Reinvention 4 Retention

Living in a world that is ever-changing, the question begs the importance of reinvention.

Reinvention can be products, services or people and in their respective field or market.

With the sociological shifts we are seeing around us, it is important for us to be conscious of the fact that things are on the move all the time. Jobs are becoming more contractual than ever before and consumers thirst new things impatiently. They have access to more, faster. Thank you Technology!

Consumers want to see new products and ideas. Employers want fresh blood to spice up the workplace.

Musicians start as a child hood protege(not all), go to a teenage pop star, into their 20’s, then through to their twilight. If they are ‘lucky’! One hell of a roller coaster gets ridden along the way! To sustain this longevity is no meant feet and very few do it.

For them to be able to remain successful and sort after, constant reinvention is the only way forward. This is a way to look at it for us too, looking to pursue our dreams and maintain a lifestyle we want.

Daniel Johns  A 1990 rock legend that began with his high school band Silver Chair has reinvented himself whilst remaining true to himself as an artist.

Genres Alternative rock, electronica, art rock, post-grunge

A super talent to come out of the Australian music industry with a long list of ARIA’s and awards along the way. Certainly not the type of artist that plays musics for awards, nevertheless credit to his accomplishments.

He has continually found new ways, drawing on new inspiration and converting this to his art. From Silver Chair to The Dissociatives, continuing to is own solo career and putting this ripper out, Aerial Love!



Being this person has enabled him to sustain a career spanning decades. It could have gone either way, facing genuine controversy along the way. Wouldn’t be a rock star if you didn’t, I suppose.

Covering Nirvana’s ‘Smell’s Like Teen Spirit’ shows his versatility and the continual role of reinventing. Whether by default or not it happens.

Daniel Johns covers ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ at triple j’s Beat The Drum

What can we learn from this and adapt?

  • Acknowledge that we are in swift moving environment.
  • Enjoy what we do. If it is a true passion then this will go a long way especially when facing adversity. 
  • Move with the times, move with your customers or adopt new ones. More on that here re growing with your customers. And more below on this.
  • Learn new ways of doing things.
  • Add skills to reinvent your service or product and continue to press forward.

 This example can be adapted in the work place as an employee to maintain our desirability for Staff Retention. As a business owner or operator for Customer Retention.

The statistics below bought out by Market Metrics is interesting. It highlights further the importance to grow with our existing customer base. I came across this in Ryan Holiday’s, Growth Hacker Marketing.

According to Bain & Company, a 5 percent increase in customer retention can mean a 30 percent increase in profitability for the company. And according to Market Metrics, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent, while to a new prospect it’s just 5 to 20 percent. 24 Bronson Taylor, host of Growth Hacker TV, puts it in a phrase: “Retention trumps acquisition.” 25

Holiday, Ryan (2013-09-05). Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing and Advertising .

“Retention trumps acquisition.”

Being an avid music lover, I see it that musicians are forced or again, by default to do this a lot. We can take many lessons from many artists for our self. Rock on! 🙂

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Character V’s Skill

“Is character more important than skill?”

It’s much easier to enhance a person’s skill sets rather than changing their character. We don’t choose a ‘lover’ whom we want to change. Why join forces in business or in the work place with someone who doesn’t show the qualities we are looking for?

Clearly it is advantageous if we get them both in one hit!

Surround yourself by those who display characteristics of a good human being, and what they bring to the table in this regard. Skills and processes are a matter of formality the above can not necessarily be learned or bought over night.

We can spill the beans later, that we are sending them off to school to teach them how to spell. Who needs to spell correctly these days anyways, spell check? Der!

Why are Candles Expensive?

Following my partner like a shadow when we go shopping, and also sitting at home I note the ‘designer’ candles getting around. The prices are fascinating. A tea lit candle cost a number of cents, a fancy table candle can cost anywhere between a dollar to hundreds of dollars!

How did the romantic, scented, colorful yet simple wax reddened artifact become so expensive? It seems that like all trends they come in cycles as discussed before in Will Bricks and Mortar Retail Return? It started as a functionally for illumination, to a gift, to an art. Then losing its attractiveness it has been reinvented and back in ‘lights’ again.

The history of the candle dates back to somewhere in 500BC:

Romans began making true dipped candles from tallow beginning around 500 BC.[3] While oil lamps were the most widely-used source of illumination in Roman Italy, candles were common and regularly given as gifts during Saturnalia.[4]

Candle making was developed independently in many places throughout history.[1]

A close-up image of a candle showing the wick and the various parts of the flame

Candles were made by the Romans beginning about 500 BC. These were true dipped candles and made from tallow. Candles were made from whale fat by the Chinese, during the qin Dynasty (221–206 BC).[2] In India, wax from boiling cinnamon was used for temple candles.[2] In parts of Europe, the Middle-East and Africa, where lamp oil made from olives was readily available, candle making remained unknown until the early middle-ages. Candles were primarily made from tallow and beeswax until about 1850, but subsequently have been made from spermaceti, purified animal fats (stearin) and paraffin wax.[1]

It has become not only a practical use of light, scent and scenery setter but as a collectable and a ‘brand’.

People ask these days, ‘What brand candle is that!?’ I doubt if we wound back the clock that most product futurists would of anticipated this.

That being said I’ve become a candle snob. Right hooked!

Candles - Feature Piece

We can essentially get some wax, add a teaspoon of scent, a teaspoon of food color, whack it in a glass jar, tie a ribbon around it and seek $59.99! 

Not being naive to the fact we have access to better wax and so forth. The interesting thing is the brand evolution of a product of this type.

Looking at the ‘why’ is where we learn. 

Why is it that we go to the $2 shop and buy a scented colorful beauty for just that, $2? We venture down the road or online to our ‘specialty’ home ware store and pay top dollar for one in a glass jar and fancy box?

Pushing quality aside for a sec..

We as consumers ‘fall in love’ with nice things and if those nice things have a perceived value then ‘presto’. 

Perception is reality. 

When marketing, especially in a competitive market, it’s important to put our best perception forward.


I did a quick search out of interest. Here are the top three selling candles on Amazon starting at approximately $12!  

  1. BellaCandles | Redcurrant
  2. Scented Candles (Lavender) Soy Wax Aromatherapy Candle
  3. Root Candles Scented Seeking Balance Candle

Quora Q&A: What’s the most successful branding campaign or program in history?

This is an Answer to a Quora question I was prompted on. As mentioned it is debatable whether it is the most successful campaign however this is what came to mind.

Q. What’s the most successful branding campaign or program in history?

 
 
 

Why is it Important to Create Options for Ourselves? 

A profound thing resonated with me recently. The importance of ‘options’. Always been an advocate of this, however talking to some colleagues through the week has compounded this thought.

We are not talking about ‘option trading’ here or having multiple girlfriends or boyfriends!

We are looking at us. That is the most important thing, right!

We would all love for time to stand still. That would be fun! Imagine that, at amazing moments we have we can pause that moment!? Good times! Unfortunately that is not the case. Time doesn’t stand still, at the moment. 

The days are few and far between where we enter a job move from side to side up and down, shuffle papers and remain there for twenty thirty plus years.

A post written a few weeks back, touches on this point from a slightly different perspective Business – Poker: Analogies , discussing about diversifying risk.

The same goes here in creating options for ourselves to spread risk. Not being completely reliant on one source of revenue or one skill set. A lot of people already do this and have done for some time, however there are plenty that don’t.

Companies close, management changes, countries change government, skills needed change, careers with sport, corporate or whatever, economies can swing like cats. We need to combat this by creating options.

I’ve listened to three stories in the last week where employees that have been employed for not one or two years, more like in excess of 5, 7, 10 years, have been asked to take a pay cut. At the same time expected to give the same service if not more than they are already doing! These companies somewhat corner these employees.

This isn’t coming from small companies either, this is coming from some of the biggest going around.

Learning, exploring and diversifying our own knowledge and in this case our work related income gives us back some control of our destiny. If one thing falls through or has a sudden change we have other areas we are able to continue with.

Read, write, learn, study(if need be), talk to people smarter than ourselves.

As this post was scheduled, I came across a Gary Vaynerchuk post on Medium. Gary runs a 500 person Media company Vayner Media. I was going to insert the whole post however you can click the link and read. Here’s an excerpt. Could not agree more!! 

“Specialist or Jack-of-All-Trades? The Answer’s Obvious to Me” by Gary Vaynerchuk

Many people would argue that if you try to know a little bit of everything, you’ll never get to the point of mastering anything. My argument? Bullshit. I don’t buy it. I don’t believe in trying to strengthen weaknesses, but I do believe in working hard to be good at many things. In life you will be required to take on many different tasks. You might be really good at something now, but don’t let that stop you from finding out what else you can dominate. Because I know it’s not just one thing. You’re better than that.

This has a two fold effect on us as individuals.

  1. We are more equip and have more to offer organisations and ourselves. We become more pliable = employable.
  2. As Gary mentions ‘You are better than that’. By default helps with self worth and the sole = confidence.

It takes away expectation and reliance and will relieve some stress at the same time. 

Realising it is not as easier said than done. It is about having the mindset to begin, that is the first step.

Seth has been a modern day evangelist for building tribes. In a sense this can be drawn on from our history and the caveman days. Building tribes is also similar for mentors, coaches, CEO’s and so on. 

Tribes have multiple layers of value. One of them being able to draw on experiences and opinions from varied sources, doesn’t matter who we are. Learning is the key. Who has Authority? can be linked to this.

Take action. Reach out. Create options. Work hard at it.

Who has AUTHORITY?

Who has the authority to give advice, make the ‘right’ decisions or tell us what to do? Influences to us, typically will come from our mentors, our parents, friends, colleagues, people whom we generally surround yourself with. ‘You are the average of the 5 closest people you surround yourself with’, therefore possibly these people will influence us as well. (The ‘average’ certainly does not need to be materialistic value. Good people offer greatness in many ways and don’t need to be nudging the Fortune 500 to increase your average!)

We can look at this from a personal point of view and from an organizational one.

Organization hierarchy can be a barrier. We have to accept that control is out of our hands and roll with the punches, sometimes. This can be difficult, especially if advice comes from a profound source or the individuals opinion is more valid. In this instance we make our point diplomatically, then leave it with the ‘gods’ to take care of the rest. 

Is it the CEO with an unblemished track record? An entrepreneur with a host of successful start-ups under their belts? A child genius? Your local plumber? A politician, Your mother, your father, your brother, your sister? You get the picture, it can come from varied sources, but is it the most obvious source? And who has the authority to wave the wand? 

From Drucker:

“Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.”
Peter F. Drucker

Being unbiased where we seek advice from is valuable, for yourself and the solution. There are specialists in fields where authority or a decision maker is clear. However the best advice can often come from the least expect places.

Ever heard the quote ‘Never judge a book by its cover’? Treating everybody as equals, seeing the value that each individual has to offer, allows us to grow. Some of the best advice or solutions can come from the least expected place, not necessarily the seen to be ‘authoritarian’.

A recent post I wrote in regards to an aphorism of Marcus Aurelius the revered Roman emperor also writes in book 6 of his Meditations.

21. If anyone can refute me-show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective I’ll gladly change. It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance. 

This highlights the subject of ignorance. When being a leader not to be ignorant when seeking advice. Must flow to all. If a man of this stature stands by this, to follow suit we must move forward fearlessly, not ignorantly.

Mr Altuchur, James makes a point in his The Choose Yourself Guide To Wealth in regards to leadership and authority. This takes a deeper look than this post encompasses, however is relevant.

Being a leader happens right now, today. It’s something you can do without money. Without authority, and without anybody. But first you have to lead yourself. It’s a mindset.

James goes onto make a list of these traits and doings, in the book. This comes from his own experiences. Being at the helm of 20 or so companies(most of them failures), after investing in thirty companies (most of them successes) and after advising on over a dozen boards (most of them being success). He adds in their being married twice being a 50% success rate. Not bad for some!

Leading yourself is the first step to becoming a good one.

Recently, I was being confided in. It related to a University examination result. The person in question has a proven track record, unblemished with top marks all the way through. Out of the blue a mark comes in that does not match. Whilst not being happy and bewildered, true to her class, she was willing to cop it on the chin, ‘learn’ and move on. The consistency here was a clear anomaly as a number of other students received similar feedback.

Couldn’t of been in the teaching or marking method, could it?

The topic of Academia is a tumultuous one. I have been on both sides or all three sides of the fence. An Entrepreneur, University and have worked in both SME and Large Enterprises for an employer.

It is a debatable topic whether we need the University rubber stamp next to our name or not. It is questionable how a learning institution that is a profit-making venture has the ‘ability’ to manipulate(so dislike that word) results, if it so chooses to. I like to think there is integrity in place, however this even being a possibility gets one thinking.

School is about learning? Learn from our assignments, projects, exam whatever it maybe. It is about doing the right thing by the customer(the student) and enhancing the learning process for students to receive the best outcome. 

We have a lecturer giving the lecture and a PhD student examining the work. Really? This is an exact situation and the reason to seek other advice with in an institution. Who has the authority here?

In finishing, it is fair to say that many people have authority. Here is a question and my comment posted on Quora this week. It is a parent who is the authoritarian of their child, asking for advice:

“Congratulations on raising a naturally(not saying this lightly) motivated clever child! I’ve done both, an entrepreneur well before I attended University. I began to see a disparity in University at the time I was attending and formed my own opinion of the curriculum and its usefulness. The distance between what a lot of universities are teaching today and what learning resources the world has to offer now is growing apart by the minute. It is a tough choice as a parent, and even for me looking to take on more study myself. It seems to me that this fella has every chance of getting there what ever road he takes. The obvious thing here is, even if his hand is ‘forced’ he will always be entrepreneurial, that will be hard to change, and why alter the course of ‘nature’? I know this from experience as do many others. I am not a parent(yet) and do not profess to be one, if I can say this, if you support him in this path and the commitment he is showing, who knows what can happen. Happiness is important, especially to get the most out of this motivation. Many great resources and mentors are out there today to draw from.”
A parent looking for opinions other than his own.

Yes we have Bosses, CEO’s, VP’s, Lecturers, Teacher’s, Parents, Friends, the Government and so on, and will be restricted on our choices at times. This maybe due to bureaucracy, red tape or to an extent, how we have been trained to follow suit. 

When we have the option to choose our authoritarian, let’s be open-minded, look beyond the obvious. As all good leaders, teachers, parents etc do, they look beyond their immediate resources, not be ignorant, at the same time will be open-minded when dishing out and receiving authority themselves. 🙂

 

Why Email Reigns Supreme! (for the time being)

We as a society have gone from homing pigeons, tin cans joined with string, message by horse through to landlines(order debatable).. into technology. Email has put their guard up and holds its ground thus far in value and usability.

Why does email remain king in the communication stratosphere?

We have many communication and collaborative tools available to us in this space, however the lucrative email address holds its place firm. This post takes a look at it from two perspectives. One from a database perspective e.g. start up, established organisations collecting customer information and the other is from an operational point of view, the use of email.

EMAIL DATABASES – The value of them:

From a database building and collecting perspective, over time it appears that we have become more protective in maintaining our personal email address avoiding spam, junk mail, false advertising etc. We tend to guard it with our lives. There are many other, lets say, ‘informal’ ways of maintaining contact with our friends, interests, acquaintances and colleagues. Skype, FB, Instagram, if you have a blog you can subscribe, RSS feeds and so on. There are ample instant messaging chat options, the clear one being text messaging that has consumed a lot of this and is the preferred go to platform. The pure ease and accessibility has steered us in this direction.

Therefore the need to use our email address is dwindling in one sense. This proving that the personal email address has become a ‘protected species’ or has an ‘exclusiveness’ and to obtain it in our databases is making them all that much more lucrative, main reason being:

The chance our email will be read and engaged from our potential customer is much higher.

 This creates a genuine market for software applications such as Sumo and the likes to come up with technology tried and tested to capture us in filling in our email address when prompted. I like with many others sign up to many interests and look forward to reading them whether that be weekly or whenever. At the same time being weary looking to eradicate any spam.

EMAIL WITHIN ORGANIZATIONS:

Jumping the fence slightly and talking about the practical use of email today. An article I read while drafting this post puts it far better light than I would have at the moment.

Jacob Morgan a contributor to @Forbes has drummed up a 340 strategy report called the The Collaborative Organization, highlighting the benefits through case studies of organisations embracing these many communication and collaborative tools. Statistics show that email is still ‘King’ within organisations, this somewhat inhibiting productiveness at work level and also capping an employees skill sets. Urban shifts like this can take time to implement within organisations to gain traction and at times be overlooked. Jacob goes on to say in his article:

Companies around the world spends hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars on collaboration platforms to get employees to move away from email and into more efficient and ways of communicating and collaboration. The ultimate challenge for these companies always revolves around getting employees to use the tools. Technology is just that, a tool, but without usage it’s meaningless.

However, there is one very simple and tangible reason for why employees should take the time to use these technologies and has nothing to do with productivity or making their lives at work better. It’s actually just good for their careers! In the latest episode of the Futurein5 I explore this in more detail and help build the case for why every single employee at your company should be using collaboration tools to get their jobs done. It’s in their best interest!

It is important for us to move forward, embrace the best of the bunch and what is most suitable. Being productive in an organisation is a priority for most. And for the now it would be most beneficial for the all important employees. The wheels don’t go round without them! 

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Feel the BASS: Build your Database

One of the best decisions my partners and I did when starting our first retail business together, was put a pad and pen on the desk and collected details the minute we opened our first bricks and mortar doors. The database building phase began.

Building to an excess of 10,000 direct customers was a lucrative idea and gave the business the ability to market our in-house magazine to an exact target market at the time. Without doing a proper customer development phase they were customers that were coming into our shop to predominantly purchase goods or at very least, were interested in staying in touch with what our brand and the business was doing.

  From the early stages of the business we developed an in house magazine which was an anchor for a lot of our customers and something that they looked forward to each issue. The magazine embraced our customers by way of featured articles, new product releases, interviews and also, so they could see themselves and or their friends featured. It generated fantastic talking points that were continued throughout the year. By building this database it enabled us to reduce the cost of the magazine production significantly, as we were able to seek contribution by way of selling advertising space. Our distributors saw this as a relatively cheap advertising option to enhance their brand awareness. This essentially created a three-fold effect by doing this:

1. The advantage to directly engage our target market.

2. The ability to create a platform for our distributors to market their product.

3. Revenue generation bringing the cost of the magazine production down by way of selling advertising space.

The tools, knowledge and technology we have available to us today is limitless(seriously love that movie!). We have access to a number of great options and build databases weeks, months if not years in advance now; well before we our new product or service hits the market. This assists us dramatically in our customer development phase and will contribute significantly to a successful launch. 

Other than the obvious social media platforms, FB, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and the likes, there are landing page concepts such as launchrock.com that enables us to make landing pages with all the built-in tools to begin and gather email address appropriately. Collecting addresses of interested parties and potential customers is the way forward.

A ‘cute’ landing page with an emotional resonate loop can put our start-up or new product well on the front foot when it comes to the launch party, the value in this reaches a lot of levels. Build our customer database before the idea is an idea, before the business is even thought of! Hang on, that’s some conceived terminology!

 Learn about our customers well before we go to market. Understand them. Pivot accordingly and countdown to the launch 10, 9, 8…. 2, 1 blast off!!

Entrepreneurship in the Corporate World

‘Do Entrepreneurs have a genuine place in the corporate world?’

Off the back of one of many conversations I’ve had with good friends and colleagues, the topic of conversation this time came up about ‘entrepreneurs in the corporate environment’. The topic has received much more attention in recent time and my conversations with various parties have continued accordingly.

We more or less discussed the positive aspects and left out the negatives. Bringing entrepreneurs into the corporate world has every chance to improve an organisation was the crux of this chat. The social change has been flirted with before however never really taken too seriously. Many corporate and big companies look at a potential employee with an entrepreneurial streak or back ground as a ‘risk’. Any new employee is a risk, aren’t they?

Some of the things that have been discussed my end are: 

Why not bring in the spirit and the knowledge of an entrepreneur to enhance and look at things from a different angle for your organization. This value  does not currently exist in most organizations. An innovation that well could be exactly what the public and large private sector are looking for.

Embrace them, school them on your organisations processes and let them run free(to a certain degree). Allow them show you what they’ve got to offer.

Entrepreneurs are typically good at making decisions quickly and effectively and thinking on their feet.

It is acknowledged that an entrepreneur has not been marred with red tape restrictions and have the natural ability to respond with ease to consumer feedback in real-time.

These are just a few points. Our local government has been discussing this and I believe at a state level this conversation has been taking place also. Large corporate you would think are more conducive to adopting this mindset versus our government departments. Opposites do attract as they say and I view this as an exciting time and has every aspect of being truly complimentary, offering genuine value in these areas whilst exploring new ground. Keeping the environment fresh with new ideas.

Breakfast Specials: What are they? Beachside photos as a bonus.

A weekend ritual of ours is going for breakfast. We live in a beautiful part of the world in a busy beach side suburb in Adelaide, Australia. The photo below with no filter shows a super warm sunset on the eve of a summer’s day. This is one part of our walking stretch that seriously never gets tired!

The next photo which I was all chuffed about capturing and have been making the most over my bragging rights is one of those random, lucky snaps. I clicked my iPhone 5 at the dead set perfect time while sitting on the bench on the boardwalk after a swim. Again it was a warm evening although this time with a thunderstorm hovering out to sea shooting lightning down at its own free will. Take a close look at the crazy beam surrounding the lightening  streaming down to the water! No filter on this one either.

That is a brief look at the area where we live to help form this post. The post revolves around what some would see as a minor marketing error. Recognising that in these parts breakfast is a huge part of the hospitality trade and competition rife I saw it a bit more than that. A number of establishments rely on this as a key component of their revenue steam. Without a successful breakfast trade pre-lunch, a lot of businesses will be staring down the barrel for the rest of the day if they don’t get off to a good start. The strip is buzzing at this time on a weekend and is filled with many cafes, restaurants and other options to eat have a coffee or a other general snacks. Some great, some not so great. The key point being that competition is great, therefore any advantage or edge especially in our current economic climate needs to be grabbed with both hands and dragged towards us at a rate of knots! 

On this particular morning the strip was buzzing with people at the prime time breakfast time for a weekend which was approximately 9am. Hungry bellies pacing the side-walk looking for something to fill them up.

Admittedly we know the area quite well and most of the good places to eat, however this venue had not caught our eye before. Always having my ears and eyes open and wondered why, at a closer look, you’ll see why. Not entirely sure whether they were open for business or not, we wander to the doorway and ask the question, they obligingly confirm. 

We grab a menu and then the subject below caught our attention, see the A-Frame. Other than the title breakfast specials we were unable to see what was going on this morning at the cafe.

img_2390

Paying the extraordinary rent per square meter in these parts, I feel it would be much wiser to use the A-Frame to the best of their abilities. Make the draw card the predominant part of the A-Frame. Consumers want a clear concise message more so in the mornings telling them what their options are from a distance. We need to make decisions as easy as possible for our customers.

The things that stood out to me here were:

  • Firstly, what are the breakfast specials? The picture may look big however these are A4 pieces of paper stuck to a board underneath the text. Without our glasses on we could not read them at all and still it would of been a struggle.
  • Secondly the price of the breakfast was super competitive. It appealed to us. This surely needs to be highlighted in big bold at the top. 

Suggestions:

  • Show the price of the special in big bold writing at the top of the board. Grab our attention from afar. It could read something like: 2 EGGS ON BRUSCHETTA $10!
  • Clearly get rid of the A4 pieces of paper they serve no purpose all. 
  • I would only have the price point breakfast on the board, not the other one. Have our customers be drawn to us and then an up-sell can take place from here. The price point and the appropriate wording would be enough to get our friends through the door.

We decided to eat here and in my opinion on all accounts, it was good and great value for money. They need to advertise this! This place should have had more than just Elle and I and  another couple sitting at the restaurant, whilst their neighbors were full. We’ve since been back and enjoyed another breakfast, I’ll check next time to see if the A-Frame is still in the same shape!