they love email, they want more of it--have you?"</p> <p>He continues, "Imagine if, in your company, instead of email, everyone could post and comment on a blog. Different groups or teams could have their own space on it, but fundamentally everything was tagged and traceable and transparent. That's kind of what P2 looks like." </p> <h4>In summary</h4> <p>There are a number of factors that make freelance and content marketplaces increasingly attractive.</p> <ul> <li>A skills shortage means companies cannot always find the right talent to take on full time.</li> <li>Inhouse teams need flexibility, the ability for the team and its skills to wax and wane as projects come and go.</li> <li>Inhouse teams want to avoid bureaucracy wherever possible, using cloud platforms to cut down on admin.</li> <li>Content is so pervasive now and is still a differentiator for businesses both online and off. Compromising on content quality is not an option.</li> </ul> <p>Expect to hear more from marketplaces such as Quill, Gigster, Catalant and Upwork, as the gig economy enables traditional big corporations to innovate in content and beyond.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68928 2017-03-30T11:00:00+01:00 2017-03-30T11:00:00+01:00 What the heck is strategy in the digital age? Ben Davis <p style="font-weight: normal;">Two people who are indeed asking this question are Justin Small (Chief Strategy Officer at The BIO Agency) and Eva Appelbaum (ex-Head of Digital Marketing Transformation at the BBC), as the co-founders of the <a href="http://www.futurestrategy.club/">Future Strategy Club</a>, a newly formed group that meets to discuss what strategy means now.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">After listening to <a href="https://vimeo.com/208850962">Justin's impassioned claim</a> that strategy is stuck in the mud, I thought I should attempt to summarise his thoughts and frame the debate. Here goes...</p> <h3>Strategy has become a dirty word</h3> <p>Justin claims that strategy is a dirty word, that it's difficult to sell strategy. He argues, in the copy on the Future Strategy Club's website, that: "For most people, strategy is a mysterious thing vaguely linked to a world of competing theoretical schools from a distant time, done by very large global management consultancies to other very large global organisations."</p> <p>This view is easy to relate to when you play with the Boston Consulting Group's interactive history of strategy (click the screenshot below).</p> <p>Whether you're talking about gap analysis, SWOT analysis, portfolio matrices, experience curves, Six Sigma, or Blue Ocean, it's easy to glaze over slightly. Small argues the theory of strategy is complex and that the discipline has lost its ability to inspire change. </p> <h3><a href="https://media-publications.bcg.com/HTML5Interactives/strategy_frameworks/History_of_Strategy_2015.html"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5102/history_of_strategy.jpg" alt="history of strategy" width="800" height="519"></a></h3> <h3>What has changed since the mid-noughties?</h3> <p>The timeline above is notable for a thinning out of new strategic frameworks from the mid-noughties onwards.</p> <p>It's pretty well documented what the commercial internet has done to the business landscape. Four changes in particular come to mind: </p> <ol> <li>Enabled new business models, particularly connecting consumers to providers.</li> <li>Consumers have more power to research and review, which has changed the traditional purchase funnel.</li> <li>'Best in class' experiences such as Uber are raising consumer expectations (but platforms like this are difficult to develop).</li> <li>Products are evolving into services, as consumers want greater control and transparency.</li> </ol> <p>In a slide from Small's presentation, he outlines some of the biggest challenges for businesses today, faced with this disruption.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5108/challenges.jpg" alt="meeting customer expectations, understanding market disruption, creating an authentic omnichannel brand, building a vision, transforming internally, driving innovation through test and learn" width="800"> </p> <h3>So, how does strategy need to change? </h3> <p>Small argues that the history of strategy is more about analysis than synthesis, and that this way of thinking is not fit for the digital age. But if that's the case, we are entitled to ask if we need strategy at all. Doesn't <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/lean-ux-and-agile-design/">Agile</a> and quick prototyping replace it?</p> <p>This is the point at which Small draws on Mintzberg's theory of emergent strategy, that 'strategy emerges over time as intentions collide with and accommodate a changing reality'.</p> <h3>But is strategy merging with execution?</h3> <p>At the launching of Future Strategy Club, a straw man was proposed for strategy in the digital age. It looks like this:</p> <blockquote> <p>Disruptive strategy delivers a disruption-proof, CX-led organisational vision through executed continual innovation.</p> </blockquote> <p>It's a bit of a mouthful and it reveals a paradox – is strategy merging with execution? Well, this is a paradox already well discussed. Michael Mankins and Richard Steel wrote a book called 'Stop Making Plans: Start Making Decisions.' The book makes the case for continuous strategic planning cycles. Ultimately, this means strategy should be less static, more willing to continually assess the landscape, and analagous to agile ways of working.</p> <p>This makes perfect sense in the midst of rapid product development and service design, and fast-changing ideas of how business functions should operate (HR, R&amp;D, Marketing, Finance etc.). </p> <p>Ultimately, what we're talking about is strategic flexibility, which may also imply a certain degree of risk taking.</p> <h3>Andrea Ovans offers the simplest explanation</h3> <p>With the Future Strategy Club's straw man in mind, I thought I should put my own cards on the table. Personally, I find Andrea Ovans' response to Michael Porter's famous '<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porter%27s_five_forces_analysis">five forces</a>' analysis to be most cogent.</p> <p>Porter said that strategy is about considering all the forces in your competitive environment. Ovans writes (<a href="https://hbr.org/2015/05/what-is-strategy-again">in the Harvard Business Review</a>) that this "was far from the final word. One could perhaps usefully divide the vast universe of subsequent strategy ideas into those that focus on: </p> <ul> <li>Doing something new.</li> <li>Building on what you already do.</li> <li>Reacting opportunistically to emerging possibilities."</li> </ul> <p>To me, these three bullet points form their own simple and elegant definition of strategy. Look up a quote about strategy and you could probably fit it to one of these three bullet points.</p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://davetrott.co.uk/2017/03/strategy-is-sacrifice/">Dave Trott says</a> strategy is about "one thought that's leaner and more efficient than the competition" (do something new)</li> <li>BP CEO John Browne said it's important for “a business…to have a clear purpose” (build on what you do)</li> <li> <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-strategy-why-important-pete-yates">Pete Yates says</a> that "Strategy is a never ending journey where a series of evolving decisions are made to counteract an ever changing landscape" (react opportunistically)</li> </ul> <h3>But the Future Strategy Club is on to something...</h3> <p>As much as I like those three bullet points from Ovans, Justin Small and Eva Appelbaum are right. Strategy isn't quite the same thing any more. Strategy execution is more complex, as is the measurement of strategy performance gap. Strategic flexibility is more important, and ideas about leadership and implementation are shifting.</p> <p>If the discussion is in danger of plummeting into semantics, maybe we are better defining a <em>strategist</em>, rather than <em>strategy</em>.</p> <p>Small puts it thus, a strategist is: "An analytical visionary creative whose knowledge of human behaviour and data allows him or her to help organisations re-orientate their strategic vision towards more agile, customer experience led products and services."</p> <p>Okay, this is a bit of a mouthful, too. But to me it's clear that digital technology is making the task of a strategist broader and more pressing than ever.</p> <p><em><strong>Now read:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68942-why-systems-and-empathy-is-the-future-for-agencies/">Why 'systems and empathy' is the future for agencies</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4443 2017-03-27T09:45:00+01:00 2017-03-27T09:45:00+01:00 The Future of Agencies: Systems and Empathy <p>This report explores the shifting agency landscape and the dynamics that are shaping agency capability, operating and client engagement models as well as remuneration and approaches to talent.</p> <p>It also examines the key opportunities for agencies in a rapidly shifting environment.</p> <h2>Key findings</h2> <ul> <li>Client focus on customer experience (CX) has created opportunities for agencies willing to deepen their engagement with clients. These engagements range in scope from building new platforms and capabilities, service design and delivery, continuous improvement, operational efficiency, customer acquisition, activation and advocacy.</li> <li>The strategic focus on wider CX has led to a shift towards co-creation between brands and agencies. This means that agencies are working with clients to help them find problems to solve and opportunities to exploit. This differs from the traditional model of agencies simply responding to client briefs. Emphasising the reach of CX, agencies have the opportunity to expand their offering to work with multiple departments beyond the marketing function including digital, innovation, service design, IT, finance and HR teams.</li> <li>This requires a wider set of agency capabilities. For example, joining data with technology to create seamless front-end customer interaction. The challenge for agencies is in developing these competencies and packaging their offerings to clients in ways that make sense so as to create a unique value proposition. </li> <li>Agency value propositions are evolving. Traditional consulting firms are developing and acquiring digital, creative and design expertise. Meanwhile traditional agency holding companies are developing their consulting, data and technology competencies. </li> <li>The complexity of martech (and likely vendor convergence) means there is an opportunity for agencies to act as ‘sense-makers’ for clients and act as trusted partners in making sense of the strategic applications of new waves of technology including artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and the Internet of Things (IoT).</li> <li>Advertisers are demanding greater transparency in recognition of the increasingly complex ad technology landscape. A recent World Federation of Advertisers report showed that almost 90% of advertisers are reviewing and resetting contracts, relationships and models with agency trading desks to improve control.</li> <li>Organisational purpose and culture are becoming as important as location and remuneration in the search to recruit and retain talent. Structures are changing to foster collaborative, agile working which can attract creative and technical talent to deliver exceptional value to clients.</li> <li>With the expansion of agency capabilities, new client-agency remuneration models are becoming prevalent. An increasing focus on project remunerated work is resulting in the decline of the strategic retainer model. Some agencies are using a blended charging approach. This means blending rates of resources of different levels and skills to create a ‘pooled’ rate. These rates can be applied to projects based on how the agency is adding value.</li> </ul> <h2>Methodology</h2> <p>The research for this report comprised a comprehensive series of in-depth interviews with a wide range of:</p> <ul> <li>Senior agency practitioners</li> <li>Marketing practitioners</li> <li>Innovation specialists</li> <li>Consultancy leaders</li> <li>Futurists</li> </ul> <p>This was supported by extensive review of the current literature examining the future of creative and digital marketing sectors including advertising, marketing, content creation and the strategic focus on customer experience.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:ConferenceEvent/863 2017-03-26T15:24:36+01:00 2017-03-26T15:24:36+01:00 Digital Outlook 2017 Part 2 - The Sequel <p>We hear you, and we understand that there are still many digital marketing topics that were not covered at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pg/Econsultancy/photos/?tab=album&amp;album_id=10154296603034327" target="_blank">Digital Outlook 2017</a>.</p> <p>We have selected the next six trending digital marketing topics to be presented at this event. Join us in this half day session to find out the trends and digital marketing best practices for the year.</p> <p>There will be 6 keynotes - all aiming to provide the audience with a outlook for the year.</p> <p>&gt;&gt;&gt; <strong>Overview of the 2017's trending digital marketing topics</strong></p> <p>&gt;&gt;&gt; <strong>Trends, best practices and c</strong><strong>ase studies</strong></p> <p>Hear from leading practitioners and network with industry players to learn what digital marketers should focus today to plan for tomorrow and succeed later.</p> <h4>Special Announcement</h4> <p>In partnership with NTUC, e2i and WSG, Econsultancy is carring out a research on <strong>digital marketing training and development needs in Singapore for 2017</strong>. Please help us improve our training courses by completing the short survey <a href="http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3421857/b9062f550750" target="_blank">here</a>. In return for your time, you can redeem a discount on Econsultancy training courses in Singapore. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4441 2017-03-20T14:54:00+00:00 2017-03-20T14:54:00+00:00 Implementing a Customer Experience (CX) Strategy Best Practice Guide <h2>About this report</h2> <p>In this report we interview a number of global marketing leaders in order to understand how they have implemented customer experience (CX) strategies, the challenges they have faced along the way and the lessons they have learned.</p> <p>We have also surveyed our extensive subscriber base of marketers, agency heads and technology experts to find out where the biggest hurdles and opportunities lie.</p> <p>Drawing on survey findings, interviews and exclusive content from Econsultancy’s library of articles, research reports and data, this report builds a framework for organisations looking to answer their own CX questions. </p> <h2>What you'll learn</h2> <ul> <li>An understanding of what drives expectations of customer experience </li> <li>A framework for implementing and managing customer experience </li> <li>Innovating customer experience for the future</li> <li>Resolving customer experience challenges</li> </ul> <h2>Contributors </h2> <ul> <li>Deborah Goldingham, Head of Marketing South East Asia, Mastercard</li> <li>Laurence Parkes, Chief Strategy Officer, Rufus Leonard</li> <li>Liz Watson, CMO, Hartville Pet Insurance</li> <li>Bruce Himelstein, Consultant and Former CMO, Ritz Carlton</li> <li>Thom Groot, Digital Director, the AA</li> <li>Brad Rutta, VP Strategic Partnerships and Innovation, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection</li> <li>Ian McCaig, Founder and Former CMO, Qubit</li> <li>Uwe Ellinghaus, Global CMO, Cadillac</li> <li>Simon Sproule, CMO, Aston Martin</li> <li>Richard Ingram, Global Head of Brand Innovation and Development, SABMiller</li> <li>Mariano Dima, Global CMO, HomeAway</li> <li>Claudia Infante, Senior Director, Revenue and Distribution Strategy, Hard Rock Resorts</li> </ul>