Tag: Strategy

09
Dec

Brand Values – Getting Buy In

Brand Values (done well,) will help any organisation build a stronger rapport with their customers, improve relationships with employees, help win new contracts, provide guidance to all types of leaders and so much more. Over the years, we’ve worked with a number of different companies to help them create values – management teams, sales teams, development teams, admin staff, etc.

We’ve done it all, from interviewing highly engaged people who would talk to us all day, those who take ‘values’ very seriously, to talking to some who can’t really get away quickly enough.

What we’ve found is that ‘getting buy-in’ for values is every bit as important as ‘creating-them’ in the first place.

Here are a few different ways to make that happen…

Engage Everybody, Absolutely Everybody

’Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.’

Everybody should be heard. It’s just so brilliantly useful in so many ways. For a start, it’s an act of good will to everybody in the company, it demonstrates that you do care and you genuinely want to hear more about what they think about the business, you’ll learn so much more about the people in your organisation too.

Finally, all of the anecdotes you’ll pick up will have tremendous value later on in the process, with potential for marketing ideas, sales messages and in finding ways to communicate your newly created values with future employees.

Build on Successes

Build on what’s working. Give your teams the opportunity to tell you what’s working and what they are generally doing well. Great ‘values and behaviours’ are often built from ‘the ground up.’ Your team will appreciate the opportunity to communicate what they are succeeding at.

Finally, there will be every opportunity for habits or traits developed on the factory/office/shop floor to become a form of company policy. A Brilliant morale-booster for everybody.

Ensure Management/Leadership Teams are Fully Bought-In

Make sure leaders are fully bought into whatever is agreed upon. If a company is going to document their brand values, it has to be sincere. Not every single person in a company is going to agree with absolutely everything that’s written down but leadership/management teams really have be fully on-board or there will be a lack of authenticity when those same leaders communicate something they don’t really believe in, to customers, staff or even shareholders.

Walk The Talk

Writing brand values down is one thing, living up to them is so much more important. Authenticity is everything so look for opportunities to sponsor causes which relate to who you are, support events or seminars that chime with what you believe in and look for collaborations wherever possible to further find ways to breathe life into those wonderful values you’ve created.

Practical Please

Having lofty, high-minded and noble values is brilliant. As long as you can give 2-3 examples about how you live them on a practical basis. This gives them more weight and once again help with the most important part – getting buy in from your own people and customers too.

Go Beyond The Obvious

Honesty, integrity, trust, etc are great values and ones that should really be the foundation of every relationship in business (and life too for that matter.) However, in many cases, they are the baseline of our expectations, so see if you can go a little bit further. If you really want to use them as part of your ‘Values.’ Look for ways to be even more thorough in telling us how your company is especially trustworthy, honest or high-integrity.

Get The Language Right

‘Values, Vision, Mission Statement, Purpose Beyond Profit, Beliefs, Actions, Behaviours, Who We Are and What We Do.’

Values are mainly there to help persuade and influence behaviours on a large scale – don’t miss the opportunity to be imaginative with the terminology too. It will give you one further opportunity to win hearts and minds with customers, staff and others.

ABM Intelligence Values (Who We Are and What We Do)

We created ‘Values & Mission Statements’ for ABM Intelligence. Or as we eventually called them ‘Who We Are & What We Do.’

Celebrate Them

Once you’ve created them – celebrate them – wherever and whenever possible. Have them created as a mural in the boardroom, illustrate them as part of your company website, write them into your tender documents, etc.

Properly thought-through and authentic values have real weight. Take every opportunity possible to make them commercially work for you and your organisation.

We hope that handy little guide, helps, creating values is so much fun. If you’d like to find out more about this or any of our other brand consultancy services, drop us a line.

Benedetto

Check out our very own Values & Behaviours or ‘Attitudes and Actions’ >>>

Or some more information on achieving buy-in from core-values >>>

13
Sep

Maximising Creative Budgets, 6 Quick Tips..

‘Making Every Penny Count’

Throughout the years, it’s almost became a life’s work to make sure that our clients (and ourselves for that matter) maximise every single bit of the creative budget we’ve got to strengthen our brand and marketing activities for our companies. Exceeding expectations in terms of quality, service and value is always the goal.

Here are a couple of quick pointers on things we’ve done in the past to achieve this..

1. Write A List and Be Unashamedly Commercial
Sometimes we’re bombarded with choice – website updates, an infographic with useful customer data, social campaigns, refine what you have or start again? Writing a quick list is invaluable, prioritise the activities with those that will best impact your top-line and do those activities first. The more commercially valuable a project is the more bought-in you’ll be, the more you’ll enjoy the process and also quick wins work for everybody and lead to more projects…

2. (Be Organised) and Find Multiple Uses For Everything
If you’re having quality case-studies written by a professional copy-writer, have them spend a tiny bit more time re-formatting the content for your social channels. If your photographer is on-site doing individual pics of the team for the website – again see if you can have those pics re-formatted for social media, for brochures, or even for future press-releases, etc… Also, when you’ve got a professional on-site look to get as many activities as possible in one visit – your provider’s set-up and travel times will eat into your creative budget so best to take a full-day packed with great activities to get more high-quality content than 2 x half-days, etc… Just make sure you provide a good lunch and lots of good coffee. However, and this is a big proviso, this is all dependant on you being organised from the outset, so every time you’re engaging a creative professional or agency. Think what else their time could be used to give additional value. In all honesty, good providers should be making you aware of these value-adds beforehand.

3. Become Invaluable To Your Provider
The company that can give more work to one agency, one photographer, one designer, etc will undoubtedly become more valuable to that provider which should allow you to command better rates or terms.

4. Direct is Fine
Seriously. Most creatives love working with decisive, no-nonsense types of clients that know exactly what they want and who may even be quite blunt with their feedback. Almost, the yin to their yangs. It saves so much time for everybody involved. I’m not saying be deliberately mean but clear about what you’re looking for and more importantly with what you’re not comfortable with.

5. Fast Deadlines
Fast deadlines are wonderful for maximising efficiency – everybody is forced to be focussed, concentrated and on their game from the get-go. Also, most good creative providers are usually quite happy to know that there is a deadline to protect against spec creep and therefore their profit margins. However, proceed with caution, be reasonable with your requests and consider using this tactic sparingly. There is a line and it’s best not to cross it – you’ll know from the provider’s reaction when you’re close. ‘Just-In-Time-Manufacturing’ is one of the most fascinating and successful concepts from the car industry – this is similar in theory.

6. Ask For Reference Images Or Even Sketches
If you’re not entirely certain of what you want, then simply ask the agency/creative provider to take a very small amount of time to provide some reference examples from their folio, some other examples from other providers or even a quick series of sketches, etc… This will help you to more quickly understand what you want, respect your relationship and to de-risk the project for both yourself and the provider.

Just six quick tips from a pretty massive back catalogue, plenty more to follow…

Any questions, drop us a line…

Benedetto

28
Jun

Resurgence, Interview With Award Winner, Entrepreneur and Investor, Brian Williamson.


‘Resurgence’ is the new video podcast for entrepreneurs, business owners and organisational leaders that are looking to thrive, not just survive, at the end of the current crisis. In this series, we are bringing you interviews with some of our top business and organisational leaders and looking at what they’ve done so far, how they are preparing for the future and how they are looking to turn this crisis into something positive for the people they serve.

In our latest interview, we talk to award-winning entrepreneur, investor and current chairman of 4icg Brian Williamson. In an incredibly wide-ranging interview, Brian goes into business pivots, gap-funding, talking to investors, post-work environments, re-imagining business propositions, leading during challenging times and how calm seas never made a good sailor. In his talk ’necessity, the mother of all invention’ he explains how the current crisis can potentially be the starting point of something great for entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders. A great 35 minute watch for anybody looking to thrive.

The series is brought to you by Glasgow-based design and branding agency – the loft.
Important Messages

These are some of the key messages from the interview.

Necessity is the mother of all invention

Narrow The Chasm – when looking for gap funding

Present the light at the end of the tunnel when talking to banks.

Your exec summary has to set someone on fire.

Investors don’t have time to read 38 pages – but they may do – if the exec summary is exciting enough.

The exec summary should be the most exciting part to read and rest of plan is validation of that summary.

People want to be fired up by the business opportunity and the person’s passion.

You have to be objective driven with remote working.

Involve employees with the objective of the business and how they fit in.

We want the output, but we tend to measure the input.

Being output driven is where we want to be. We’ll have more output-focussed minds which is what we want.

We’ve been trained to being input managers.

You’re really solving your customer’s problem or helping them to grasp an opportunity. You have to put yourself in their shoes.

You have to understand the challenges of the market.

If you can understand the market, you can shape a solution.

You need to understand the market and that means finding out what people want.

There is nothing better than 10,000 people telling you what they want.

Calm seas never made a skilled sailor.

I’ve been through 5 recessions and many company challenges, in each one, I’ve come out stronger on the other side. There is a great amount of learning to come from this.

Out of the crisis comes solutions – to new problems.

Your business can be part of that solution.

That’s where the opportunity lies – there are more problems than we can shake a stick at right now.

Interview tic-toc

0 Mins | Introduction of LOFCAST and Brian Williamson by Benedetto

2 Mins | Working from home, 2-3 times greater productivity. Geting used to issues with businesses and support. Whats coming out the other end?

3 Mins | Incredible 4icg Pivot – fast action, 24/7 response, morphing premises to safe working environments, shielding vulnerable people (Incredible speed.)

5 mins | Importance of extending cash runways to de-stress yourself and establishing control. How long can I last and create choices.

7 mins | Asking for increased credit terms.

8:30 Mins | Rotating staff to make ‘furlough’ more effective.

10 mins | Success in apply for CIBLs Loans, keep the bank informed of what you’re doing during bad times and present GAP funding appropriately. (Narrow The Chasm.)

11:30 Mins | Banks are reasonable people, but present light at the end of the tunnel

13 Mins | Present the business plan as a story, vision is all-important, it has to be exciting. 14 Mins, Summary has to be exciting with business plans, regardless of the current climate.

14:30 mins | Importance of telling the story in technical and human manner. People waant to be fired up by business opportunity and person’s passion for the business.

16 mins | Other big moves – implementing remote working for other companies. Being objective driven when managing staff. Harder but possibly more effective.

17 mins | Radicalised thinking post-virus, working with London investors chasing him as opposed to him chasing them, speed of movement is now truly remarkable.

18:30 mins | 4icg’s 4-day work-week, negotiating terms with unions in the past, importance of genuine productivity,

19:30 mins | Empowering employees in where they fit in and to communicating the difference they can make.

20 mins | Importance of focussing on output as opposed to the input. Importance of being output driven

21 mins | Are we really being productive or just being busy? Input managers and possibilities of being more output-focussed.

22 mins | 4icg’s legendary pivot for small business’s looking to digitise their offering, back to basic principes – you’re basically solving your customer’s problem.

23 mins | Understanding the market and shaping a solution, how restaurants have successfully pivoted,

24 mins | Helping restaurants re-bound after COVID-19, 4icg’s new product offering

25 mins | Advice to pubs/restaurants and travel agents – planning when the future is so uncertain.

27 mins | Likelihood of more localised holidays for citizens, people want to travel somewhere with their own transport,

28 mins | Travel industry needs to understand the client’s needs now, package holidays,

30 mins | Updated safety and security for health and beauty salons,

31 mins | Making clients feel comfortable, Peer-to-peer learning with the IOD.

32:30 mins | Roosevelt quote – calm seas never made a skilled sailor, being through 5 recessions and challenging times with clients, comes out stronger every time.

33 mins | Always come out stronger on the other side, reflect on what’s happening in society, hackathons to stimulate creative thinking, innovative products to deal with COVD challenges.

34:30 mins | Your business can become a solution to that problem.

35 mins | Ideal environment to find creative solutions to these problems.

25
Jun

Resurgence, a Video Interview with International Business Leader, Entrepreneur and Storyteller, Bob Keiller



‘Resurgence’ is the new video podcast for entrepreneurs, business owners and organisational leaders that are looking to thrive, not just survive, at the end of the crisis. In this series we are bringing you interviews with some of our top business/organisational leaders and looking at what they’ve done so far, how they are preparing for the future and mainly how they are looking to turn this crisis into something positive for the future.

In our latest interview, we talk to experienced international business leader, entrepreneur and storyteller Bob Keiller. Bob gives an absolute tour-de-force on the importance of values, purpose and knowing your organisations ‘Why.’ He shares his thoughts about innovation, why it is so important at this time and gives some practical suggestions about how you can make that happen. Finally, he makes a call to businesses to be bold and ask themselves, what else can you do? An absolute must-watch for leader of organisations of any size – with a little extra something in there for charities. Comes in at a lovely and compact 20 minutes too.

Throughout the interview, Bob refers to The Lens Perspective>>>

Important Messages

These are some of the key messages from the interview.

In some ways we can do more

Wisdom comes from experience – none of us have experienced this before.

Your first obligation is to survive.

Look at simple things like credit management, cashflow and customers. Do what you need to do to survive

It’s a good opportunity to go back to basics and reaffirm your why and your how.

You can always change the what, but understanding the why and how of your business is really important.

Innovate – no point in thinking things will get back to normal – it might but it might not!

What skills have we got, what talents have we got, what resources have we got, what knowledges and experiences have we got and what can we do??

We need to test things, we need to try things

As the leader of the business, you won’t have all the answers, but the best place to find a lot of the answers is from the team

Remember what we’re all about, remember what we are doing this for?

Let’s concentrate where we started the journey and where are we headed?

It’s dead easy to read a book but doing it is what really matters.

Culturally – how do we step up the environment that people bring forward ideas that we can collectively develop together.

What else can you do?

We’re not in the business of knowing the answers but we sure are going to go out and find what the options are.

Getting your message across has always been a key aspect of business.

Interview tic-toc

0 – 1:30 Minutes | Intro of Bob Keiller.

3 Mins | What’s Bob Keiller been up-to? Speaking to lots of people, trying to help, had to re-package training sessions into smaller modules (2-hrs, etc.)

4:30 Mins | Different context with this one, very little certainty, some sectors have been harmed badly.

5 mins | Advice is simple – first obligation is to survice, face the difficult decisions, do what you need to survive.

5:30 mins | Good opportunity to get back to basics to re-affirm your why and how.

6 mins | Sometimes running a business is like flying a plane, time to take stock and check what kind of condition it is in.

6:30 mins | Innovate, things might or might not get back to normal, mode of thinking what skills, resources, talents you’ve got and what can you do – rather what can’t you do. This can open up opportunities.

7 mins | Importance of trying things and testing. Importance of innovation and leadership. Harvesting potential answers from the team and use that as a primary source of answers.

8 mins | Values, danger of charities is that they sometimes lack focus and occasionally become more diluted.

9 mins | Importance of getting back to main purpose of the business – what are we doing this for? Who are we doing this for? Getting back to the core purpose.

10 mins | Getting back to the core purpose and values,

11 mins | To pivot or not to pivot, some businesses that have seen a huge increase in business.

12 mins | What else can a company be doing in terms of innovation? Can services be provided in a different way, importance of selling and marketing.

13 mins | Getting services out there and telling a compelling story is important.

13:30 mins | Useful resources for businesses having to innovate for the first time.

14 mins | ‘The lens organisation’ pulling out proposals and craft a few number into business opportunities and prototype with limited resources and time.

15 mins | Culturally – how do we step up the environment that people bring forward ideas that we can collectively prototype and test. Contact the Lens team to find out better how to do this?

16 mins | How would Bob run a sports club, etc?

17:30 mins | David Lloyd gym’s innovation in the past during crisis.

19 mins | Final thoughts, importance of communication, how do you get the message across?

20 mins | Most marketing and comms is pretty ineffective right now. Time to get better at communicating what you’re doing, etc.