Culture changeMarketing 3.0

Leadership development process for culture change

Revamping destinations up to a 3.0 model entails, among other challenges, upgrading the leadership level of their executives. As it has been explained in previous blog posts, The Leadership Circle Profile is a methodological framework to assess Leadership Quality and orientate leadership development for those who want to leap forward from one stage to another, creating awareness of the need for the leaders’ transformation as a first step towards culture change.

The method for leadership quality assessment and development combines peer to peer analysis and development sessions focused on specific topics, in a way that the leader’s peers and subordinates analyze his evolution and needs for improvement. This requires a great deal of confidence, sincerity and commitment, along with humility on the side of the leader, to listen to his peers and subordinates criticism on his leadership style and effectiveness. The involvement of peers is not only to obtain a more comprehensive and realistic assessment, but also to develop their awareness and commitment on this issue, so long as leadership is not only the leaders’ job, but everybody’s co-responsibility in their role in order to improve the collective leadership and the organizational culture.

At the end of every session, the leaders commit to improve a certain aspect of their leadership, and at the following session they analyze the improvements achieved. This usually consists of reducing a specific Reactive behavior, developing a Creative competence and also a leadership improvement goal. All these have to be measurable to track progress, and the goals should be also quantified to measure the level of success in each one. This method manages also to create a culture of trust and support, so long as peers talk openly about themselves and their coworkers, their fears, weaknesses and questions. This way, the forces constraining cooperation and self-development are reduced to leave room for further empowerment and development of synergies within the organization. These sessions are usually carried out every few months for a period of about two years.

This blog post is from the Whitepaper “Building a culture of collaboration and innovation”, freely downloadable in this weblog. You may check the Whitepaper’s references to know the sources used for its elaboration.

Marketing 3.0Strategy

Welcome to the Experience Economy

The digital world is all about experiences. Combining web content with video and mobile applications (and even large screen and interactive print), organizations have to provide an experience with their brand and content that is compelling enough for users. Although an organization may be selling a product or service, they are first selling an experience with their brand through content (text, images, video, games). The cost of that experience? Attention.

People only have so much attention (just like money in the bank). So they try to spend it wisely and feel cheated when the experience doesn’t live up to the cost.

But when the experience is worth the cost? People get something in return: a relationship. The experience transcends just the screen. It strikes at the heart of who we are and our need to connect. Which is why people gravitate towards experiences that are personalized, dynamic, relevant, and contextual. They want an experience that seems like it was built for them…or will shape to whom they are the more they interact with it.

Ultimately, this is why relationships are the currency of the experience economy. Businesses who can develop, cultivate, and stockpile relationships through engaging and interactive digital experiences will have a larger pool from which to draw repeat (and new) customers while everyone else is trying their hardest to get consumers to spend their attention.

You Can’t Have a Relationship With a Number…or a System.

As marketing has embraced digital (or maybe it’s as consumers have embraced digital and marketers have reacted to it) technology has becoming increasingly important. In many cases, marketers are caught up in the systems they use to generate the leads that drive the business. But that is just as dehumanizing as referring to people as leads or prospects in the first place. Which, of course, jeopardizes developing the relationships that are needed to succeed in the experience economy. Because with that focus on graphs and analytics, marketers stop thinking about the people to whom they are delivering their content. They only think of leads and growth and pipeline.

They ignore that most fundamental aspect of developing a relationship: engagement.

Is It Really That Bad?

Some marketers would say that it’s not. Their job, they would say, is to drive business growth. I would argue that they are no more than robots if that’s the case. Connecting with people through an organization’s brand is the greatest opportunity afforded to marketers by digital. For the first time they can really form one-to-one relationships with existing customers and people who are interested in becoming customers. It’s a global version of the corner store or the water cooler. People expose information about themselves in digital forums that they would never speak about face-to-face. And yet little is done to cultivate that.

Developing relationships with people can be an uncomfortable business. Marketers need to get uncomfortable.

Why Are Relationships So Important?

In a world full of noise, marketers must do something to separate themselves and their brand. Sometimes that may be a catchy marketing gimmick. Sometimes that may be an accidental campaign gone viral. But for the most part it will be something that fundamentally touches the core of what makes us human: connection. As humans we want to be a part of something. A neighborhood. A political party. A family. And that is no less in the digital world. In fact, digital exacerbates it by making connectivity easier. In all that noise and clutter that is becoming online, to whom will people turn when they are looking to make a purchase or subscribe to a service? To the marketer with the catchy jingle? Or to the marketer that is connecting and engaging with them through Facebook, blogs, email, and more?

In the experience economy, relationships are the new currency. At the heart of relationships is engagement. Engagement is personal.

The First Step to Humanizing Marketing

I admit this is a bit of a fluffy post. But it’s been weighing on me. Marketers have this great opportunity to actually talk with people through their digital marketing and yet, instead, they focus on programs and campaigns and a lot of that “broadcast marketing” mentality.

So the first step to humanizing marketing? Stop thinking about leads and pipeline and acquisition and start thinking about engagement. Talk with people through posts and tweets. Send personalized email. Develop trust and credibility by providing content that is helpful (not product focused). This is why persona-based marketing is so important. When you see your targets not as targets but as people (which is possible when you “put yourself in their shoes”) you have a much greater appreciation of

A New Way to Measure?

There have been a lot of services hitting the marketing industry offering to help manage social engagement. Of course, social is only one way to engage with people. But they bring with them the beginnings of a new paradigm: measuring engagement. Of course, the beginning is just that. And the offerings are shallow. What marketers need is a way to quantify the value of a relationship:

  • how deep is the person’s network?
  • how often do they talk about my brand to their network?
  • through what content do they engage with me most?
  • what was my last engagement with them?
  • what kind of conversations do they want to have?

When the marketing industry can develop software to help quantify the value of a relationship, we can take the second step towards humanizing marketing.

The Second Step to Humanizing Marketing

Where the first step is pretty easy (if not time-consuming), the second step is hard. We have to convince a global economy that relationships with people are the best long-term strategy for continued growth and success. That’s right. It’s not short-term pipeline that will make the company succeed. It’s the trust, credibility, and customization provided by a humanized approach to marketing that will build the business of the future. It’s people.

Doing this will require educating executives that short-term leads are counter-productive to long-term growth. The pipeline will fill. The leads will generate. But it has to be done naturally, through establishing a relationship, or it comes off as just a clinical activity involving systems and spreadsheets.

The Middle Ground?

Okay, so I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that there is a place for lead-generation marketing activity. Let’s face it, some people don’t want a relationship. They just want to get in and get out. Marketing, then, should be about building a layered approach. For those that just need the facts, that just want the information so they can decide themselves, that just want to buy, treat them like they want to be treated. Like a number. One could argue that by giving them what they want marketers are actually establishing a relationship with them as well (albeit utilitarian).

But this approach can’t be the dominate layer. Again, long-term business success in the experience economy is all about establishing relationships and connecting with people so that you become the place where they spend their attention. But a combination of tactics actually enables marketers to satisfy existing business requirements (i.e., lead generation, conversion, and pipeline growth) while practicing the humanization of their craft…and demonstrating how deep, intimate relationships with online users can actually generate much more success than focusing just on the numbers.

Go Forth…and Humanize!

Okay, in addition to being a little fluffy, this post (and my position) is a bit Utopian. But successful marketers are already changing. Just look at the trend towards storytelling (the foundation of any good experience).

Marketing is going to change. Do marketers all need to get around a campfire and sing Kumbaya? No. But if marketers fail to understand that they must treat their audience as people who want to have some kind of relationship (and not be considered just a number) they will get lost in the noise.

This blog post is from  http://www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/10/22/humanizing-marketing/

Culture changeMarketing 3.0

Harvard’s tips about culture change

Beyond the BCG and Kotter’s approaches that have been explained in previous posts, Harvard Business Review provides a long list of tips to complement the aforementioned methodologies, and also to understand all the factors that should be taken into account, so long as they influence the process of culture change and its chances of success. These are the following:

Readiness to change is about arousing a sincere want for change. A leader’s admission of vulnerability is rather likely to help others recognize and address their failings. You can’t force people to change. You can only help them want to.

It is essential to replace negative habits with positive ones. Linking old to new habits is far more effective than approaching them separately. Doing A instead of B simplifies the change, rather than stopping the B habit without clear instructions of what to do instead.

Peer support and pressure foster change. One of the best ways to change human behavior is to gather people with similar problems. Bringing employees together to discuss initiatives creates accountability, mutual generosity, a judgment-free attitude, and increased pressure.

Sponsorship deepens commitment and sparks results. Identifying and rewarding early adopters of the new behaviors is likely to create positive contagion. For the slower adopters of the new behaviors it is much better to pair them with early adopters than external coaches.

Community without hierarchy is a catalyst for change. Confidence and trust tends to be higher in the closest relationships with peers rather than formal leaders, and so the informal relationships should be leveraged to move change forward, beyond the hierarchical leaders.

It pays to acknowledge small wins. Change management system should find ways for employees to show and celebrate incremental achievements. Failing to create short term wins is likely to lead the process to failure. Change effort needs to be often refilled with new energy.

Match strategy and culture. Too often executives underestimate to what extent culture alignment is a key success factor for strategy’s effectiveness, and actually is being an obstacle to strategy implementation. Culture, strategy and goals have to be closely interconnected.

Focus on a few critical shifts in behavior. Implementing culture change, as for any strategy challenge, is essential to set priorities. In this case, it is convenient to identify the key behaviors to change, prioritize them and focus only on the top priorities at first.

Honor the strengths of your existing culture. Instead of focusing only on the negative behaviors to be changed, it is recommendable to acknowledge the cultural assets of the organization that do not need change, and make the change feel more like a shared evolution.

Integrate formal and informal interventions. When promoting behavior changes it is necessary to appeal first to the emotional level (values, pride, integrity, etc.) and then to the rational self-interest (incentives, promotion, etc.) using both formal and informal interventions.

Care about professional development. Employee commitment is more likely to be achieved when these feel that the organization is investing in their future by providing training and caring for their professional development. Then they are more eager to buy into the change.

Assign clear accountabilities. Every member, starting with the executive team, should know what change goals and initiatives he or she is responsible for. The accountabilities should be cascaded accordingly from the leadership level to the bottom level of the organization.

Measure and monitor cultural evolution. As well as any other aspect related to strategy implementation, culture change progress has to be monitored, in order to identify misalignments or need for strategic reorientation. Executives should focus on four areas:

  • Business performance. Progression of the KPIs, assessing both outperformers and underperformers, and analyzing the underlying causes of the measured results.
  • Critical behaviors. The extent to which the members of the organization have changed their behaviors according to the established priorities.
  • Milestones. Level of accomplishment of the intermediate goals established in the implementation plan, considering the priority level of each goal.

When designing cultural metrics, it is better to focus on a few critical indicators than to create a complex system, which actually takes a great effort to develop and manage. In accordance with the metrics system, there has to be an incentive system to reward successes and give recognition to the best performers. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of a positive mindset, as it has the potential to change performance by creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This blog post is from the Whitepaper “Building a culture of collaboration and innovation”, freely downloadable in this weblog. You may check the Whitepaper’s references to know the sources used for its elaboration.

Marketing 3.0storytelling

A Glimpse Into the Future of Storytelling

For storytellers, digital is the biggest candy shop ever created. It enables stories to be told in fantastic new ways that combine a variety of media including written word, images, video, and even games…all at the same time. Of course, it took a while for the technology to get to a point where that was possible (i.e., HTML 5, javascript, parallax and responsive design, etc.) but we are finally beginning to see what the future of storytelling might become.

Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek is an immersive story experience using a variety of different media simultaneously to provide a multi-sensory digital experience.

This is a different approach than Transmedia Storytelling. Rather than spreading story elements (in different media/experiences) across platforms, this approach combines them all into a single experience which is, by nature, cross platform.

You can experience the story for yourself at: http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2012/snow-fall/#/?part=tunnel-creek

This blogpost is from   www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/10/08/a-glimpse-into-the-future-of-storytelling/

Culture change

BCG model of culture change (II)

Following with the explanation in the previous blog post, hereby are explained the last two points of the BCG model of culture change.

What aspects of organizational context should we change?

Many people believe that there are too many factors and their inter-relationships and relationship with the culture are too complex, in order to know how and where to intervene.

The reality is that learning what to change is a logical and feasible process. Actually, so long as you understand the organizational context and the inter-relation among its constituent elements, you can effectively change culture. By applying techniques drawn from social and behavioral psychology you can create a set of interventions that move multiple “context levers” in the right combination.

Designing the interventions. Leaders have a plethora of context levers at their disposal to align employee behavior with strategy –and close the gap between their current and target culture. These levers represent a mix of hard and soft approaches that separately and in combination shape behavior. They enable organizations not only to understand the forces shaping their current culture but also to determine what needs to be changed.

BCG has identified 7 organizational-context levers that influence behavior and shape culture:

  • Leadership: leaders’ role-modeling behaviors; their manner of communication, especially in reinforcing desired behaviors; how they spend their time, manage their priorities, and interact with direct reports (do they micromanage or manage by principle?).
  • People and development: the kind of employees who are recruited; opportunities for meaningful work and the kind of career paths the organization enables; how talent is promoted and retained; the provided coaching; learning and development programs.
  • Performance management: the KPIs that the organization uses to define and track performance drivers, its policies and practices regarding compensation, benefits, reviews, promotions, rewards, penalties, and consequences of undesirable behavior.
  • Informal interactions: networks, the nature of peer-to-peer interactions, gatherings, etc.
  • Organization design: organizational structure, processes and roles, decision rights, and collaboration processes; units’ relationship to headquarters, office layout and design.
  • Resources and tools: the projects that are funded, access to human resources, management systems, and analytical tools
  • Values: the collective beliefs, ideals, and norms that guide people’s conduct and help them adhere to priorities, especially when facing a business dilemma.

For each gap uncovered in the context analysis, organizations must choose the right levers, design the right interventions, and determine when to apply them. Some interventions, such as setting a recognition system, generate quick wins, while others, such as a reorganization, take longer. Finally, it’s important to prioritize them according to their estimated impact.

How do we make change happen?

There is also the myth that changing behavior and culture is a gamble, so long as the complexity of the process makes culture change unpredictable.

The reality is that behavior and culture change is a predictable process and can be orchestrated to achieve the intended results. If you have carried out a sound diagnostic and identified, designed, and implemented the appropriate interventions, you can get fairly predictable results in the foreseeable period of time. However, doing so requires an active, practical and systematic approach, as well as considerable attention to change management.

Implementing culture change. A handful of practices can ensure that the interventions you choose will have the best chance of achieving the intended results.

  • Find and support change champions in the organization. In every organization there are people who have already adopted the new behaviors and are enthusiastic about attracting others to the new culture. These should have been involved in the intervention design and are committed to the proposed changes. It is also preferable to train these champions in leading change and ensure that they are rewarded for taking on that role.
  • Run pilot programs and roll out interventions. It is crucial to test a set of interventions through pilot programs. Once tested, there has to be a clear sequence and timetable to roll out the levers and interventions in accordance with the strategy. It is necessary to establish a metrics system to monitor the change progress.
  • Ensure frequent, precise, and transparent communication. Communication is critical in any change program, and it is even more important in culture change. The goal of a communications program is to make culture as tangible as possible, emphasizing what it means for the individuals who will be affected.
  • Monitor progress to adjust and refine interventions. Culture change is predictable, but it is also inevitably messy. Changing organizational context in the right ways will certainly reinforce the desired behaviors. Then it is crucial to monitor progress to determine if the desired results are actually being attained. If not, you have to adjust the interventions.

This blog post is from the Whitepaper “Building a culture of collaboration and innovation”, freely downloadable in this weblog. You may check the Whitepaper’s references to know the sources used for its elaboration.

Marketing 3.0storytellingTourism marketing

The 9 “C”s of Awesome Storytelling

You want to tell stories to your digital audiences. No, really, I’m telling you that you want to. In fact, you have to. There’s just too much noise out there to continue broadcasting your message. You’ve got to get intimate with your audience. Digital enables you to form powerful one-on-one relationships with your audience, and the best way to do that is through stories.

I recently gave a presentation at the Content2Conversion conference in New York in April that explored not only why this is important, but how to also make your own stories more impactful, meaningful, and ultimately, more engaging by adhering to 9 best practices. Click on the video to watch a recorded broadcast of the presentation. I’ve also included some bullet points that capture the high level points communicated as part of the presentation and will be posting the slides from Slideshare soon.

And here are the high-level points in that presentation (in case you’ve already watched and just want those 9 Cs again; I’ve even bolded them):

  1. Stories are important
  2. Stories are containers for ideas that are easier to communicate when they are framed as a story. Example: traveling by yourself in the forest as a young child (which is a metaphor for the world) without parents or help can be dangerous because there are a lot of “wolves” out there. AKA, Little Red Riding Hood.
  3. Stories evoke emotion. They make us laugh. They make us cry. They move us to action.
  4. Movies are great examples of stories.
  5. Digital changes everything by enabling stories with videos and images. By extending stories into cross-channel/multi-channel experiences (i.e., transmedia).
  6. Digital supercharges stories to engage and improve intimacy
  7. What makes a good story digitally for business?
  8. #1: Connected. Stories have to connect us to other people. They have to involve us in a “shared” experience (no matter how much Facebook wants us to think we are the center of the digital universe, we really aren’t)
  9. #2: Committed. Embracing storytelling isn’t a “one-and-done” mentality. Coca Cola has committed tens of millions of dollars to reshaping the way they engage and interact with audiences through content. It has to be a life-long change.
  10. #3: Customer. The story has to be about the customer. Period. It can’t be about your product or your company.
  11. #4: Character. The story has to have a character. That’s with whom the audience forms an emotional bond. They have to be in conflict. They have to have something to lose.
  12. #5: Crescendo. The story has to have an ending. It has to wrap up somehow. You can’t leave audiences hanging.
  13. #6: aCountable. The story has to be driven by numbers. If there’s no way to see where users disengage, no way to measure how effective the story is, then it doesn’t really serve any business purpose.
  14. #7: Consistent. Users are on multiple devices every day. The story has to not only be available on all of them but has to be consistent across it. You can’t tell one story to one device and a different one to another. Branding, look and feel, style, tone. The experience has to be consistent.
  15. #8: Conversion. The story ultimately has to convert audience members to customers. Otherwise, you are just wasting your breath.
  16. #9. cEmotional. Stories have to be emotional. They have to elicit a reaction from the audience. Laughter. Crying. Shaking a fist. If the story fails to connect with an audience emotionally, they will forget it, and all your storytelling hard work will be for naught.
  17. Stories are strung together with a narrative arc. That’s what drives emotion. When a character has something to lose, there’s a conflict to not lose it, and then there’s a resolution (either losing it or not losing it).
  18. Stories evoke emotions. Biologically when our brains encounter a narrative arc (and we follow it) endorphins are released. There is a biological and chemical reaction that humans have to storytelling. That’s powerful.
  19. Stories help us engage with audiences. Ultimately, they help us become more intimate with our audiences.
  20. There’s a way to speed that up, though. It’s video.
  21. There’s a “level of relationship” pyramid.
    1. At the bottom is awareness. Your audience knows who you are, but they don’t even think about you. I know who Starbucks is, but I don’t go into their stores.
    2. Next is acquaintance. Maybe I would go into Starbucks if I was wandering down the street, suddenly wanted coffee, and that happened to be the only coffee shop in 10 miles.
    3. After that is friend. When I think coffee, I think Starbucks usually. I’ll branch out, just based on convenience (there’s a Dunkin Donuts right down the road, but Starbucks is a mile past that; yeah, I’m not traveling the extra mile). I do appreciate Starbucks product and their company. In fact, I like their Facebook page and sometimes check out their website for new stuff.
    4. After friend is confidante. If I am a confidante, I’m sharing info with Starbucks who is trying to personalize my experience. Maybe it’s through their reward card. I actively seek them out for my coffee fix. I might even walk a little further down the road to get to one. When I’m on Google maps, I don’t search for “coffee shops” I search for “Starbucks.”
    5. Finally, there is BFF. Every marketer wants every one of their audience to be BFFs. If I was Starbucks’ BFF I would get into fist fights with people who dared to say that Dunkin Donuts’ coffee was better. I wear Starbucks apparel. I am active in their Facebook conversations. I share my Starbucks experiences with them. I am a loyal reward member and have provided lots of information to Starbucks that they use to make my experience with their digital presence and retail locations more personalized.
  22. Video gets you to BFF faster because it helps accelerate engagement. When it’s combined with storytelling that means faster emotional connection.

– Jason Thibeault, Sr. Director, Marketing Strategy. You can connect with Jason on Twitter @_jasonthibeault.

This blog post is from www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/10/16/the-9-cs-of-awesome-storytelling/

Culture change

BCG model of culture change (I)

According to Boston Consulting Group, culture change is not only achievable but entirely feasible within a reasonable amount of time. Any organization can realize its target culture by implementing change based on the answers to four questions:

  • What culture do we need?
  • What culture do we have and why do we have it?
  • What aspects of the organizational context should we change to get the behaviors we seek?
  • How do we make the change happen?

What culture do we need?

To determine what culture your organisation needs it is necessary to have a clear purpose, a set of goals and a strategy designed to meet them. The target-setting process involves translating the strategy into the specific capabilities and behaviors required to implement it. The target culture is thus a combination of behaviors related to employee engagement and strategy-specific attributes. Engagement can be described as the degree to which individuals and teams are in accordance with the organisation’s culture. Engaged employees are ambitious, inspired, achievement oriented, accountable, and supportive:

  • Ambitious: they set high goals for themselves and the organization, in order to strive to be a leader in its industry.
  • Inspired: senior management effectively communicates the vision in a way that employees believe in the organization’s goals and in the intrinsic value of their work.
  • Achievement-oriented: they meet or exceed performance requirements despite challenges. Exceptional performance is rewarded; poor performance is not tolerated.
  • Accountable: they are held accountable for meeting corporate and individual goals. There is a compelling desire to consistently meet the organization’s milestones.
  • Supportive: they mentor and develop direct reports and others. Real value is placed on teaching and mentorship.

The leaders must choose strategy-specific behaviors along the following seven dimensions:

  • Structured vs flexible: how specifically are processes and acceptable behaviors defined? How closely are they followed in practice?
  • Controlling vs delegating: to what extent is power and decision making concentrated at the top or diffused throughout the organization?
  • Cautious vs risk permitting: how much does the organization support risk taking?
  • Thinking vs doing: to what degree do people spend time creating ideas or executing them?
  • Diplomatic vs direct: how transparent are communications between coworkers & managers?
  • Individualistic vs collaborative: to what extent are employees concerned with their own individual performance versus shared goals?
  • Internal vs external: to what extent are processes and behaviors oriented toward the outside world versus the internal environment?

Leaders make these choices by translating the organization’s strategy into a set of capabilities and behaviors required to deliver it. The strategy is therefore implemented through the employees’ behaviors in accordance with the mentioned parameters.

What culture do we have and why do we have it?

Culture is mainly determined by the organizational context. Many organizations’ members may be unaware of the effect that the leaders, structure, systems, and incentives have on people as individuals and in teams. It is this organizational context, and not mindsets, that drives and sustains culture. Desired behaviors can emerge spontaneously when the context changes. Mindsets, values, and culture will follow the contextual changes.

Diagnosing culture. To diagnose why you have the culture you have, you need to identify employees’ behaviors and uncover their causes. This can be done by conducting a survey, interviews and focus groups to identify the behaviors that characterize its culture. Then, organizations can clarify whether current behaviors match those that the strategy requires. It is also necessary to find out their underlying reasons, to design the appropriate interventions.

The explanation of this model is to be completed with another upcoming blog post

Marketing 3.0storytellingTourism marketing

Storytelling for Marketers: Connecting the Dots

There’s been a lot of conversation about storytelling lately for business marketers. But as I keep writing about storytelling I realize that I am touching on different pieces. This post is an attempt to connect all the dots so that marketers understand what storytelling is and why it’s important for their business.

Dot #1: Telling a Story Grabs Attention

Digital has created a lot of noise. More people posting more content into more channels. Which is why people have reverted to “information snacking.” There’s just not enough time in the day to pay attention to everything. So you need a way to stand out. You need to give people a reason to stop snacking and start reading or watching. Why does a story get attention? Because we are hard wired for stories. Stories help us remember. Stories connect us with each other. I won’t go into all the biology and psychology behind stories but, trust me, they have an impact.

When marketers transition from just broadcasting a message about their product (i.e., “our product is the best because it helps you solve this problem”) to telling a story, they stick out. And you can tell a story at different parts of the buyer’s journey.

Aside: How Do I Tell a Story For My Business?

First, it’s not about writing a novel. This isn’t a romance or a murder mystery. But it is about creating a narrative arc and characters and a conflict and a resolution. For example, I bet that most of your customers have a story about how they found your product. Or, I bet that your industry has stories about critical challenges facing us today. These stories that you tell aren’t about your company or your product. They are about connecting to your customer. So keep your brand out of it. Keep you out of it. Let your customers or your industry or other people be the point of your story and through that, your audience will connect it to you (and your brand/product).

Dot #2: Getting Attention Gives You the Opportunity to Engage

You want to engage with your audience. Heck, it’s what digital enables us to do. One-to-one conversations via social media and email and blog comments. That’s powerful. But you can’t even think of doing that if people aren’t paying attention. So if you are telling stories (and people are starting to pay attention) you have awareness (at the bottom of the relationship pyramid) and the opportunity to move people up the pyramid through further engagement.

Dot #3: Engagement Leads to Long-term Relationships

Unless you are selling a commodity or utility product/service, developing relationships is critical to your long-term success. In the digital world, relationships with influencer customers provide you access to a vast network of other relationships. But you can’t develop relationships if you don’t have attention…and you aren’t engaging.

Aside: Why is Content Marketing So Important?

Marketers are becoming publishers. Why? Because by giving your audience content that they find useful (Coca-Cola does an awesome job at this) you build credibility and trust which, again, helps you drive them up the relationship pyramid. Remember that you don’t have to give them content about you. Give them content they will find useful, content that will help them solve a problem or generate a discussion. We have done this at Limelight by talking about changes in the marketing industry (changes like the importance of storytelling).

Dot #4: Engagement Leads to Sales Opportunities

Every time that you engage with someone you expose a sales opportunity. But you can’t push it. When you push it, people will turn away and the relationship you have with them will tumble down the relationship pyramid. That’s bad. People will buy when they are ready. If you have the credibility, trust, and relationship with them when they are ready to purchase, you will be first in their mind.

Dot #5: ROI Will Come (But Later Than Credibility)

Okay, it goes without saying that you need to show return for your efforts. No organization is just going to spend money continually on marketing if the activities marketing is carrying out aren’t impacting the business. But the problem is that most storytelling is “awareness marketing.” It’s all about establishing trust, credibility, relationships, etc. for the chance of a sales opportunity down the road. Many CxOs have an unrealistic expectation that everything marketing does should immediately bear return. That may have been the case in old-school marketing (i.e., broadcast marketing) but it’s not the case with engagement marketing. Of course sales will happen short-term. As a central strategy for any content marketing effort, storytelling is more about the long-term.

Other Things to Consider

Digital gives us a way to tell stories like never before. Things can be connected across platforms. We can create “experiences” which combine stories in different mediums. Below are a few things to consider about storytelling in the digital world:

  • Video improves everything about storytelling. Let’s face it: we are hard-wired for motion. It’s in the way our brains are constructed. So when presented with a story that is still (words + images) vs in motion (video) we will tend to gravitate to the later. Stories that include (or are encapsulated by) video will succeed over stories that aren’t.
  • People are mobile all the time. Your audience isn’t sitting on your couch (or at their desk) engaging with their story. Chances are they are out and about. Running errands. Heading to meetings. Walking the hall. You have to keep this in mind as you craft your story not only for the form-factor but also for what will be most impactful on a smartphone or tablet screen. Delivering the 1200-word article of your story as part of a mobile experience is probably not going to keep much attention.
  • Digital is immersive. Although we are still learning about how this applies to business, transmedia storytelling has been around a while. What is it? Simply put, it’s about telling different parts of the story in different channels and connecting them all together as one big experience. When you do that, people can get lost in your story moving from one channel to another. They enjoy the novelty of discovering and finding new things.

This blog post is from www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/11/04/storytelling-for-marketers-connecting-the-dots/

Business trendsIntelligenceMarketing 3.0SustainabilityTourism trends

The Economic Impact of Tourism Development

What’s the world’s number one export? No, it’s not oil, food, or electronics.

It’s tourism

Tourism is of tremendous economic importance worldwide. As mentioned above, tourism is a huge sector of both goods and service exports- 6% of goods ($1.4 trillion USD) and 29% of services. Tourism jobs also represent one in eleven jobs globally, and the industry comprises 9% of global GDP, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) finds that tourism generates 4.4% of total investment globally.

why tourism matters

In numerous economic sectors; including accommodations, food and beverage, retail, recreation, entertainment, and transportation; tourism has both direct and indirect effects on production, jobs, wages, and taxes (according to Tourism Economics). By increasing the tourism in a region, economic development and growth can be spurred. More tourists mean more demand, more jobs, and more revenue, including tax revenue for local and national governments.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, tourism in the U.S. alone generated $2.1 trillion USD in economic impact with $887.9 billion in direct spending and an additional $1.2 in industries indirectly affected. This accounts to $28,154 spent per second in the U.S. by domestic and international travelers. The tourism industry is one of the top employers in the U.S. supporting 14.9 million jobs and generating $209.5 billion in wages for employees directly in the travel industry.

While tourism and travel are clearly important globally, they are critical industries for much of the developing world. Tourism is the leading export in over half of least developed countries (LDCs). Some of the most unique tourist attractions, such as indigenous culture and nature reserves, are located in rural areas- where poverty is often greatest. In this, tourism offers the potential to create jobs where they are most needed and to reduce migration to urban areas.

In 1950, there were 25 million international tourists. This number has skyrocketed since, climbing to 1087 million last year. The UNWTO predicts that this number will only continue to climb with an anticipated 3.3% annual increase from 2010 to 2030, to reach 1.8 billion in 2030. Of these, the UNWTO expects that tourist arrivals in emerging destinations will increase at twice the rate of destinations in advanced countries, 4.4% growth per year as compared to 2.2% per year. The greatest demand comes from China with 2013 travel spending equaling USD $129 billion- and this market is expected to continue growing.

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Measuring%20Tourism%20Impacts

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

When is the Right Time to Rebrand a City?

Some time ago I received a phone call from the convention & visitors bureau of a city we worked for about ten years ago. The Executive Director called to ask about the appropriate time to consider rebranding or repositioning his destination.

My first response was to clarify the difference between rebranding and repositioning. Rebranding involves a process where an outdated or irrelevant brand identity is modified and re-launched with a new focus. In the context of places the term “refresh” might be more appropriate. It’s sort of like a facelift and for consumer goods may include a name change, new logo and colors, new website, updated packaging, point of sale material, a new advertising campaign.

On the other hand, repositioning involves efforts to turn the page on issues that may be necessary to completely change people’s attitudes and perceptions toward the place. It could mean major changes to the features, benefits and experiences presented or targeting new audiences, or both. Repositioning comes with considerable risks.

I conveyed to my CVB collage that when it comes to rebranding his destination, the most common conditions that may necessitate the move may include:

  1. Customer behavior and needs have changed and the city’s products, communications, channels and relationships may need to be tweaked.
  2. Major changes with the city’s experience and product offerings may require a different communications focus.
  3. Perceptions of the city among target audiences may have declined to a point where it is necessary to present a more positive and realistic identity for the place.
  4. Adjusting communications to accommodate major changes within the city such as new infrastructure, high profile events or new experiences.
  5. Consideration as to whether new, formidable competitors have entered the market.
  6. The visual identity including the logo and designs are starting to look dated and could use a refresh or a complete redesign.

If there is a difference in the reality between how the city is projected and the actual experiences and reality of the place, then it’s time for rebranding, or maybe even repositioning.

The decision to initiate a rebranding program should not to be taken lightly as it will have wide implications within the DMO, with its partners and will certainly have an impact on customers. The good news is we will soon initiate a brand audit to assess the city’s current situation and then, as needed, we will assist the city with adjustments to re-align the brand.

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/2/