Posts tagged " strategy "

Who Thinks Different? Well…..we actually don’t.

November 26th, 2017 Posted by Innovation, Marketing, Strategy No Comment yet

Apple’s “Think Different” campaign, which relaunched its corporate image in 1997 and then introduced the iMac was not written by Steve Jobs, according to Rob Siltanen, a former TBWA/Chiat/Day executive who was on the agency’s Apple account at the time. The phrase came from Craig Tanimoto, an art director at TBWA, Siltanen says in a piece written for Forbes.

It’s interesting stuff: Especially as Walter Isaacson’s recent biography of Jobs says that Jobs used the phrase “Think Different” in a speech before the ad campaign was released. He had heard the tagline delivered to him in pitch meetings form the TBWA team prior to the address at Boston MacWorld that August.

And that former TBWA creative director Ken Segall previously told Cult of Mac, “I’m the author of the Think Different campaign” (Although he did credit Tanimoto with dreaming up the slogan, which was up on a wall in the office with a bunch of other things before it was finally selected as the official tagline.) And, of course, TBWA chairman Lee Clow was credited with proposing “Think Different” to Jobs in Alan Deutschman’s 2001 book, The Second Coming of Steve Jobs.

Doubtless there is a difference between specifically originating the phrase “Think Different”; being the author of the entire campaign (which both Siltanen and Segall claim); proposing the phrase to Jobs; and Jobs himself using the phrase publicly first. They were all on the Apple/TBWA team, working together. The stories don’t specifically contradict each other.

Success has many fathers, unfortunately we just don’t know who the first one is in this situation.

Motivating Through Human Capital

July 26th, 2017 Posted by Case Studies, Strategy No Comment yet

Motivating employees to complete a task is the easy part, but motivating those employees to work to the best of their abilities and guiding their efforts to the vision and values of the organization are the real challenges that companies face in today’s demanding global markets. For an organization to achieve its objectives in productivity they must hire the employees that best “fit” into their organizations beliefs and vision. Retaining human capital through job satisfaction and motivation are one of the most critical goals for any organization trying to expand its business model.

This paper gives an understanding of the relationship between human capital and the importance of job satisfaction and motivation when selecting employees. The terms are interrelated and used every day of our lives however, not everyone knows exactly what it takes to effectively motivate employees. The ideology behind retaining human capital is simple; companies spend time and money developing employees that they feel display competencies that will greatly benefit the company in the future. Alongside the developmental stages, companies offer incentives, benefits and perks to encourage, motivate and ultimately keep their employees satisfied in an effort to keep them engaged in their work and happy with their current role(s). It is within the company’s interests to keep their employees happy both within their career and by helping create an effective work/life balance.

An example of how companies can raise employee work place attitudes while creating a cost savings is from Barbara Naydeck’sThe Impact of the Highmark EmployeeWellness Programs on 4-Year Healthcare Costs article. In this article Naydeck discusses the benefits of creating a wellness program for employees which in turn creates a substantial cost savings to Highmark (employer) in the form of lower absenteeism, lower sick days, an increase in productivity and an overall increase in the health and well-being oftheir employees. This undertaking accomplishes several goals for the organization. Highmark actively pursues initiatives to cater to their employee’s well-being. By engaging with their staff and creating programs to help in a work/life balance, Highmark has opened up an effective communication for change. This helps motivate employees by creating a work place environment where their voice can be heard whilst having the employersensure all staff maintain a healthy and happy life. By shifting to a proactive approach of involvement with staff, an organization can raise awareness to unseen issues and find effective methods to help motivate employees and increase overall job satisfaction and productivity.

Job satisfaction is determined by the nature and characteristics of jobs, it also refers to the feelings (both positive and negative) that an employee has toward their job and employer. (Robbins, 16) This includes facets such as characteristics of the job, job involvement, social interactions both internal and external, and the element of challenges and reward. According to research from the wellness article, performance, absenteeism, and turnover are three variables that correlate with job satisfaction.  The case study discussed how job satisfaction is directly linked to the level of motivation and attitude an employee has in regards to their position, their organization and ultimately the level of commitment each holds to their employer. By investigating the relationship between cost savings and a wellness outreach program within the health care industry, Highmark concluded that when the organization took an initiative to support their employees outside of a workplace setting, the cost savings drastically increased. On average every $1 spent on the program garnered a $1.65 increase in cost savings, which in turn leads to a decrease of absenteeism and increase in productivity. This example shows how engaging with staff to create a positive work environment helps to increase job satisfaction by helping employees maintain a positive attitude towards their work/life balance. (Naydeck, 153)

There has been an indirect relationship found between job satisfaction and absence.  While a dissatisfied worker may choose to miss work, our wellnesscase explained, an increase in company morale would effectively contribute to the bottom line; low absenteeism. When employees effectively engage in a work life balance they are happier. Compared to a dissatisfied worker, a satisfied employee is more likely to attend work if they have a minor illness, such as a cold or headache. When factors such as excused versus unexcused absences and organizational sanctions for absenteeism are taken into account, a small, but consistent negative relationship is found between the two constructs. As such, it is vital for companies to engage with staff in a positive manner to keep every high in morale. A wellness program in only a small segment of what can be done to retain the right people for the job.

Another topic discussed in class relating to motivation and human capital was Daniel Goleman’s discussion on IQ and emotional intelligence (EI). It’s Goleman’s view that positive characteristics are innate and that EI can develop several competencies that are crucial for workplace success within the management level, especially within companies such as the IQ driven Google. The role of emotional intelligence should act as a catalyst to other abilities. When companies place a premium on the cognitive ability (IQ) of their employees while not necessarily addressing the EI level of each candidate, they limit to true potential of their new hires. It is Goleman’s view that by only skimming the top of the intelligence chart employers are limiting the opportunities to engage and motivate their employees in the future. For example, Goleman discusses how there is a relatively small difference in the IQ of Google employees, yet, there can be a large difference in their EI competencies. If IQ alone will not cause a difference in choosing senior executives, something else has to help decide. If companies such as Google started comparing previous top performerskills against new hire aptitudes, they would notice distinguishable competencies. These competencies in turn would create aptitudes fornew potential executives. While the current candidates may only be given entry level positions, it is in the company’s best interest to select those candidates who they see filling bigger roles in the future. From these candidates, employers should discuss what situations and circumstances help to motivate or challenge them. Thisbegins to opens up the conversation of how to create a motivated and a highly communicative work force. Organizations claim that their biggest asset or their major sources of competitive advantage are their employees but most organizations do not know how to motivate their employees. Finding the EI competencies in your employees at an early stage helps companies develop goals for those employees. In Goleman’s discussion by identifying these EI characteristics at an early stage, employers have the opportunity to groom the employee from the point of inception. By setting goals, employers can actively motivate and challenge their employees to participate and actively engage in their personal growth and development within the organization. As their development progresses, employers can increase the difficulty of each challenge/goal; thus allowing both the employer and employee to monitor their natural progress. (Robbins, 79) By selecting the qualities they desire in their employees at an entry level and then proceeding to train, challenge and reward those employees, companies can find themselves motivating and building the leaders of tomorrow within their ranks of today.

Employee motivation and job satisfaction are constantly evolving issues within all organizations. Employee motivation can beseen as an independent variable directly related to job satisfaction. The satisfaction of a job is more than productivity. It is a feeling obtained by working. For example, if an employee enjoys their work, their co-workers and the responsibilities they have been given; it helps create a positive outlook. Meaning, if you are happy at work, chances are you will be happy outside of work and vice versa. Employees who are not satisfied with their current position or status cannot perform their tasks optimally and thus they have to be motivated to perform their tasks. Yet, even with these motivation factors, an unhappy employee carries those feelings into their personal life, and eventually the cycle will repeat until the levels of motivation become ineffective or simply too costly for an employer. Sources of motivation vary amongst industries. The most effective methods of motivation include recognition programs, staff involvement initiatives, and monetary incentives, however, as we have discussed in class an employee with a salary of $80,000 tends to be as happy as an employee with a $40,000 salary. (Robbins, 21) Although money motivates employees to achieve a goal, it does not create a “happy” employee. The motivation for workers to act in a desired manner has always plagued the thoughts of management. This has caused managers to develop frameworks for recognizing employee differences and highlighting areas for development, feedback and engagement. In many ways companies focus on a social responsibility to their employees by establishing incentive programs, such as salary bonuses, variable pay incentives, corporate pep talks, team building exercises/retreats, wellness programs and other types of policies. However, as the workers adjust their behaviours in response to some of the aforementioned stimuli, can job satisfaction effectively be achieved? By instilling the feeling of positive job satisfaction within workers, management can build confidence, loyalty and ultimately improve the output performance of the employed. Satisfaction, though, is not the simple result of an incentive program. Employees will most likely not take any more pride in their work even if they win an incentive for highest performance, highest sales or best customer service. However, as we discussed, motivation is an integral and independent part that is required to achieve an overall positive job satisfaction mentality.

Given the subjective nature of job satisfaction, evaluative, cognitive, and behavioral components must be considered in order to determine overall global job satisfaction.   By examining specific areas relevant to a job, job satisfaction can be determined.  We have discussed two methods in class that can assist in grading the level of satisfaction within a role. By utilizing the Single goal rating system and analyzing the summation of job facts employers can begin to assess the criteria needed to help improve employee satisfaction. (Robbins, 19) When combined with effective incentives to stimulate employees (both internally and externally) a blend of increased motivation, productivity and job satisfaction/enjoyment can be realized. When companies take an active approach to communicate with their team and to resolve issues before they arise; the organization as a whole will benefit from the increase in positive working environments, productivity and employee performance.

Performance is determined by ability, motivation, and opportunity, however, small changes in performance, instead of a drastic change, could also be attributed to the motivation employees receive from their coworkers, managers and workplace. Employee involvement in setting and attaining personal goals canprovide intrinsic motivation by increasing their growth and development.This motivation and reward is conclusive with creating opportunity and positive outlooks for an employee’s future.

In conclusion, as organizations try to facilitate initiatives to hire the best of the best in such a demanding global market, we must keep in mind that once we find the employees with “the right stuff” we will need to constantly engaged, motivate and challenge them. The hiring process is a two way street. When a company finds what they feel is the right candidate they extend an offer hoping that the candidate feels that their organization is a place they see themselves growing and developing with. It is vital to carry an open communication across all channels. By allowing staff and management to be involved in employee development, organizations can effectively increase the retention of employees (human capital) whilst simultaneously increasing the feelings of job satisfaction and creating a positive work environment.

5 Big Digital Marketing Trends in 2017

December 26th, 2016 Posted by Marketing, Trends No Comment yet

As 2016 ended, organizations faced a pivotal shift digital marketing. With revenue a priority for businesses, accelerating inbound marketing becomes a top priority. Emerging technologies continue to evolve while social platforms seem to have a growth factor that cannot be compared. This is the importance of digital. It skyrockets in popularity, and as technologies continue to evolve so do customers. As a result, the marketing activities of organizations also needs to move at light speed to stay relevant with social trends and tastes. Just look at the Pokemon App (50 Million users in less than 10 minutes).

To help keep you in the loop, here are a few digital trends to look out for this year.

1) Wearable mobile devices

There are currently 7.22 billion active mobile devices in the world – that’s more technology in the world than people, so it’s easy to understand the importance of smartphone marketing and its relevance to an organization.

In 2015 the wearables market exceeded $2 billion; this year it is set to hit almost $3 billion and is expected to reach over $4 billion in 2017. Much like the emergence of mobile, brands and businesses will have to develop their websites and platforms to suit the needs of the needs of the average wearable user, and ensure they are optimized for small, more interactive screens to ensure a quality user experience and prompt sales. Of all trends, wearable devices have the largest growth potential. Something to keep an eye on moving forward.

2) Blending Online and Physical Stores

In-store marketing may not sound like a branch of digital marketing, but the relationship between physical and online sales techniques is expected to narrow even more. In a smartphone dominated world, 80% of millennials use their phone in-store and 74% claim to be willing to receive location-based mobile alerts.

For an organization with an optimized mobile strategy, capturing customers in-store through digital techniques will provide an effective means of conversion.

For example, let’s look at Target. The store launched a reward app to present their customers with special offers as they walk through various departments of their stores. Today’s advanced beacon technology makes it easy for marketers to place relevant offers into the hands of their customers.

3) Live Streaming

It’s a fact, 50% of all mobile traffic and this year has seen a huge rise in video sharing, and video content creation, particularly in the realms of social media. There is a dynamic shift in the way people plug into the net. Although, still very much in its infancy, live streaming can reshape the advertising world.

Platforms such as Periscope and Facebook Live now make it easy for brands and businesses to connect with their fans and followers in real-time and get their message across by streaming live broadcasts and promoting them in advance, and as people’s thirsts for video stimulation increases, so will the need for live video content.

4) Social Media content

As social media consumption continues to rise and the big players are monopolizing the market. Facebook bought WhatsApp, Twitter purchased Periscope, while businesses and their marketers keep their eyes on how to stay relevant.

One big digital marketing trend that is expected to blow up in the world of social media comes in the form expiring content. Expiring digital content offers brands and businesses a means of cutting through the noise and clutter. One of the pioneers of the expiring content movement is Snapchat. To create a real sense of urgency, the platform gave customers a limited time to read or view content before it disappeared. This consisted of watching 10-second videos that disappear after one view, and then related to other bigger Snapchat stories.

The tactic proved so successful that Instagram copied the model, causing a rivalry between the two platforms. Expiring content is becoming an effective means of brand advertising and it’s set to blow up in 2017 and is a trick not to be missed.

5) Interactive Content


In the current digital landscape, engagement is everything. Compared to 36% for static content, interactive content generates conversions

and engages consumers. In addition, it works as a competitor differentiator and proves effective in educating buyers, no mean feat in a landscape that sees customers turn away from traditional methods of purchasing in favour of online reviews and research.

With digital technology getting more sophisticated all the time, the scope for brands and businesses to engage with consumers is seemingly endless, and it is going to prove even more valuable in 2017.  Interactive can come in many forms, from quizzes and polls to calculators and contests. The question is: which interactive content will you develop to engage with your audience? Food for thought.

Firms need to start planning to gain insight to ensure success for tomorrow’s markets.

The Art of Project Management

November 26th, 2016 Posted by Strategy, Trends No Comment yet

Do we need project managers in change management projects? Of course. Do we need project management in construction developments? Absolutely. But we have to determine the amount of management needed and how to simplify the way we will perform it. It’s an art form.

At its core, project management is about efficiency; being able to correct discrepancies in any work flow and ultimately complete a project on time and under budget. In fact, project management is more or less an art, than it is a process of conventional methodology. The correct mix of formalization and freedom leads to a lovely piece of art and a successful end project.

At p2i strategies, our objective is to be the most progressive and client focused project management company. Let’s look at a few approaches to project management and how they can effect a project workflow.

Top-Down Approach

Top-down planning is referred to as strategy. Top-down project planning is focused on keeping the decision making process at the senior level. Goals and quotas are established at the highest level, and those at the top are not often willing to take advice or any guidance from lower level employees. With top-down planning, management must choose techniques to align projects and goals. Management holds the sole responsibility for the plans set forth and for the end result. It is worth noting that since employees are not included in any of the decision making process and are often only motivated through either fear or incentives, moral can become an issue.

Becoming familiar with project approaches in general is not an easy task. Applying predefined project formats is also not. As a project manager, you can reduce all anxiety in the beginning of the project, by organizing a splendid kick-off meeting. This meeting involves all stakeholders from the very beginning of the project. This is the initial step where everybody gets the feeling of a framework and can offer their insight before the project actually begins.

By doing so, everybody is aware that their actions are related to an available project budget. When the budget starts to steer off course (which happens more than we like to think), addressing it immediately in relation to previous conversations could prove extremely beneficial.

Bottom-Up Approach

Each project is different, as is each objective. You deal with various personalities during the project. Bottom-up planning is referred to as tactics. With bottom-up planning, you give your project deeper focus because you have a larger number of employees involved, each with their own area of expertise. Team members work side-by-side and have input during each stage of the process. Plans are developed at the lowest levels and are then passed on to each next higher level. It then reaches senior management for approval.

Lower-level employees are more likely to take personal stock in a plan that they are involved in planning. Employees are more motivated and morale improves. Although an effective approach, often this can lead to miscommunication and lengthy approval processes.

Divide and Conquer

Formalization to keep control of the issues is really important. But in the middle of the project there’s scheduling conflicts and often times it will be agreed that several parties do not communicate with each other over the course of a few days. This approach resembles the divide and conquer methodology. However, the downfall of this process is tremendous, as the lead project management should ensure that all aspects of the project are running smoothly. When you begin to disrupt the flow of information, the scope of roles will quickly change and ultimately cause more delays. This approach is often a contributing factor to time delays and budget issues when managing a project.

Shades of Scope

Scope discussions always have shades of grey. The blueprint phase is aimed at defining all the client’s needs. This blueprint phase also includes defining the additional out of scope topics. Of course there are formal documents, which should be signed before starting any form of modification. But even if you did all administration effectively, scope discussion can change. There is truly an art to evaluating the scope of work and additional change requests. The key is to remain flexible and become proactive to the impending change of scope.

Project Management Plan

Quality planning should be performed in parallel with the other planning processes. For example, proposed changes in the deliverables to meet identified quality standards may require cost or schedule adjustments and a detailed risk analysis of the impact to plans.

The quality planning techniques discussed here are those used most frequently on projects. There are many others that may be useful on certain projects or in some application areas.

The Scope baseline includes the project scope statement/ description, major project deliverables, and acceptance criteria. The product scope often contains details of technical issues and other concerns that can affect quality planning and that should have been identified as a result of the planning processes in Project Scope Management. The definition of acceptance criteria may significantly increase or decrease quality costs and therefore, project costs. Satisfying all acceptance criteria that the needs of the sponsor and/or customer have been met.

Work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS identifies the deliverables and the work packages used to measure project performance.

The cost baseline documents the accepted time interval being used to measure cost performance.

Other management plans. These plans contribute to the overall project quality and may highlight actionable areas of concern with regard to the project’s quality.

The X factor

The final leg of the race appears when the X factor is born. You have to feel the “soul” of the project. At a certain moment in time you get the feeling that everybody is working in unison within the project. Actions are taken, tests are done. It is the project manager’s responsibility to ensure the close out phase is as smooth as the rest of the project. It’s in this phase where all of the intricate nuances will appear. At this stage the PM will remain open to communication and address all issues and concerns, in the most time efficient capacity with al l stakeholders to ensure an effective completion of the project.

In closing, it is the methodologies to push projects to succeed. However, it is all the subtle nuances and rapport that is built between the members that truly dictates the success of a project.