Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

Is Your Tourism Marketing Tapping into Visitor Feelings?

This article is written by Bill Baker, Chief Strategist at Total Destination Marketing, author, speaker, and blogger at “Small City Branding around the world”

Along my career as Marketing Consultant I have observed how successful places focus on delivering emotional and social benefits. They are concerned by how they will make people feel, rather than relying on boring lists, facts and details. I recently came across similar comments by brand strategist Megan Kent where she said, “Marketers haven’t been using all the tools available to them because they assume that consumers make decisions rationally. While the rational, or ‘thinking’ part of the brain does play a role, it’s most often there to simply validate, or put into words a decision that our subconscious mind has already made for us.” Exactly!

Megan goes on to explain, “In order to reach the neo-cortex, i.e. the ‘thinking’ brain, our messages need to first pass muster with the older parts of our brain, the parts that are far more primal and emotionally oriented.”

We see this at work when visitors make decisions and purchases. Yet, it’s amazing how many places still try to promote themselves by using uninteresting lists of local attractions, businesses and services. While this information does have a role later in their decision-making, it is rarely important at an early stage when prospects are forming their initial awareness and preference for a place.  Lists alone don’t make emotional connections. Prospective visitors first need to be convinced of what is appealing and special about the place, and how it’s going to make them feel.

“Science now tells us that the data stored in our subconscious minds (our feelings, memories, emotions) are the primary drivers in 90% of the decisions that we make. So it turns out that ‘going with our gut’ isn’t just a once-in-a while phenomenon. The truth is we actually ‘go with our gut’ almost all of the time. As Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman puts it, ‘we think much less than we think we think,’” Megan added.

Megan was one of the architects for Brand USA, America’s first global tourism campaign. “We knew that if we used a rational approach to selling the USA, we’d come up against foreigner cynicism, especially regarding U.S. foreign policy and immigration restrictions. But by using a completely non-verbal, emotional approach, the campaign has surpassed target goals.”

Are your marketing communications aimed at the “thinking” or the “feeling” parts of your customers’ brains?

Article reposted with permission from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/2/

Culture changeMarketing 3.0

Developing leadership for change: 4 levels of leadership (II)

Following with the explanation of The Leadership Circle Profile’s 4 levels of leadership, hereby are presented the two most interesting and necessary leadership levels for culture change as well as for the development of destinations 3.0: Creative leadership and Integral leadership.

Creative leadership. In the transition to the Creative Mind, the leader opens the mind by leaving old assumptions behind and exploring the inner self in search of a more authentic identity in connection with the soul. In this stage, leaders analyze the values they are willing to stand for and reflect upon the purposes they want to strive for, depicting a new vision of who they want to become and how they want to contribute to achieve these purposes with their leadership. The definition of the new self is configured from the inside out. In this stage, action is no longer driven by the social standards but by a sense of inner purpose, developing creativity, feeling more freedom and motivated by fulfillment rather than for appreciation.

The Creative leader is driven by self-expression and cooperation, encouraging others to follow the same development path, developing new and better leaders within the organization. This leadership style is characterized by many new competencies, classified into five categories:

  • Achieving, the ability to envision and attain results
  • Systems awareness, the capability to design organizational systems for higher performance
  • Authenticity, the willingness to act with integrity to tell the truth even when it is risky
  • Self-Awareness, balance, composure, emotional intelligence, and ongoing development
  • Relating, the capability to relate well to others, build teams, collaborate, and develop people.

The Creative stage is the first level –within the TLCP framework- from which it is possible to create lean, engaged, innovative, visionary, high-fulfillment organizations and to transform the culture in accordance with the new challenges of the XXI century.

This type of leader is mainly focused on developing new leaders by depicting the vision, engaging others and making them realize how the vision also sets their path to fulfillment, and empowering them to cooperate to achieve their common purposes.

Integral leadership. The stage beyond the Creative mind aspires to be a servant of the whole stakeholder system by working on a vision that goes beyond the interests of the organization, to create positive impacts also for the outside stakeholders and caring for the community’s common good to the largest extent. This type of leader develops the ability to tackle complex systemic challenges that require a great deal of listening, dialogue, reflection and vision for the development of complex and integrative solutions. Only 5% of leaders reach this stage, which accounts for the best performance score of all, around the 90th percentile. This can only be achieved through the development of a higher consciousness capable of envisioning larger and more complex systems where to develop multiple synergies.

The intended legacy of this kind of leader is a mission driven organization connected to society in order to address many of its concerns related to the environment and social challenges such as poverty alleviation. This is a leadership style designed for advancing towards global sustainability and common good. It is therefore the best possible leadership for developing destinations towards the vision of Tourism 3.0.

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

Why Storytelling is So Important to Marketing

In relation with my article Transmedia Storytelling as the future of digital marketing, a lot of the thinking behind it was related to my work at Limelight Networks and our recent pivot towards becoming the leader in digital presence management. The gist was this: our emerging multi-device behavior coupled with a growing “always on” existence requires that marketing messages are consistent across the devices. Transmedia storytelling is simply a vehicle by which to enable that.

But that brings up the question, “why storytelling?”

A (Brief) Understanding of Stories

Why do we love stories? Why do we like to tell them? Why do we like to listen to them, watch them, and read them? Aristotle believed that they embodied fundamental, visceral responses to our own lives so we watched them as a reflection of us. But he felt that plot, and the ability to create a powerful structure, are more important than character or dialogue: “…every drama alike has spectacle, character, plot, diction, song and reasoning. But the most important of them is the structure of the events” (Poetics). What Aristotle didn’t consider was the personification of the events and the environment. When there is only an event, the event itself becomes the character. In essence, Aristotle had it correct, but he didn’t quite understand why. It is only through decades and centuries of philosophical, neurological, and psychological inquiry that we understand the human need to personify, to make things relate to ourselves (egotistically, of course). And, that is ultimately why we enjoy them. They provide us a mechanism to create connection and, ultimately, shape our own identities (a topic that I explored deeply during my graduate studies and hope to return to for my doctorate). What will throw you for a loop is to consider that everything we do in life, every bit of news, every bit of memory and photograph, is a story that we shape to our own needs (either to support who we are, through both negative and positive connotation, or what we want to do). It goes back to that connection. Whether we watch or act, our brains actively work to create a connection between what’s happening in the story and our own identities.

The Impact of Stories on Marketing

According to Maslow, there is a hierarchy of needs that drive all human motivation. In a commercial economy, those needs are often actualized by purchases. So you purchase base necessities first (the physiological needs according to Maslow) and then eventually luxuries, etc. Although I think Maslow’s work needs a revisit, it’s a fair framework. It’s possible that the digital world upsets those hierarchies and that long-term modification is in order. But, whatever aspect of the hierarchy comes first, influence is critical especially in a highly competitive commercial market (i.e., a global digital economy). There are simply too many products (and too many merchants selling the same products) that without influence, failure is pre-determined.

How then can a marketer create the most influence? How do they stand out from competitive products (and competitive merchants)? Easy. They create an emotional connection between the potential customer and the product/company.

Why the World of Marketing Today is So Different Than Before

The economy is globalizing. Plain and simple. Here’s why:

  • E-commerce. Anyone, anywhere in the world can setup a shop online and sell products.
  • Global logistics. UPS, DHL, Fedex. These and other companies have established a worldwide distribution network.
  • Product digitization. Mobile applications, desktop software, music, movies, books.

Because of this global economy, traditional “spray and pray” marketing no longer works. In the past, regional and physical boundaries minimized product competition. There may have been only several product competitors in any given area. That no longer applies. In the global, digital economy, competitors can appear overnight. Boundaries are removed. Companies that once benefited from “spray and pray” in local or regionalized markets find themselves now competing with hundreds of competitors simultaneously. Hoping that marketing messages get heard ensures that they don’t.

Today, marketers are intrinsically worried about the “noise:” all those other messages about similar products, and so they seek any way to set themselves apart. The way to do that most effectively is by creating an emotional connection with the customer. By telling a story.

A Message That’s not a Message

Marketers as storytellers are doing something fundamentally different than marketers of before: they are focusing on establishing a connection between customer and message first and selling the product second. They are telling a story in which the product or service is an element. Perhaps it is the catalyst for change (i.e., a character in the story uses the product and is changed for the better or worse) or perhaps it helps move the story along. Whatever, the product or service only serves a role. The story is primary.

And, because of that, the message sounds more genuine. Although consumers ultimately understand that the message is intended to convince them to buy the product or service, they are emotionally connected to the characters (or the “action” of the story in the event that such action is personified) because it is a story. They see the character as a representation of their own needs (back to Maslow). Because that character uses the product, the need is transferred. Of course, this works in both directions. When there is a negative association with the characters within the message, the character’s needs for the product (i.e., how they are using it) become a reason not to purchase.

Why Transmedia Storytelling Will Be the Most Impactful

Which leads us back to Transmedia Storytelling. In 1964, Marshal McLuhan coined a phrase: “The medium is the message.” Although I won’t go into details here (there are plenty of resource that explain McLuhan’s philosophy), the basic tenant is that how the message is delivered has just as much impact as the content of the message itself. So a message delivered via a movie versus via a written page versus  still images affects the message which is hugely important when trying to create an emotional connection between the customer and the characters in the story. And, mediums are multi-dimensional. So video on a mobile is still different from video on TV just as video on a flip-phone is different from video on a smartphone. It is critically important that marketers understand how McLuhan’s original philosophy is impacted by the digital world. He never foresaw the number of channels and methods by which a message can get delivered.

Why is this important? It goes back to creating connection. Some customers will find appeal in certain messages delivered via certain channels. That’s what McLuhan was truly after. To appeal to the broadest set of customers, then, marketers must craft stories that take advantage of their mediums. Ultimately, you can call it whatever you want. Right now we have Transmedia Storytelling. Tomorrow it may be another term. Regardless of the name, it’s a framework for marketers to tell stories that leverage the medium by which the message is delivered (i.e., TV vs phone) and in which the message is delivered (i.e., videos vs. text vs. pictures, etc.).

 This blog post is from www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/08/31/why-storytelling-is-so-important-to-marketing/

Culture changeMarketing 3.0

Developing leadership for change: 4 levels of leadership (I)

Regardless of the culture they belong to, leaders develop through a series of sequential stages.  According to The Leadership Circle Profile –a reference methodological framework for leadership development- at each progressive developmental stage, the way we manage the self-world relationship changes, shifting the self towards a more complex and superior Inner Operating System (IOS). With this “new operating system”, the leader is able to handle more complexity with greater ease and efficiency. The person experiences a leap forward in creativity, effectiveness, freedom, power, and joy, becoming capable of greater contribution.

The culture change process takes place first in the consciousness of every person. Then, every individual influences the system to change it, and the new system encourages more people to experience their personal leap forward. As soon as a critical mass has developed, the new stage is achieved and consolidated, reducing significantly the chances of leaping back to the previous stage, and setting the stage for a leap forward towards higher-order leadership level. Therefore, the organization performs in accordance with the level of consciousness of its individuals. Actually, resistance to change is mostly derived from the difficulties that individuals have in making this leap forward in consciousness. This needs coaching and support. The four leadership stages are: egocentric, reactive, creative, and integral.

Egocentric leadership. This stage starts at the age of 8 and usually finishes at the end of the adolescence or early adulthood. This is characterized by relating the identity with the ability to meet ones needs, and so the social relationships are built in view of satisfying the personal needs only. Unavoidably, the strength of egocentricity is the capacity to get the personal needs satisfied and gain independence. So long as the egocentric are not aware about the others’ needs, they do not take these needs into account when making decisions. There is a total absence of shared reality in this personal stage, and so the growth path consists of taking others’ concerns into account and defining the identity co-relationally in a way that loyalty shifts from self-loyalty to the social loyalty. Around 5% of leaders operate in this stage.

Unfortunately, some people do not fully make the leap forward to the next stage and remain egocentric in their adulthood. The Egocentric mind is normal in adolescence, but pathology in adulthood. Leaders with egocentric mindsets tend to be autocratic and controlling, pretending that employees exist to serve them. This turns into an oppressive and destructive leadership.

Reactive leadership. The challenge of the Reactive Mind is to develop the ability to cooperate with others and within organizations. Leaders at this stage build their identities from the outside in: their self-worth is determined by their ability to meet the expectations of their social environment. To feel successful and worthwhile they need the approval of the others, which is based upon a set of standard cultural values.

These leaders are defined according to their capabilities, in three categories:

  • They define their identity around the relationship skills, developed by leveraging their big-hearted nature, and tend to give up too much power to be accepted.
  • Controlling. This type of leader tends to use power to achieve what they want, using people for their own profit. These leaders define themselves through their achievements.
  • Protecting. These leaders build their identity upon their intellectual superiority. They are distant in relation to others, thus limiting their capacity to influence.

By focusing on their capabilities they eventually over-use these strengths, and this excessive use becomes a weakness and their main limitation, so long as they restrict the range of options when dealing with any challenge. This obviously limits their leadership effectiveness. This mindset is programmed to perpetuate the status quo, and so whenever there is a challenge, the leader will focus on fixing the problems in a way that everything gets back to the previous state, without making any leap forward on the model to address the root of the problem. Further, the lack of vision makes it barely impossible to anticipate challenges and take action accordingly, and so he or she is only moved by the reaction to the problems when they arise, and this reaction is driven according to the standard procedures of the cultural environment to meet the expected results of this environment.

With regards to the Egocentric style, Reactive style replaces the loyalty to the self with the institutional loyalty. This is characterized by relationships based on loyalty and obedience, and bureaucratic oriented hierarchies. Nowadays, however, most change efforts intend to create leaner, flatter and engaged cultures, which require more ownership and creative accountability at the lower levels of hierarchy. The Reactive leadership is not ready for such kind of culture transformation, and so a higher-order mindset is needed. There comes the Creative mind. It is estimated that about the 70% of leaders operate in the Reactive level or in transition towards the Creative stage, so this is the kind of leader we are more likely to deal with.

The explanation of the Leadership Circle Profile’s 4 levels of leadership is to be completed with another upcoming blog post.

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.

 

Collaborative business modelsMarketing 3.0StrategyTourism trends

Collaborative tourism: is it an original business model?

When we talk about collaborative tourism or tourism peer to peer, we refer to a new trend in the way of traveling based upon sharing basic resources such as accommodation, transport means or personal experiences with other travelers through platforms where the host publishes his/her offer and the tourist makes the booking.

Theoretically, this phenomenon comes from the collaborative economy model, where consumers may also become suppliers by sharing their means with other consumers, also operating on a global scope, prioritizing human relationship above competition and selfishness. The presentation results in being attractive to more and more tourists, who do not really know the business model completely.

Due to the constant transformation of the virtual economy, the task of identifying and describing virtual business models has turned to be quite hard. However, since this P2P platform business model usually determines it’s success, it is no longer unknown: platforms meet the needs of both supplier and buyer, and take a commission from the booked services price.

Checking the four main collaborative platforms operating in Spain for the four types of services available (eating, accommodation, transport and experiences), we find that their revenue sources are not so different from the traditional tourism intermediation models:

  • AirBnB: charges a commission between 6 to 12%, plus 3% of the conversion rate.
  • BlaBlaCar: depending on the amount of the transaction, it charges 1,60€ for transactions from 1 to 8€ or a commission of 20% for transactions of more than 8€.
  • EatWith: it takes a commission of 15% of the transaction.
  • Trip4Real: it takes 25% of the transaction.

A similar procedure is used for any other tourism intermediary, such as a travel agency, a tour-operator, broker, etc. The difference remains in that these intermediaries comply with the regulations in terms of safety, health and taxes, whereas most of the accommodation and transport means offered in the collaborative platforms do not comply with them.

Therefore, the consumer of collaborative platforms pays a lower price due to the non-compliance with the aforementioned regulations, and takes the risk of suffering any kind of accident without the safety prevention means. Furthermore, despite the social sharing philosophy upon which the platform is created, many suppliers operate for profit rather than for the aim of sharing cost or experiences. However, this is difficult to prove and control.

The hospitality sector’s opinion. The outburst of the tourism collaborative platforms has transformed many housing apartments into competitors for the hotels and regulated tourist apartments, and so it has turned into an important issue for the Public Administration.

According to the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Apartments, there are only two possible solutions to this conflict: the total banning of the platform operations –as has happened in many major cities-, or the obligation for the apartments to comply with the same regulations as the current regulated tourist apartments.

It is necessary to take into account that the tourism sector in Spain is hyper-regulated. There are around 250 regulations at the European level referring to intellectual property, consume, safety and payment means, plus those from the local administration. All in all it entails a great deal of costs that do not apply to the collaborative platform operators, including the VAT, the police files, fiscal and sanitary costs. This is clearly a case of unfair competition. In this regard, there are many points to consider:

  • The regulations applying to these tourist housing apartments are different for every region in Spain, for it is necessary for the destination regulators to study them all in detail.
  • It is necessary to consider the product separately from the platform, taking into account that the platform operation is similar to the traditional channels such as the travel agencies, and so the same regulations should apply.
  • The evolution of the global society is likely to propel this paradigm beyond the current conditions, demanding solutions in terms of adapting the new regulation and policies.

This blog post is from  http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/turismo-colaborativo/

 

Culture changeMarketing 3.0

Creating and communicating a vision for culture change (II)

The Case for Change is the best formula to structure and communicate the vision for change. The leader’s objective with the Case for Change is to establish baseline level of awareness and understanding of the changes. Once defined, it’s time to implement it following five principles:

  • Train employees and stakeholders on how to apply the new set of values on a daily basis.
  • Put the new values into practice by changing behaviors
  • Leaders have to preach by example, becoming the role models that inspire everybody
  • Ensure that everyone is aligned with the new values and behaviors, and correct if necessary
  • Celebrate results achieved by any employee or community member to encourage others

The key ideas of driving culture change to understand are that this has to be started from the leadership positions, practicing what you preach, communicating to convince their organization or community while listening, understanding and addressing their possible resistance, achieving and celebrating results, and benefiting all stakeholders to engage them further.

To communicate the vision and the Case for Change effectively, the storytelling techniques can provide us with many tips. Effective leaders tell stories that position them and their organizations as change agents instead of defenders of the status quo. Stories are pull strategy: they allow people to decide for themselves, which is one of the great hallmarks of effective influence. In the case of destinations shifting their model it will be necessary to explain to them the model vision in a compelling way that connects first with their emotions and human spirit, to open their want for a deeper understanding of the process and purpose.

Stories are the best way to help people imagine how the new model is likely to improve their current status quo, how it creates value and improves the community’s life quality. Stories convey the new model ideas to the people’s minds describing them in a way that overcomes resistance, the most likely reaction to new model propositions challenging the status quo. By capturing people’s attention, stories are to pave the way for an in-depth presentation.

Such destination’s vision is not only necessary to convince the community members to integrate, but also a guiding force that constantly aligns everyone’s efforts on their contribution to expand the destination model to the utmost of its potential and to accomplish the mission statement.

When crafting the case for change, it is convenient to craft some stories that illustrate for an individual what the change is going to be like, escaping formality to make it more familiar to the audience. Then, it is necessary to remind of the basic features that good stories share:

  • A strong sense of a plot: the story should provide listeners with a sense that the organization is going somewhere exciting
  • Meaning that drives action: employees should be able to say “I know what to do in my area because it fits with my values and where we are going”
  • Multiple and consistent versions: each person who hears the story should be motivated by it in different yet compatible ways
  • Inevitable: listeners should come away thinking “it had to happen that way”.

Further, stories are effective for culture change purposes when they are:

  • Simple: listeners are not overwhelmed with detailed facts and information
  • Relevant: the purpose and theme of the story matters to those who hear it
  • Inclusive: everyone can see themselves in the story
  • Emotional: the story excites, delights, surprises, or otherwise moves the listener at an emotional level. It engages multiple senses.
  • Friendly, not cynical: even sad stories should leave the listener feeling hope, understanding or satisfaction.
  • Shared by many people: the story is interesting and important enough to be shared over and over again. The best stories get more compelling when they are shared and refined as part of a dialogue before being passed on.

Beyond the story itself, mastering the art of storytelling to make stories compelling requires several skills and strategies to take into account:

  • The teller should convey his or her own personal energy, excitement, and conviction. Using phrases such as “I feel…”, “I am doing this because…”, “I want to go for this…”, or “I know we can do this” may help in transmitting positive vibrations.
  • Providing context, like using a global perspective to gain understanding about the threats that force the change or raise ambition about the scale of the opportunity
  • Being clear on the rationale for change by drawing on both the burning platform (the need for change) and the shining beacon (what can be achieved with the change)
  • Using simple language that is relevant to the audience, translating technical terms into words that everybody can understand easily
  • Showing personal commitment, making it clear what would be done differently and how the staff are to be supported during the change process.
  • Using tested rhetorical techniques so long as the teller can build them into his/her own style. For example, using repetition for emphasis like “I believe we can do this, I believe we have the skills to do this, I believe we need to do this, etc.”

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.

Culture change

Overcoming resistance to change

Changing the culture of a complex system like a destination model requires a leader’s mindset at least as complex as the system that has to be changed.  In most of the cases, the change entails moving forward towards a more complex system, which not all leaders are ready to tackle. For instance, moving from Patriarchy to Partnership requires that Controlling leaders share power and lose part of the control, which is the scariest thing they could do. Instead, Complying leaders have to take on power and risks, challenging their worst fears.

As it is explained in the section “Four levels of leadership”, every type of leader has its own challenges, and overcoming them requires a great deal of courage, humility and mindfulness, among other attitudes. There are many reasons why cultures are difficult to change, so long as the cultural values are deeply ingrained into the policies and practices of the organization. Therefore, when leaders want to implement change, not only they have to review the organizational goals and behaviors, but also the KPIs, the professional profiles needed and the training procedures.

Barriers to change. Throughout the change process, leaders are likely to come across many barriers that block or deaccelerate the change progress. The main ones are the following:

  • “Not-invented here” syndrome: workers mistrust the new methods that have been developed outside and have not yet proven to be successful in their organization. In this regard, many may feel that “alien know-how” challenges their corporate pride, especially in the top management levels. People believe in what they have seen to work.
  • Feeling threatened: many employees may feel that they are rather likely to be part of the problem than to be part of the solution, and so they feel threatened by change. Their natural reaction may be to resist in group, to make it impossible, believing that the leaders are not likely to replace them all, because it is too costly.
  • Business as usual: many people are so used to operating according to certain procedures that it is really challenging for them to change them. They have serious difficulties adapting to new rules so long as the old ones bring them security and confidence. They are likely to follow the inertia of the old procedures as soon as they hesitate about the new ones.
  • Misunderstandings: lack of communication effectiveness is one of the most current obstacles to implementing culture change. So long as change entails shifting to another operating system and not just some operational changes, complexity always arouses many questions and misalignments that expand the chances for misunderstandings.
  • Different assessments: no matter how brilliant the change leaders can be, it is difficult to prevent the employees thinking by themselves and so they have different assessments and opinions about the problems and the solutions, the advantages and disadvantages. This is likely to arouse discussions and at least, to slow down the change process.

Strategies to manage resistance to change. In accordance with the level of resistance, there are some strategies to tackle it ranged from the least to the most extreme:

  • Education & Communication: employees need to understand the logic of the change effort, the reasons why they have to create change. Education and communication can be an effective practice to convince them to buy into the change and clear misunderstandings.
  • Participation & Involvement: another effective way to engage employees into the change effort is to let them participate in the design of the process, as active players of the challenge, instead of letting them play only a passive and reactive role.
  • Facilitation & Support: beyond the mentioned strategies, manager’s coaching, mentoring and support is likely to be necessary in many cases, to help some employees deal with their fears and insecurities during the process. This may entail dedicating time off work with them.
  • Negotiation and Agreement: when resistance is stronger, this may be tackled with a negotiation including an incentive system to stimulate them to perform according to the change planning. This makes them feel empowered instead of feeling obligated.
  • Neutralizing resistance leaders: most organizations have some informal leaders, with a more or less strong influential capacity on the rest of the group. Neutralizing their negative influence on resisting change may be a solution, by convincing, relocating or firing them.

Beyond the strategies in accordance with the resistance level, it is important that the change instructions are personalized for every type of worker, or even tailored individually in some cases. Individuals’ performance has to be tracked and rewarded according to redesigned metrics to sustain and stimulate the intended behaviors and focus of attention.

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 3.0Tourism marketingTourism trends

Tomorrow’s DMOs Must Become Brand Managers

This article is written by Bill Baker, Chief Strategist at Total Destination Marketing, author, speaker, and blogger at “Small City Branding around the world”

It seems that every other day I see more evidence that the role of destination marketing organizations (DMOs) is under greater threats and challenges than ever before. The diminishing role of print and broadcast advertising, the ready availability of new sources of unbiased destination information and new distribution systems all challenge DMOs to redefine the value that they add for their community. They must not only adjust to reduced budgets, but also avoid the ongoing technological and consumer behavior changes that are totally reshaping the game. Added to that, there are now previously unseen competitors and alternatives that threaten to replace them. Never before has the relevance and role of DMOs been as hotly debated.

It’s not hard to find DMOs that have had their budgets decimated or even worse are closing their doors. In most cases, this is extremely short-termed thinking where the objective has been to balance the City’s bottom line because of shortfalls in taxes and revenue. Cities that are serious about economic development and tourism, and the long term prosperity and growth of their communities need their DMO and the stellar reputation for their city like never before. However, in this environment DMOs must adjust their focus, role and the way that they operate. Specifically, they must become brand managers on behalf of their cities.

These challenges have been addressed by DMAI in its excellent DestinationNEXT Report which provides an important strategic roadmap for DMOs to succeed in the future. The Report reveals three transformational opportunities that DMO have to effectively address in this rapidly changing world. These transformational opportunities are:

  1. Dealing with the new marketplace
  2. Building and protecting the destination brand
  3. Evolving the DMO business model

Recommending that DMOs become brand managers by building and protecting their brand is not new to the TDM team. We have been advocating this for more than a decade.

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/

Culture changeMarketing 3.0

Kotter’s model of culture change

John Kotter’s change model is a reference model for all professionals dedicated to culture change. It is structured in 8 steps:

  1. Create a sense of urgency, awareness and desire. Change leader should first open an honest and convincing dialogue about what’s happening in the marketplace and with your competition, to make the audience foresee the threats and opportunities to tackle. When many people start talking about the proposed change, the urgency can build and feed on itself. In that sense, the leader should:
  • Identify potential threats, and develop scenarios showing what could happen in the future.
  • Examine opportunities that should be or could be exploited
  • Start honest talks, and give convincing reasons to get people discussing and thinking.
  • Request support from customers and outside stakeholders to strengthen your arguments.

Kotter states that for a change to be successful, 75% of a firm’s management has to “buy into” the change, which means to spend time and energy creating urgency, before moving on.

  1. Create a powerful coalition. Culture change has not only to be managed, but also has to be led, and so change leaders should be found throughout the organization. To lead change, you need to gather a coalition of influential people whose power comes from a variety of sources (job title, status, expertise, and political importance). Once the change coalition is created, it needs to work as a team and continue to build urgency and momentum around the need for change. This could be done by:
  • Identifying the true leaders in the organization and the key stakeholders
  • Asking for an emotional commitment from these influencers
  • Working on team building within your change coalition
  • Ensuring that you have a mix of people from different areas and levels in the organization
  1. Depict a vision for change. The coalition members have probably great ideas, but these should be linked to create an overall vision that people can understand and remember easily. To help them understand the vision and move them to take action, the leaders should:
  • Determine the values that are central to the change
  • Craft a short summary that captures what they see as the future of the organization
  • Design a strategy to execute that vision
  • Ensure that their change coalition can describe the vision in no more than five minutes
  • Practice their “vision speech” often
  1. Communicate the vision. Once you have created your vision your success will be determined by how effectively, frequently and powerfully you communicate it. You should actually try to embed it within everything that you do, like using it daily to make decisions and solve problems. When you keep it fresh on everyone’s minds, they’ll remember it and respond to it. What you do is far more important than what you say. Walk your talk to be credible.

 

Show the behavior you want from others by practicing what you preach. This can be done by:

  • Talking often about your change vision, linking it to all the aspects of operations
  • Listening to the people’s understanding of the vision and concerns, to clear doubts and reformulate the speech if necessary
  • Addressing peoples’ concerns and anxieties, openly and honestly
  • Leading by example
  1. Remove obstacles. Is there anyone or anything resisting the change? Once the structure for change is put in place, it is necessary to remove obstacles, empowering the needed people to move the change forward in the direction of the vision. This can be done by:
  • Identifying or hiring leaders in charge of delivering the change
  • Ensuring that the organizational structure and incentive systems are in line with the vision.
  • Recognizing and rewarding people for their contribution to make the change happen.
  • Identifying people who are resisting the change, and helping them see what’s needed
  1. Create short-term achievements. It is very convenient to get a taste of victory in the early stages of the process, achieving some visible and relevant results to keep critics and negative thinkers away from the spotlight. To do so, it is necessary to create short term goals as milestones along the whole process, so as to keep the organization members engaged with the change process. This can be done by:
  • Looking for sure-fire projects that you can implement without help from any change critics
  • Not choosing expensive early targets. The project investments should be easy to justify
  • Thoroughly analyzing the pros and cons of every target, to choose attainable goals
  • Rewarding those who help in meeting the goals

  1. Build on the change process. Many change projects fail because victory is declared too early. The change process takes time until it is fully completed and quick successes are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change. Each win provides an opportunity to build on what is right and identify what needs to improve. This can be done by:
  • Analyzing what went right and what should have worked better after every success
  • Setting goals to continue building on the momentum that is being achieved
  • Learning about kaizen, the concept of continuous improvement
  • Bringing in new change agents and leaders for the change coalition to keep ideas fresh
  1. Anchor the changes in corporate culture. To make any change stick, the values behind the vision must show in day-to-day work, and so it is necessary to make continuous efforts to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of the organization. It’s also important that the organization’s leaders continue to support the change. This can be done by:
  • Talking about progress every chance you get. Tell success stories about the change process, and repeat other stories that you hear.
  • Including the change ideals and values when hiring and training new staff
  • Publicly recognizing key members of the original change coalition, and making sure the rest of the staff remember their contributions.
  • Creating plans to replace key leaders as they move on to ensure that their legacy is not lost

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.

Culture changeMarketing 3.0

Creating and communicating a vision for culture change (I)

Once the current culture has been diagnosed and culture change inhibitors have been identified, it is necessary to craft a vision depicting the future reality that we want to achieve and the path towards this achievement. The new vision statement has to depict both the new destination model as well as how and why the culture has to be changed. So long as the culture change is an essential step towards achieving this vision statement, communicating why the culture needs to change and the benefits it will bring is the first step to take.

A vision that depicts a feasible path towards a state where the challenges have been overcome is a tremendous motivator and mobilizer. Research indicates that employees respond extremely well in terms of positivity, engagement, and of course productivity, when the company leaders have a clearly articulated and communicated vision that responds to people’s concerns and aspirations, as long as the leaders really walk their talk and results meet expectations along the way.

A well-crafted vision is essential to align the workforce and motivate them to make change happen. To be effective, the future vision has to comply with these six conditions:

  • Imaginable: it conveys a clear picture of what the future will look like upon attainment of the vision statement.
  • Desirable: it appeals to the long-term interest of employees, customers, shareholders and others who have a stake in the enterprise.
  • Feasible: it contains realistic and attainable goals that stakeholders believe can be achieved.
  • Focused: it is clear enough to provide guidance in decision-making and serves as a true north that aligns the actions of others.
  • Flexible: it allows individual initiative and contingency plans in light of changing environment conditions
  • Communicable: it is easy to communicate and to understand by the stakeholder audience.

Engaging people in the change process requires first the establishment of a sense of urgency, according to Kotter 8 step process for leading change. One of the best ways to do so is to craft a powerful case for change. This consists of a story that explains the change process that is coming to the organization. Its objective is to provide a common baseline of awareness and understanding among stakeholders. When facing the audience you should be able to tell the story in 10-15 slides and include visuals and graphics to enhance the story whenever possible.

The major content pieces to incorporate in the Case for Change story are the following:

Context: set the stage by explaining why changes are needed now, mainly referring to the opportunities and threats that make it necessary.

Changes: explain what will change, who will be impacted by the changes and to what extent, stating also what is not going to change.

Process: describe how the changes will be implemented and its expected timing, providing the next steps and introducing the team members who will lead the change.

Benefits: highlight the expected benefits as a result of the changes. Be sure to address all levels of benefits: enterprise-wide, specific divisions, and individual roles.

Consequences of delay: list out the consequences of delaying the changes. These are the counterpoints to those who would say “we can wait until next year to do this”.

Expectations: inform your stakeholders about what is expected from them. Make it clear that everyone has a role to play in successfully implementing the changes.

Commitment: the top leader should present the Case for change first. Then, subordinate leaders should present it to their teams, stating their commitments to make them accountable to their employees.

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.