Create Advocates for Your Brand
Often the most important people selling your product are not your sales and marketing teams, but your customers. Here’s how to turn them into company advocates:
Let them interact. Connect your customers to their peers — other people like themselves who deal with similar issues. Bring them together through live events, in teleconferences, forums, and other networks so that they can exchange ideas and learn from each other.
Market their triumphs. Prospects care about what they can accomplish with your products. Tout your customers’ achievements in any white papers or case studies you publish as much, if not more, than your own.
Have them do the talking. When you need someone to speak about your products or services in public forums or with the media, ask your PR person to take a back seat and give your customers the opportunity to speak on your behalf.
• 9 September 2013
A Discount May Devalue Product
Consumers who were offered free bread sticks as a promotion from a pizzeria said they’d be willing to pay $5.06, on average, for them once the promotion ended, only slightly less than the amount consumers were willing to pay when there had been no promotion, say Mauricio M. Palmeira of Monash University in Australia and Joydeep Srivastava of the University of Maryland. By contrast, people who were offered the bread sticks at a discounted price of 50 cents were willing to pay just $2.76 once the promotion was over. The findings suggest that a discount promotion may devalue a product in consumers’ minds, whereas a free promotion offer may not devalue a product at all.
• 9 September 2013
Manage a Challenging (and Valuable) Employee
Genius often comes with downsides. If you have a valuable (but disruptive) employee on your team, try these management tactics:
- Understand the risks. Your job is to balance cohesion and creativity on your team. If the employee is negatively affecting the culture, weigh the costs of keeping him around.
- Don’t stifle people. The employee’s limitations may be the same source of her talents. Take a “control freak” who wants to own a project completely. If you view this as her work style instead of a difficulty, and perhaps give her a separate project to run with, you can leverage this talent instead of squashing it.
- Keep things moving. Give creative individuals enough independence to innovate, but then move the project forward with individuals who can act.
• 20 November 2012
How to Cultivate Ethical Employees
Entire companies have been taken down by the reckless behavior of one person. Even if they don’t set out to cheat, steal, or lie, people can still do stupid things. Here are three ways to minimize risky behavior:
Hire right. Don’t rely on resumes and references. Anyone can fake those. Consider going a level deeper and doing employment and background checks. Some risk-averse companies also conduct behavioral and honesty testing to screen employees.
Incentivize the right behavior. People don’t do what you tell them to do; they do what you pay them to do. Make sure your company’s performance measurement and incentive systems don’t encourage the wrong behaviors.
Create an open culture. People shouldn’t be afraid to speak up when they see something fishy. Make sure you have risk escalation and whistleblower processes in place and actively encourage people to use them when necessary.
• 25 October 2012
Let Employees Tell Their Own Stories about Change
Conventional approaches to change management urge leaders to set a vision and cascade it down the organization. This may save time, but it misses an important point: When people make their own decisions, they are more dedicated to what follows. The energy needed to drive change comes through a sense of ownership over the answer. Instead of dictating how the organization will evolve, take a high-involvement approach. Describe the problem you are trying to solve and then ask others how they would address it. During these discussions, roughly lay out your vision, but ask employees how they picture the change taking place. This takes time and effort of course. But the payoff is huge.
• 16 August 2012
Don’t Dismiss Critics of Change
Not everyone will be excited about change. People who resist are often perceived as inflexible obstacles to overcome. But don’t think of them simply as barriers to success. While some people do undermine change efforts, it is shortsighted to think everyone will, or even want to. Try to understand why people are resistant. Ask what they are concerned about and listen to their criticism. Doing so may uncover valid concerns that need to be addressed. Put everyone’s perspectives to use and make resisters a part of the solution
• 24 July 2012
Sorry limited - London Business School BSR
Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word
The value of saying you’re sorry has been demonstrated time and again. When companies and executives apologize for their missteps it can reduce the costs of lawsuits, retain committed customers, even create opportunities for building a more transparent and respectful workplace. And yet despite the clear benefits of apologizing, few business leaders actually do it, notes David De Cremer in Business Strategy Review. What gives?
Here’s one big reason: ego. De Cremer’s research found that perpetrators who apologized for their mistakes reported lower moral self-esteem than those not apologizing. “This suggests that the act of apologising reminds perpetrators of their bad and transgressing behaviour and has a negative impact on their moral self-image” he writes. It also helps explain why perpetrators considered apologies as very stressful and difficult. But here’s the good news: when perpetrators actually delivered an apology, they reported it being less stressful and experienced less difficulties than they had imagined. “The reality appears to be that perpetrators overestimate how difficult and stressful the delivery of a self-threatening apology really is.” In other words, suck it up and do the right thing: it won’t be as bad as you think.
• 12 July 2012
Help Your Team Embrace Change - HBR
Sometimes getting people on board with a change is harder than implementing the change itself. Next time your team balks at something new, do the following:
- Encourage openness. Create an environment where people feel free to express their thoughts and feelings about the change. Actively ask employees about their concerns.
- Bring people together. Once you understand their hesitations, bring people together to discuss the perceived problems. If people feel that they’ve been heard, they are more likely to support the final decision.
- Be Direct. Address all concerns head-on and provide as much information as possible.
• 12 July 2012
Set Prices that Benefit Everyone
Pricing shouldn’t be used to extract the maximum value from every transaction. Customers can feel the squeeze from these practices and may even lash out. Instead, create shared value with customers by using the following pricing principles:
- Focus on relationships, not transactions. Use pricing to communicate that you value your customers as people, not as wallets.
- Put a premium on flexibility. Resist the urge to set rigid prices. There is no “right” price. Instead, design pricing so it can change in response to shifting consumer needs.
- Be fair. Make sure your prices meet customers’ expectations and that the pricing process is clear. Be transparent about the rationale behind your prices.
• 21 June 2012