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A Non-Competitive Look at Competing on Customer Experience

If you’re familiar with Simon Sinek‘s Start with Why, then you’re familiar with his Golden Circle.

Your Why is at the core.
It’s wrapped in your How.
And the circle’s outermost ring is your What.

The pitch: Most companies pitch themselves outside in (What you do, How you do it, Why you do it). But working inside out (Why, How, What) is far more inspiring and effective.

Because the model is so simple, yet powerful, Sinek’s 2009 presentation at TEDx Puget Sound is one of the most viewed TED videos ever (see it).

 

Here are two non-competitive, side-by-side looks at (and listens to) the same song producing a dramatically different customer experience. And what that means for your business.

The What: the same notes played and the same lyrics sung in the same order.
The Why and How: wonderfully distinct musical outcomes.

 

Continue reading

Sustainability: 10 Great Books on People, Nature, & Business

“What does it mean that the earth is so beautiful? And what shall I do about it? What is the gift that I should bring to the world? What is the life that I should live?”

This line from poet Mary Oliver‘s Long Life was read by Krista Tippet on a recent episode of On Being.

I’ve not yet enjoyed a truly epiphanal moment with regard to beauty, gift, or purpose, but I’ve seen varied and fleeting glimpses in sustainability. At that intersection of people, nature, and business.

Ray Anderson, on the other hand, has.
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Corporate Social Responsibility Is Neither Charity Nor Philanthropy

I enjoy following Reason & its Editor in Chief, Nick Gillespie. I often agree with and appreciate their takes and observations.

Reason’s Slogan: “Free Minds & Free Markets”

And while it hammers the obvious point that an unprofitable business can serve no one in the long run, a recent Gillespie piece published by Time misses a critical aspect of CSR (corporate social responsibility).

Editorial’s Title: “Dear Apple and Chipotle: It’s Hard To Be Socially Responsible When You’re Dead” (story here)
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7 Marketing Tips from Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares

 

By way of Netflix streaming, we just completed Season 1 (2007) of the original Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares from Channel 4. Throughout, the chef traveled to restaurants throughout the UK that were failing for various reasons, attempted to identify and correct the failures in one week, then returned a month later to see how the proprietor fared.

 

The concept continued on BBC America and later on the FOX network. The formula is transparent and the editing dramatized. Still, it’s both entertaining and informative.

 

Beyond obvious takeaways like “the restaurant business is challenging,” “the UK is quite lush and beautiful,” and “they allow incredibly coarse language to be broadcast over there,” several marketing tips, ideas, and reminders are present. I’ve run down 7 of them.

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Invest in People: You Can’t Downsize Your Way to Success

The Setup

The easiest thing for companies to do in hard times is to eliminate jobs.  You read about this constantly as a reaction to lowered earnings, reduced margins, and dimmed prospects overall.  I saw this cycle frequently toward the end of my local television career: positions held open for a couple extra months, hiring freeze across all positions, buyouts of tenured people, then elimination of positions.

The cuts seem necessary and beneficial at the time, but it’s a long, slow death.  The expense cuts tend to mask deeper problems with value proposition, business model, or strategy.  People will ultimately be necessary to bring life back to the operation, to create and deliver its value.

Downsizing (or, the sadly hilarious “rightsizing”) seems to be a quick fix that immediately cuts expenses.  The problem: the benefits provided are short-term only. Continue reading

“Live It Up” Follow-Up: Colorado Springs as “The Natural Fit”

When the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau removed the new logos and video from VisitCOS.com and disabled public viewing on YouTube, it broke (slightly) my previous post about the Live It Up campaign.

Wishing I’d used KeepVid a week ago, I searched for it elsewhere online.

I didn’t find the Live It Up video, but I did learn that Colorado Springs is “the natural fit” for my family vacation, sporting event, or business conference!

Give a look to this video posted to YouTube in January 2011 by VisitCOS (the same folks who brought you (then took away) Live It Up):

 

 

Well, OK!  Nature moves to the fore and extends into lifestyle.

Let’s give a quick evaluation, primarily in terms relative to the Live It Up video you can no longer see.

A few positives:

  • shows off the natural beauty better than Live It Up
  • includes aerial shots and jib shots that immediately provide more production value than Live It Up
  • includes active shots that make the place feel far more alive than Live It Up
  • hits several major local institutions and phenomena missed by Live It Up (Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, Red Rock Open Space, Paint Mines Interpretive Park, USOC, AFA, Broadmoor, Hill Climb, Balloon Classic, Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, etc.)
  • gives Colorado Springs a one-of-a-kind feeling by definition
  • touches on regional history and connects it to present

A few negatives:

  • the music and voice are a bit too slow (don’t convey enough energy)
  • tries to do too much, selling to families, sporting events, business conventions (should be three separate 1:20 videos)
  • frequent discrepancies between the words being said and the video being shown (need to SWAP – sync words and pictures)
  • awkwardly abrupt ending (especially in comparison to the long :30 fade out on Live It Up)

 

The Bottom Line

As a slogan, The Natural Fit isn’t any more the answer than Live It Up; either would work fine and neither would work distinctively.

As a video, The Natural Fit feels more alive, rugged, vibrant, and exceptional than Live It Up.  It does a much better job of showing that living means doing – rather than simply saying it repeatedly and in different ways.

Live It Up would certainly have benefited from extensive re-use of shots seen in The Natural Fit.  Related: The Natural Fit could benefit from the skate park shots from Live It Up.

Both videos would convey more life and energy through quicker, more contemporary music, snappier sound from the voiceover artist and other speakers, and a higher cadence overall.

 

The Bonus Links: 

See more vintage Colorado Springs video rounded up by KRCC (Radio Colorado College).

Read the solid, relatively transparent view into the Live It Up branding process by the CVB.

Check out my initial post about the Live It Up campaign here at ethanbeute.com.

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