Archive | February 2012

3 Lessons for Social TV

You may have noticed something was missing throughout the nation’s most social sporting event of the year. The Super Bowl in-game broadcast had zero social media TV integration.

With more than a billion people on Facebook and Twitter alone, many of them watching the game, this was a missed opportunity. Why did NBC and the NFL miss the boat? Likely, the common internal social media struggles got in the way. Incorporating social media into the epic annual broadcast would have created adversity internally. It’s not the way they’ve always done it and, therefore, it’s uncomfortable.

But while the network and league lost an opportunity to innovate the viewing experience, many advertisers took advantage of integrating social media within their pricey ads. By doing this, the advertisers garnered more reach and engagement.

Slapping Twitter handles and Facebook URLs on the TV screen, however, is no longer enough for socially-savvy television. Social media users can now dictate the outcome of live TV shows, create its content, and most notably, impact ratings. Throughout the succinct two-year history of social television, successes and failures have taught practitioners three valuable lessons:

1. Keep it organic. The golden rule of social media is to deliver value when, where, and how your audience wants to receive it. With Social TV, the audience is providing value right back. Naturally, viewers are talking about their favorite (or least favorite) TV shows and sporting events. So, let them talk back when, where, and how they want to. It not only provides a temperature on opinions and sentiment, but also extends content into a perpetual conversation with social media keeping the buzz alive even after the show is over.

For example, The X Factor realized that their highly enthusiastic following on Twitter had strong opinions about the show’s contestants. Viewers didn’t necessarily care if the TV show itself was listening to their opinion; they were naturally sharing their thoughts, feelings, likes, and dislikes in the interest of a social viewing experience with their peers. After monitoring this behavior and listening to viewers, The X Factor became the first show ever to harness that conversation’s inherent power and let viewers vote via Twitter direct message. This provided a convenient and direct means for loyal viewers and tweeters to voice their opinions in a meaningful yet official way.

2. Offer low-barrier engagement. It’s not a new concept for television shows to host contests highlighting viewer submissions. However, with the evolution of Social TV, the entry process is now far more accessible.

Jimmy Fallon is one of the pioneers of this concept. In the prehistoric age of social TV, Fallon trail-blazed by providing Twitter hashtag prompts to viewers and airing the most creative and hilarious responses on-air. Why was this so innovative? It kept the viewers in their own space. Fallon’s call-to-action required little effort; a simple, witty one-liner in a tweet could be your chance at late-night stardom.

What was the benefit for the TV show? Viewers were now entertained at an incremental level. They were participating with the show — and invested in the next evening’s show — to see if their tweet was highlighted within the broadcast. Simply said, they were elevated one notch up on the loyalty ladder. Many of the hashtags even became trending topics, which garnered accelerated awareness for the innovative hashtag game and even more paramount, the show itself.

3. Measure and share real-time results with viewers. TV networks and shows can put their finger on the pulse of viewer engagement before, during, and after a show airs. It’s traditionally believed that word of mouth is the most influential form of marketing. Consensus matters because it saves time and provides clarity. In the same way we look for book or music recommendations from friends, we turn to social media to hear about the next big thing. Traditional media outlets are becoming valuable editors of the social media space, using their expertise to tell their viewers what they should be consuming according to general consensus. This strategy also proves valuable to advertisers who can make more informed decisions about when, where, and how they want to advertise on TV.

As the 2012 presidential election approaches, voters will be keeping their eyes on their own network’s opinions more than political pundits or government officials. Said pundits and officials should, therefore, provide a new form of value by packaging and delivering these organic results to their audience.

It’s important to note that experimenting leads to best practices. The entertainment offering is only limited by the imagination of the producers.

3 Myths of Customer Experience

Sharing awesome ex-class mates(Zack)’s presentation;
3 Myths of customer experience;
1. You can design experience
2. Experience strategy should be focused on creating something new.
3. Experience strategy consistently produces significant value.

3 Ways To Predict What Consumers Want Before They Know It

 

SCOTT ANTHONY, OF INNOSIGHT AND THE AUTHOR OF THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF INNOVATION: HOW IT WORKS, HOW TO DO IT, SHOWS HOW TO FIND HIDDEN OPPORTUNITIES FOR INNOVATION.

The insight that sparks innovation appears to occur randomly. After all, the iconic shorthand for innovation is a light bulb, implying that ideas come from sudden flashes of inspiration. While such flashes are surely good things, it is hard to depend on them, particularly if you are at a company that needs to introduce a steady stream of innovative ideas.

Steve Jobs once said, “It is not the customer’s job to know what they want.” That’s absolutely right. It is yours. And don’t think you don’t have a customer because you work in an internal support function or for a company that provides components or services. Everyone has a customer, whether it is a purchaser, user, or co-worker.

The quest to identify opportunities for innovation starts with pinpointing problems customers can’t adequately solve today. More than 50 years ago Peter Drucker wrote, “The customer rarely buys what the company thinks it sells him. One reason for this is, of course, that nobody pays for a ‘product.’ What is paid for is satisfaction.” Companies think they are selling products and services, but in reality people hire those products and services to get jobs done in their lives. As marketing guru Ted Levitt quipped to his students a generation ago, “People don’t want quarter-inch drills–they want quarter-inch holes.” A problem arises, and the customer looks around and chooses the solution that gets the job done better than competing alternatives.

To discover your quarter-inch holes, obsessively search for the job that is important but poorly satisfied (for more on the underlying theory of jobs to be done, see The Innovator’s Solution by Clayton M. Christensen and Michael Raynor). Innosight’s research and field work over the past decade suggests that following three specific activities can increase the odds of identifying innovation opportunities.

1. GET TO CONTEXT

In 2000, when A.G. Lafley became CEO of Procter & Gamble, he found a company that had lost its way. The stock had plunged almost 50% after a March 2000 warning that the company would miss earnings estimates. Lafley looked for simple ways to reenergize that company’s innovation energy. He came to the conclusion that P&G needed to fundamentally reorient itself. The company was world renowned for driving decisions based on deep customer understanding, but upon reflection, Lafley realized that the company had drifted away from that understanding.

Lafley is gifted at communicating complicated ideas in simple ways. He developed a simple mantra to refocus P&G: The consumer is boss. He would say something along these lines: “Fellow P&G-ers, I’d like you to meet your new boss. You may think that I, as your CEO, am boss. That’s not right. You might think that the board of directors to which I report is boss. That’s not right. You might think our shareholders are the bosses. That’s not right. You might think your line manager is boss. That’s not right. We have one and only one boss that matters. The consumer. The consumer is boss.”

Lafley urged P&G to understand their boss as never before. P&G had to hear what the consumer was saying and, much more importantly, tease out what the consumer wanted but couldn’t articulate.

To do this, Lafley worked to create a culture where everyone in P&G–from the chairman down–would spend time living with consumers, shopping with consumers, or working alongside consumers. He would describe invaluable insights he personally obtained in his career by spending time in the market. For example, while Lafley worked on Tide branded laundry detergent, P&G would regularly administer quantitative surveys to assess the quality of its product and packaging. Consumers reported that they loved Tide’s packaging (at the time, Tide was packaged in cardboard boxes). Yet, when Lafley was interacting with a consumer, he noticed that she almost always used a screwdriver or scissors to open the Tide box. Lafley realized that the woman didn’t want to risk breaking her nails opening the cardboard box. She said she loved the packaging because she didn’t know of any alternatives, but in reality, she had to find a creative way to open the box because of its design limitations.

Many P&G products trace their inspiration to these kinds of observations. For example, watching a woman grow frustrated when she spilled coffee grounds on her floor helped to inspire P&G’s Swiffer quick cleaning line, which today produces more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

One of the dirty little secrets of innovation is that even the most well-intentioned people lie. They say they will do things they won’t, and purport to have interest in things they don’t. Spend time in the market so that you can know the customer better than they know themselves.

How to get started: Detail the amount of time you spent with customers or key stakeholders in the last three months. Find a way to triple that time.

2. WATCH FOR WORKAROUNDS

Carefully studying current and potential customers often highlights workarounds that customers create to make up for the limitations of existing solutions. Drilling into these compensating behaviors can help to unearth innovation opportunities.

Consider jeans shopping. Research shows that women find it the second-most intimidating shopping experience, behind shopping for swimwear. In 2009, as part of an ambitious innovation program, VF Corporation, which makes Wranglers and Lee Jeans, began to spend more time with customers in order to understand specific points of frustration.

One trip to a local department store proved particularly illuminating. Executives watched as a prospective female customer shopped for a new pair of jeans. She wandered around the endless racks of clothes in the store, picking up pair of jeans after pair of jeans. The VF team was struck by two observations: First, the sheer volume of jeans the woman brought into the dressing room. Second, the fact that the woman had picked up multiple sizes of just about every pair she was trying on.

The executives assumed that she must have recently experienced a weight change, so she was unsure of her size. But in fact it turned out that her experience taught her that the sizes that appeared on the labels of jeans only loosely related to what would actually fit. Her workaround involved bringing in volumes of pairs of jeans in order to find one good fit.

 

 

These observations helped the company focus its innovation efforts on the jeans-buying process. VF changed the labeling on its jeans, developed innovative display mechanisms in retail stores, and launched an online campaign where noted style icon Stacey London helped women find jeans that would be most appropriate for their body type. In early 2011, VF reported that these and related innovation efforts had created $100 million in incremental revenue in its jeanswear division.

How to get started: Lead a round-table discussion to identify compensating behaviors that your company’s solution forces customers to follow.

3. FOCUS ON NONCONSUMERS

The natural tendency for would-be innovators is to study existing customers who participate in existing categories. By all means do that. But also look for people who face some kind of constraint that inhibits their ability to solve a pressing problem they are facing in their lives. Apple, Southwest, Ikea, Nintendo, and many more companies trace their success to unlocking demand that was pent up because existing solutions were too expensive or complicated. These companies found a market opportunity just sitting there, waiting for someone to develop a convenient, affordable solution.

Indian conglomerate called Godrej & Boyce used this approach when it developed its ChotuKool refrigerator, designed for 85% of the Indian population who didn’t purchase refrigerators. These consumers wanted some of the benefits of refrigeration, but needed something that was smaller, more portable, and less power hungry. The ChotuKool addressed these barriers to consumption. The size of a small cooler, it costs an affordable $70 and is battery powered, so it can run off the grid when electricity is down. The product exceeded sales expectations during a trial launch in 2010. In early 2011, Godrej won an award from the Indian prime minister for its efforts, with sales accelerating dramatically.

It takes some mental discipline to look to markets that don’t exist. But that discipline can pay off in the form of growth opportunities that are hidden in plain sight.

How to get started: Write down five things that a coworker or friend can only do by relying on an expert or going to a central location. Think about ideas that would let these people do it themselves.

* * *

Spending time with customers, watching for workarounds, and exploring nonconsumption helps to highlight exciting innovation opportunities. Of course, there’s more to innovation than the spark of an insight. Innovators have to translate that insight into an idea that gets the innovation job done and delivers against whatever metric matters (revenues, profits, process performance, employee satisfaction, and so on). But the right starting point makes the journey infinitely easily.

Smart Talk for Fast Times: 5 Rules

No one has time to listen to chit-chat. Use these tricks to get more out of less in conversations with busy executives.

Who has the time now for long conversations? I hope you make time for them with your family and friends–but in the workplace, we tend to avoid people with the reputation for being long-winded.

So when you get the ear of a senior executive, how do you make the most of the moment? Use these tips to be more effective when talking with a busy executive.

1. Think in 30-Second Increments

Half a minute is forever in a boring conversation. Studies indicate that on the phone, the listener is considering whether to exit or stick around every seven to 11 seconds. In face-to-face meetings, you get a little more grace–say, all the way to 30 seconds. If you are not constantly generating someone’s interest, you are losing him.

Executives seem to have their own form of attention disorders.  Executives are constantly trying to come to a decision about any interaction: “Do I delegate this, avoid this, deny this or run away from this?” You are fighting that internal dialogue in small battles. Keep it interesting.

2. Watch for Signs of Boredom

We know the signs, right? Checking the watch, looking over your shoulder, fidgeting, glassy eyes. On the phone, it’s the prolonged pause, the “email launch” sound in the background, the vague “uh-huh, uh-huh …” That’s your “uh-oh” moment.

Really effective sales people respond to those moments. They interrupt the conversation with an honest interjection. It might be, “The bottom line is …” or “The thing we need to decide right now is …” The pattern interruption brings the conversation back to point and gets engagement.

3. Ask Permission for Stories

Stories are very important in conversations, to set points and ideas in context. Without context, it is hard for your listener to integrate your issues into all of their circumstances. However, when a person launches into a story, the instant reaction is resistance: No one wants to be trapped for who-knows-how-long in a pointless story.

If you need to tell a story, get the permission for extended attention. Just ask, “Can I tell a quick story to illustrate what I mean?” This shows respect to the listener and it prepares them for a sustained attention period.

4. Know What Your Point Is

Do you have a point? This is especially critical when talking with executives, but the truth is that it should be a general rule for all business conversations. You are asking for action, input, a decision, or support. To honor someone’s time and get to the next step, you need to know exactly what you want.

A compliment I hear from executives and clients about their best suppliers is: “I really appreciate that they don’t waste my time. Whenever they need something, they come to me–and we take care of it and move on.”

5. What’s in It for Someone Else?

Sales people have joked for a long time that everyone has the same radio station playing in their head: WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). By no means do I believe that every interaction has to be a selling conversation, or that there has to be something for your listener in every conversation. However, if you want to hold their attention, it’s good to keep it in mind. What is in it for the listener to be having this conversation with you?

Get to the point and everyone will benefit.  And let me know how it goes.  If you find these tips helpful, post your experience in comments section.

Author, speaker and consultant Tom Searcy is the foremost expert in large account sales. With Hunt Big Sales, a fast-growth consultancy, he’s helped clients land more than $5 billion in new sales. Click to get Tom’s weekly tips, or to learn more about Hunt Big Sales@tomsearcy

“10 Ways Companies Kill Their Own Good Ideas” by Patrick Whitney

10) Send innovative ideas into the normal development process.
9) Do not fail early, often and cheaply.
8) Conduct research on existing users while ignoring non-users and extreme users.
7) Research products instead of activities.
6) Focus on How before What.
5) Want a delivery date and proof of success before starting.
4) Do not know that perfection is the enemy of success.
3) More comfortable being precisely wrong than roughly right.
2) Think that transformative and incremental change are the same thing.
1) Want to innovate as long as it does not require change.

Smart Salon with Patrick Whitney and Steve Smith from Smart Design on Vimeo.