Tag Archives: CX

Five Crowd-Sourcing Lessons Learned from a Retail Business Moving its Shop Location

Manuka Wholefoods is a remarkable little shop owned by a family of New Zealanders living in Chichester (West Sussex) in the southern part of the United Kingdom.  Manuka Wholefoods retails a full array of organic products such as grocery, dairy products, fruit and veggies, skin and body care, nutritional supplements and organic wines.
 
For personal reasons, the Manuka Wholefoods business owners had to travel right before relocating their shop within Chichester.  Beyond the traditional emails sent to their customer database, the on-site working crew, led by highly capable and motivated Shop Manager Claire Burgess, decided to give customers a little map-flyer helping them to visualize the new location.
 
1. First, start the crowd-sourcing project within your own team
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Creating a readable map everybody could understand turned out to be a challenge. Claire could have printed out the typical Google map, had it photocopied and “voila, here you go customers, take it or leave it!  But insightful Claire Burgess wanted to go a step further. She decided that not only should customers understand and be able to read her map, but more importantly customers should be able to visualize the new shop location.  In order to create the best possible drawing, Claire first sought advice from her own team.  By doing so, she enthusiastically included them in the project while gaining their motivation and support.  
 
2. Crowd-source with own employees for personnel engagement and motivation
 
The three Manuka Wholefoods team members had different views and expectations on what the map should look like.  After briefly conferring with each other, they all decided to try out a Google version.  At that time, the Google map seemed the logical choice since the team could perfectly understand the directions from the old location to the new. 
 
3. Test your idea and ask for genuine feedback from your crowd
 
Claire Burgess went one step further.  She started showing the map to her customers, and asked them if they could visualize and understand where the shop was going?  Although 80% of Manuka Wholefoods’ customer base is from Chichester, most of the customers to whom the map was shown had genuine difficulties reading it and understanding where the shop was moving to.  Claire’s team realized that many of their customers did not know the street names or names of the city landmarks.  The team had to pause and accept the fact that the map they created and perceived as logical and easy to follow, came across to the majority of their customers as confusing.  The quintessential lesson they learned was the fact that they did not find out until they genuinely started to ask.
 
4. You miss the point if your business gets it, but your “crowd” or customers don’t
 
Manuka Wholefoods’ sales team started asking customers for suggestions.  It became clearer that a readable map would have to be made from scratch.  Unneeded street names were removed.  Thanks to the help of many customers, the map became a crowd-manufactured effort featuring four arrows originating from the former shop and ending at the new location.  The customers preferred a map overview with directions along the main roads rather than the most direct route along unfamiliar streets. Furthermore, customers then requested that it would help if pictures of known landmarks and shops could be added to the map to create a complete visual of the new location.
 
ManukaWholefoods is moving-medium 
5. Assume nothing and get your crowd’s attention
 
Although posters announcing the move were strategically placed, these seemed to be of little use unless pointed out to customers. In this day and age, we are all busy, preoccupied and in a rush.  We see but do not read; we hear but do not listen! That’s
why folks, with any message you want to communicate, you’ve got to get people’s attention.  We all are creatures of habit. We often overestimate the relevance of a message by genuinely assuming that people are interested. 
 
Once the map had been finalized, 750 copies were personally given out by Claire Burgess and her team.  Furthermore Manuka Wholefoods will have to distribute additional flyers to encourage its customers to create new shopping habits. How many customers will forget and realize that the location has changed when suddenly faced with the old empty shop?  Over the next three to six months, Manuka Wholefoods will have to remind, coach and reward customers for having adjusted to a major change:  shopping at its new location.
 
What is your crowd-sourcing experience as a business owner?  What are some of the lessons you’ve had the chance to learn? I am looking forward to your comments and suggestions:  Until next time, I wish you all a successful week. 

 

Six Reasons Why Social Business Strategists should read Mark Fidelman’s Socialized!

I bought Mark Fidelman Socialized! on Amazon at its full price (no discounts or coupons from Mark) and just finished devouring it. Fidelman  delivers a fundamental work that greatly contributes to the heated debate of Social Business development.  Fidelman not only shows, but proves how quintessential it is for businesses to harness the power of social.  Not only with tools and technologies, but first with their immediate communities aka company workforce.  Time is ripe for dismantling the prevailing command-and-control leadership style. The militaristic/hierarchical leadership approach ought to be replaced with Jon Husband’s Wirearchy structure.  So why should you read Socialized!Social Media ROI expert Dr. Natalie Petouhoff: “Fidelman’s ability to simplify key concepts like the Digital Village, Darwin’s Funnel, and the Digital Network, gives the reader a unique and important understanding of the power of Social Business. You’ll be sorry if you don’t read this book before your competitors do.”
 
Mark Fidelman: Socialized http://amzn.to/10gw8CR

Mark Fidelman: Socialized http://amzn.to/10gw8CR

Fidelman and his team interviewed business leaders around the globe in order to present to us a state-of-the-art social business road-map.  Fidelman lives and breathes what he writes.  He is the sort of individual any social minded person ought to connect with; either on Twitter/LinkedIn, and Forbes where he is a regular contributor.  Socialized! not only talks the walk but most importantly walks the talk.  It is a practical text-book backed up with countless case studies and examples anyone aspiring to become a social leader should be aware of and study
  
2. Culture, culture and more culture is the foundation to any social business undertaking
 
Fidelman emphasizes culture as the 101 prerequisite to any potentially successful Social Business Strategy.  Fidelman: “Why after all do we insist on employees following our orders, and why do we call it insubordination if they question them? … Yet the companies that are leading in today’s world recognize the benefit of an empowered workforce that feels connected to the organization.  Empowered employees understand not only how to make great products, but more importantly how to create cultures that continue to make great products well into the future.”  Socialized! will assist CMOs and CCOs (Chief Cultural/Customer Officers) not only to analyze their existent Social Business state, but provide them with a detailed 10-point Social Business Culture development program.  
 
3. Building first an internal digital village and then an external digital network
 
Once the infrastructure of a cooperative culture has been established, business leaders will need to handpick the internal evangelists and shepherds (regardless of their rank) who will co-create their internal digital village — the nuts and bolts to any Social Business foundation
 
CXOs need to remember that becoming a Customer Service or/and Customer-Experience oriented company first  requires the emotional support and buy-in of their internal communities or “Smart Tribes” (as coined by Christine Comaford in her brand new book).  These “Smart Tribes” or internal communities represent the company’s intrinsic power that will transform the  traditional working communities into enthusiastic business advocates.  
 
After the creation of an apropos culture and the establishment of the right people foundation, the social team will need to select the social media platforms and its supportive collaborative technologies (Intranet/Extranet/SCRM/Social Business Software).  This will make sure that the Social Business community sets up the proper internal tools to construct its external digital network.
 
4. The new Social Business Playbook
 
Youtility author Jay Baer states: “Socialized! is an imminently readable, practical, and modern guide to social business.  The playbook section alone is worth the price, and then some.  Fidelman has added an important piece to the corporate social transformation puzzle.” Fidelman:  “In practice, management should provide the right atmosphere, guidelines, technologies, and opportunities for employees to thrive.”  Socialized! delivers a 15-point playbook: here are some of the highlights:
 
– Building an internal and external community
– Connecting and empowering thought leaders
– Recruiting a Chief Social Strategist or a Chief Cultural/Customer Officer
– Becoming an own media publisher, which makes me think of Michael Brito’s upcoming book: Your Brand.
– Replacing traditional inbound marketing with content marketing
– Leveraging employees, suppliers and partners to foster innovation
– Enhancing customer support to become the strength of your company
– Using Gamification to engage employees, partners and customers
– Creating the potential for serendipitous relationships
 
This last point is my favorite and reminds me of the romantic comedy “Serendipity” starring John Cusack and  Kate Beckinsale.   Fidelman himself gives a wonderful example of serendipity with StaffUnity:  an automated employee lunch club system provider.
 
5. The rise of the social employee
 
Fidelman  makes the case that, social networks, consumerization of IT, mobility, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device: smartphones, phablets and tablets) and cloud computing are all being part of the social and technological developments a 21st century enterprise cannot fail anymore to ignore. 
 
6. Measuring the ROI (Return On Investment) of a Social Business Strategy
 
Fidelman stresses that social business initiatives should only be undertaken if those can be measured.   He goes on to say: “Before starting any social initiatives, you must first identify objectives such as:  “improving customer relationships, product innovation, acquiring and retaining employees and growing revenues.” 
 
 
Image Credit: PulsePointGroup.com: The Economics of the Socially Engaged Enterprise

Image Credit: PulsePointGroup.com: The Economics of the Socially Engaged Enterprise

 
Social Business metrics and ROI are  very well documented in a 2012 study by MIT in collaboration with the Deloitte institute.  The Economist Intelligence Unit and the PulsePoint Group published a study showing that 81% of interviewed leaders agree that social engagement has the following tangible benefits on the following areas:
 
– Project management
– Innovation
– Collaboration
– Efficiency gains
– Cost saving
 
In conclusion, Fidelman’s Socialized! is a management textbook that provides all the necessary steps for a clear pathway towards a successful social enterprise journey:  
 
1. Reviewing the existent culture of an enterprise
2. Setting up an internal digital village
3. Attaching an external digital village to the internal one
4. Establishing a social business strategy
5. Measuring Social Business ROI
6. Reviewing, correcting, adapting and repeating
 
Any leader wanting to understand the implications and repercussions  of a Social Business development program should study and dissect Socialized!.  Kudos and thanks to Mark Fidelman’s altruistic attitude for having taken the time to give us one of the best researched Social Business Strategy text-books ever written thus far. 
 
 
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10 Ways for Small and Medium Business to Establish a Social Business Strategy (2/2)

Our world is getting more complex every day.  Technology evolves at a speed that is hardly possible to keep up with.  In Part one, we reviewed the first five ways SMBs can set up a solid social business strategy:
1. Regularly review and refine your company mission, values and goals
2. Keep transforming your content marketing into convenience marketing
3. To blog or not to blog
4. Transform your website into a social hub and its visitors into co-creators
5. Carefully choose your social platforms
 
So here are the five last ways SMBs can establish a solid foundation for a social business:
 
6.  Reinforce and share your company vision
 
Share your company vision to employees, suppliers, customers and prospects on your company website.  Communicate your company vision on all your social networks. Reinforce your core values to customers, suppliers, prospects and anyone your business is coming in contact with.  I can guarantee you that it will be a rewarding experience for both your company and your customers who will better identify your vision and enthusiastically share it with the communities of their choice.  Zappos is well-known for its outstanding company culture and the way CEO Tony Hsieh runs his interviews for both cultural fit and skills requirements. On Zappos’ company blog, Tony publicly shares some of his correspondence for anybody to read: management, co-workers, clients, prospects and suppliers alike.  This is a superb way of spreading company culture while avoiding misunderstandings, promoting transparency and informing everyone.  
 
21st Century World
 
7. Create a dual strategy by combining your brick and mortar shop with a state of the art HTML5 web presence
 
Strive to create a superb online and personal shopping experience while rewarding your customers with loyalty perks and status.  Shoppers often use smartphones and tablets to get access to relevant information.  About.com has qualified three main distinct search types being made on the internet: “answer me (46% of all searches), inspire me (28% of all searches) and educate me (28% of all searches). Wouldn’t it be a great idea to make “answer me, inspire me and educate me” the three-dimensional crusade of your content marketing strategy?  Ask your customers, both online and in your shop, what answers they are looking for?  What inspires them? What educates them?  Gather your customer data directly into your database: the business headquarters of your people-centric customer information center.  This custom-made marketing know-how will help your business tailor make your content marketing output and assist you schedule personalized marketing messages via email or SMS.
 
8. Social, local, mobile (SoLoMo) and free Internet access
 
Would you rather have customers and prospects find out about competitive pricing inside or outside your shop premises?  If they search within your business, it might be easier for you and your staff to find out about competitors’ pricing and promotions.  It will also grant you the chance to intervene and give away “spur of the moment” discounts while bringing in more sales.  Providing customers and prospects with free internet access is a sure way to keep them inside your brick and mortar shop is not it?  No matter what, customers will find out what they want so you might as well give them the chance to do it while there are “browsing” around. It’s time for your business to harness wireless technology and give your visitors the shopping experience of their lives.  Why not consider an indoor positioning system (IPS) and lead your prospects to the right aisles? Why not consider near field communication (NFC) and QR codes to provide visitors with more product information?    
 
QR Codes Europe
 
9.  Free is a wonderful motivator
 
We all love free things don’t we?  The concept of free automatically appeals to our human nature.  Would it be possible to provide your business with a little coffee and snack corner? Could you add a few tables for prospects to linger around and visit?  This could be a wonderful opportunity to create a local’s corner while gathering precious ideas about business dos and don’ts.  Ask your customers what they expect from your business and reward the top ideas with prizes (first, second to five and 11th to 20th or more if you can). Give, share and get altruistically involved with your community.  How about giving away a free coffee for every new Twitter follower or Facebook likes?  Be creative, try new things, and encourage mistakes among co-workers and team members.  One last word of advice from Dan Erwin: “Shift your networking orientation from getting to giving and your long-term success is assured.”
 
10.  Refine your web and shop loyalty program
 
Loyalty programs should become digital and mobile. There are clients combining web and shop loyalty programs who can adapt their products to your specific needs and beyond.  It is fundamental for customers to get rewarded.  Customers both love rewards and status.  Status gives a sense of belonging, a feeling of being part of something bigger.  Among the 36.8 million followers Lady Gaga enjoys on Twitter, she concentrates on the top 1% she names her “little monsters” … “These fans evangelize for her and bring new fans in the fold”.  Lady Gaga understands her fans’ needs to emotionally wanting to connect with her and goes as far as interrupting her concert while calling one of them on the stage with her.  The more customers purchase, the more unique their reward and status development should be.  Think of airlines bronze, silver and gold levels as an example.  Rewards and status are the motivation that channels patrons into buying more of your products and services, but also to evangelize your business.   Be creative, different, and provocative, and reward your customers with an exhaustive loyalty program that shows genuine gratitude towards them. 
 
Now it’s your turn. Which advice would you give a combined brick and mortar digital shop for it to thrive in this contemporary business environment? Looking forward to your comments and suggestions.
 
 
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5 Additional Ways Social Business Can Unleash Outrageous and Innovative Power (3/4)

Some days ago, I started on what will end up being a four-part series on innovative power, one of the fruits of Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business.  You are more than welcome to check part one and part two if you have not yet had the chance to do so.

Most company leaders would agree that a happy customer is more likely to become a returning customer, but how can a company expect a happy customer to become a brand evangelist if the company has not first understood the real value of its own employee experience (EX)?

1. Create employee experience (EX) first and customer experience (CX) will follow.

Some time ago I called Zappos’ Customer Service in Nevada.  I asked the person on the phone if she was happy to work for Zappos.  An enthusiastic and enchanted voice answered:  “… Oh …. thank God I am working here…!”  Let’s stop for a second.  Would your employees say the same thing about your enterprise?  If they were to be asked the same question, would they answer with the same positive attitude and with such a gregarious outburst of enthusiasm?

2. Improve your company reputation and internal set of values 

Ask a few friends to run a quick “popularity check” on your business around town and find out what locals are saying about you.  Pick up some outgoing and outspoken testers.  Let them go to bars and places where the locals meet and find out directly from them what the real deal is.  Who knows, the outcome might surprise you, and such an experiment could be an eye-opening attempt, right?  Employee experience (EX) is serious food for profound business evaluation since customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) will never precede employee experience (EX).  CX and UX will only kick in if an enthusiastic crowd of co-workers and employees are passionately standing behind your company’s products or services.  Remember Martin Luther King?  He did not say: I have a “to do list”, but “I have a dream”, which was his personal call for rallying people’s emotions and passions thus creating a relentless support for his cause.  Do your employees know your company values and dreams?  Can your workforce regularly see the ratified vision of your enterprise?  Is your company vision straightforward and inspiring enough for everyone to see and understand?  Are you moving the passion and emotions of your workforce for your cause the same way Dr. Martin Luther King did?

3. Grant your employees the right to make decisions that are right for your customers

It is often a leitmotiv (repeated theme) here in Europe, to have a shop attendant tell you:  “I am sorry Sir/Madam, but I am not authorized to make such a call!”  Why?  Why on earth isn’t she authorized to make such a decision?  For crying out loud, is she not the one dealing with customers on a day-to-day basis?  Why does it so often fall to the hierarchical manager, sitting behind his desk all day long (and mostly cut off from day-to-day sales reality) to make that particular call?

4. Focus on your employees and their needs

Many businesses focus primarily on Customer Experience/Service and this is absolutely mandatory if companies expect to raise their service level, and positively influence customer satisfaction and customer retention.  However, find out first about the working conditions and environment of your own workforce such as sitting comfort, IT equipment satisfaction, dining facilities and amenities. If you do not know, genuinely ask them in a personal way.

The unsung heroes employees at Disneyland are the folks carrying the brooms!  “Sweepers are actually frontline customer representative with brooms in their hands”.  “Scholar John Boudreau and Peter Ramstad have shown that the sweepers who continually tidy up the park and often answer guest questions are vital to Disney.  The caliber of these workers and their ability to solve problems are crucial to the holistic ‘magic’ Disney aims to create for visitors.”  Is your management striving to transform every single employee into a self-declared brand ambassador and evangelist?  Tony Hsieh and the Zappos folks certainly do.  How about you?

5. Create and build a company culture that inspires and unleashes creative power

Study companies like Zappos and Starbucks.  This will give your management lots of valuable ideas on how to create a culture that is right for your business and workforce.  Pass on your vision to your employees, share with them proper business confidentiality.  Be transparent and give! To expect any kick backs would not be a genuine altruistic way of shaping your business gospel, would it?  Your workforce needs a business dream, the drive and passion to reach for the stars, while management humbly keeps ts feet on the reality grounds of modesty.  Leadership should inspire, motivate and consistently foster initiative, engagement and creativity.  In Jacob Morgan’s wonderful book: The Collaborative Organization, there is a quote from Carl Frappaolo (a leading practitioner of emergent collaborating strategy):  “Culture is the single greatest potential asset or detriment.  A culture conducive to collaboration will compensate to some degree for awkward processes and inadequate technology.  In contrast a culture not conducive to collaboration will ignore or in the worst case sabotage, even the most advanced technology and process approaches to open transparent sharing.”

What are the ways your company fosters creativity and innovation?  How do you define your business culture? Looking forward to your comments and suggestions.

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Five Additional Ways Social Business Can unleash Outrageous and Innovative Power (2/4)
– Five Ways Social Business Can Unleash Outrageous and Innovative Power (1/4)
– Three Fundamental Macro Trends Transforming Our Society, the Way We Live and How We Work
– The Evolution of Big Data: From Descriptive via Predictive to Prescriptive Business Intelligence (BI)
 

4 More Ways for Leaders to Promote Personnel Engagement in Social Business Enterprise 2.0

Employee attitude is an intrinsic and direct human reaction resulting from the work environment any management establishes in its enterprise.  Attitude (good or bad) and its attached emotions significantly shape the “work ethic” barometer any employee will display before, during or after work hours.  It is the hidden and powerful emotional drive, or lack thereof, which determines the level of “engagement” a co-worker will display.  Employee engagement will never be an action verb with an expected code of co-worker behavior automatically triggered by company compensation and perks.

Enterprises in possession of well defined mission, vision and values are in a much better position to transport their philosophy and credo to employees, suppliers, partners and customers alike. Company culture (mission + vision + values) is the fundamental prerequisite if a workforce is to positively engage with both customers and prospects.  A company workforce cannot and will not confidently connect with its customers if an enterprise has failed to establish first a clear code of ethics, business principles and policies.

1. Workforce should fulfill job requirements with limited hierarchical where and when

I remember a € 80 million (US$100 M) manufacturing company led by a Managing Director who micro-managed.  Every morning he would pick up the mail from the local post office himself, open up every single piece of correspondence and distribute it to the appropriate company employees. His reasons? “I want to know what is happening”, he once told me! We are living in the broadband communication era where consumers decide the way they wish to communicate with their brand. Thanks to hyper-connected mobile devices we are now en route to a people-centric, convenience marketing superhighway, where consumers exclusively select when, where and what sort of information they wish to obtain.  Cell phone subscriptions have overtaken landlines. People in the UK are now more likely to text than to make a phone call according to a recent research from Ofcom.  “In the past, cooperation was a kind of dream, an ideal. Today it is a requirement for survival” says Nicholas Roberts.

A European company, I was once associated with, gave its employees only 15 minutes of “flexi-time” for arriving at work in the morning, all the while knowing that some would actually be more productive after sleeping an extra hour or two than arriving on time and lingering around the coffee machine and shooting the breeze. Employees should be compensated for results rather than the numbers of hours they have worked. Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) could easily be promoted thanks to mobile technology Studies made by ROWE with renowned clients such as GAP and BEST BUY have shown  significant savings and increased productivity were registered. BEST BUY applied the following formula:  “Retention + Intrinsic Motivation + Productivity = Increased Capacity” which meant a saving of $2.2 million for their team over the course of two years, an average of 41% increase in productivity on ROWE teams.

2. Management should take control of work, and not of its employees

Looking for an alternative to work? Organize a meeting! Wasted time in meetings costs Business £26 billion (US$ 41.6 B) per annum reported Techradar some months ago. Marcus Austin went on to say: “The average employee wastes two hours and 39 minutes in meetings every week… this would equate to 13 million more productive hours per week and an increase in gross domestic product (GDP) of approximately 1.7 percent…” Wouldn’t it be better to let these employees decide for themselves if their participation in a meeting is mandatory or not? It is now the time for company leaders to start learning to trust their employees and respect their right to exercise sound judgment. Managers also need to delegate. This should be the first step toward transcending the average employee output into something more significant. Extrinsic motivation needs to make room for the intrinsic if companies earnestly want to crowd-source more of their own talent and increase employee engagement.  Around 50% of Google’s products and innovations were found during the 20% period of time where employees are encouraged to work on personal Google projects and not on their core responsibilities. It is evident that a hierarchical boss cannot control how everything is being done so would it not be better if management could find ways and tools for their teams to get the job done themselves?

3.  Employees look beyond payment to non-monetary factors such as advancement and recognition

What are the values of intangible company assets; the ones that cannot be quantified… the ones that are dormant in remote parts of a company because of disuse… the raw diamonds waiting to be polished in order to shine?  In her article “A Zappos Lesson in Customer Service Metrics”, Ashley Furness relates her conversation with Joseph Michelli the author of The Zappos Experience: 5 Principles to Inspire, Engage, and WOW:

“Take a look at your performance metrics. Is time-to-resolution an important indicator? What about call time? While popular, these KPIs are indicative of a very un-Zappos experience. They don’t ‘drive service into your culture,’ as the author of The Zappos Experience, Joseph Michelli, explained to me. Zappos invests in the call center not as cost, but the opportunity to market. Their whole strategy is to create loyalty through ‘wow’ moments and emotional connections.”

4. Leaders should be able to step back and promote others

Put your ego away because it could be one of your biggest obstacles towards team effectiveness! Pride destroys communication, builds silos, isolates and pushes people away! In an employee-centric led environment, it is imperative not to give pride, arrogance, ego and selfish immaturity any room for business. Get rid of it, and get rid of the workers/people who are rowing in the opposite direction, regardless of how high in the hierarchy they are positioned, or how skillful they are. Are you placing self-interest ahead of your enterprise’s interests? Are you concerned about piling up more for yourself while neglecting customers, employees and maybe even board members?  Place the interests of your immediate co-workers and middle management before your own; trust your workforce and give them space to grow. Treasure confrontation, hire employees first for their passion and then for their skills, regardless of the fact that you might not feel personally attracted to them.  Are they a cultural enrichment to your company, department or team?  Would your company consider an international hiree if your most valuable customer is international? Does your team fully understand how different the international community is? Do you give them the chance to learn and grow?

What are you doing to inspire your workforce?  What initiatives are you sponsoring in order to foster creativity and leadership? What are the difficulties you are confronted with?

Follow Bruno Gebarski on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrunoGebarski@brunogebarski or on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brunogebarski

Related posts to Social Business i.e. Enterprise 2.0:
3 Ways to Promote Your Employee Engagement and Increase Your Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Productivity
Why Are People, Processes and Platforms the Three Fundamental P’s of Any Social Business Enterprise 2.0 transformation?
Why Company Culture is The Foundation to Any Social Business Enterperise 2.0
Understanding the 4 Fundamentals of a Social Business Enterprise 2.0
Humility, a Core Ingredient For Moving From Hierachy to Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Leadership (Part 1)
Humility, a Core Ingredient For Moving From Hierachy to Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Leadership (Part 2)

25 Ways to Transform Your Business, Promote Innovation and Optimize Your Sales Results (Part 2)

Reminder: your USP (Unique Selling Passion / Proposition) and Web-strategy should have been identified and ratified.  This is the core of knowing what your business delivers! Furthermore your first piece of social media real estate should be your blog: if you do not have one yet start one right now!
 
1. Develop your Social Media accounts strategy in 5 main groups:
2. Position your Social Network Icons on the top of your blog with a one click procedure automatically opening in a different tab or window so that your visitor does not have to leave your site in order to connect and find out more about your business.
 
3. Identify your customers: possible health food store customer segmentation:
4. Make it easy for customers to sign up to your newsletter with a one click subscription via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+!  Consider Pinterest, Pinwheel and other social media trendsetters, and remember Social Media is not static: It moves and changes all the time!
 
5. Please eliminate the outdated and annoying “Captcha” sign up procedure: believe me I have given up many times for not being able to read the hidden letters properly and failing to register three or four times in a row and “see ya later alligator”!  
 
6. Consider instead signing up to free web services such as Disqus and Livefyre to encourage visitors to easily comment on your site or blog! You’d be surprised how many blogs and websites do not offer this free service! Additionally use the one click Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ sign up procedure for those who do not own a Disqus and Livefyre accounts: the goal is to make it super easy for visitors to engage with your business.
 
7. Offer signed up visitors and customers the facility to upload pictures, blog articles or vlogs: think of Amazon again and how it is possible to record a video comment on the site! Trust your crowd when they are registered: look up how Lastfm encourages its community to upload comments and pictures of unknown artists: do the same be opened and social: your business will reap the rewards.
 
8. Customize your monthly newsletter so that both prospects and subscribers receive the information they are specifically interested in other words “Convenience Marketing”. (Think again of how cleverly Amazon solves this issue with: “customers who bought this item also purchased….”).
 
9. Run a tombola for best content of the month: It will motivate followers and fans to participate! Divide it in sound, video, blog & picture: It will encourage viewers to visit more often your website while leaving their customer’s / prospect’s footprints helping you in return to keep up with trends, interests and blog content marketing priorities.
 
10. Adjust the content of your website blog according to your subscribers’ interests (please review previous point).
 
11. Offer Subscribers and VIPs the privilege to guest blog on your site / blog: you will then have less to write and create! (Remember blogging might be difficult disciplinary exercise for you as it is for most of us: trust me on that one).
 
12. Insert your company’s main twitter account on the web front page with a Twitter live feed on website, blog and Facebook Fan-page (it should be possible to insert your Twitter feed into your Facebook Fan-page).
 
13. Accept most credit and debit cards, PayPal & Square as well as main currencies making it very comfortable for potential customers to buy from your business.
 
14. Develop a one click payment system procedure: (sorry again but think of Amazon!) for both physical and web. Make it convenient and fast for both registered customers and visitors to do business with you! Spell out payment / shipping / returning terms so there is no misunderstanding: be generous: trust FIRST and then you shall be trusted.  
 
15. Start planning your mobile payment strategy now because it is a very present issue with companies such as Square or PayPal right around the corner and do not underestimate BYOD’s commercialization.
 
16. Apply (if you can) a free shipping and return policy strategy right from the beginning: Think of the Culture & Service giant Zappos (now part of Amazon) with their 365 days return policy.
 
17. Make it possible for customers to order online and pickup their order in your physical shop: reward them for doing it the first time and surprise them with freemium especially if they are coming for the first time to your shop.
 
18. Organize book ordering for your customer and in shop pick up and pay as a convenience they will love dropping their book order at your shop and will come back to pick them up and pay for them: one more visit for your business!
 
19. Accept orders per Fax, Email and plan accepting them in the future via Twitter, and Facebook for registered accounts.
 
20. Use QR codes for informing customers about promotions and more updated product information.
 
21. Send QR codes to your Twitter followers or Facebook fans via Twitter or Facebook for special promotion while geo-positioning them via Twitter and / or Foursquare
 
22. Organize a Tweetup with your community and engage with them by organizing a special event around your business. Do not forget to create a hash-tag about your event and to remind your participants to tweet while attending. 
 
23. Always send promotion and call to action with your monthly company newsletter and make it personal
 
24. Develop a customer loyalty program with a Business Membership Card including four levels: Silver, Gold, Platinum and VIP Statuses: Organize perks accordingly with best privileges for the highest membership level! This will increase customer loyalty
 
25. Print social media icons on all collaterals and make them visible on both physical and virtual shop (Part 3 coming up this week)

Branding a Crucial Marketing Tool for Success!

I spent the last six months of this year assisting an English company developing a branding campaign starting from very little, but with a good trademark logo. What helps a company establish a new name on a market often saturated with products, goods or services?  How do we make a difference in order to secure vital sales after we launch a new product or service on the market?  Is gathering business cards at international venues and making a few phone calls afterwards sufficient to establish new sales locally and/or internationally?  Here are a few points I introduced and worked on while assisting the development of a trilingual website, as well as marketing brochures in German, French and English:
• Develop a unique selling proposition (USP) which will help differentiate you from the competition, e.g. Dominos Pizza’s famous “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less – or it’s free” USP is worth billion US$ to the company selling around 400 million pizza every single day worldwide! (http://bit.ly/ucZvYw )
• Where possible create your own product segment with unique features and services in order to eliminate unnecessary competition.
• Polish your reputation while working on the uniqueness of your brand.
• Be different, unique and differentiate yourself from the crowd.
• Develop a social media plan using both website and communication platforms to blog and vlog (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Stumble Upon and Word Press).
• Suggest an RRP structure to your entire distribution network! You’d be surprised how many new companies don’t!
• Show a serving attitude and develop an “after-sales, service-oriented philosophy” with state-of-the-art maintenance, workshop, repairs, spare parts availability update and renewals.
• Make selling to the end-customer one of your main concerns within your distribution network.
• Listen to what your customers say about your product or service, and take criticism very seriously; this will help you develop your brand and communicate solutions to problems you might not be aware of!
• Use your logo and social media links on all collateral and correspondence items (business cards, flyers, direct mailing, etc.)
• Deliver more than your product or service promises, and make your customers’ problems on all levels your own problems!  This will carry your brand a long way!
• Remember the Godly admonition: “Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38: KJV).

Stay in contact with me at: http://de.linkedin.com/in/brunogebarski or follow me on Twitter