Richard Branson – On Why Entrepreneurs Need Collaboration

In a recent article published in Entrepreneur magazine, Sir Richard Branson explains why the best entrepreneurs and marketers seek out new conversations, new ideas and new ways of doing things.  A common ‘myth’ of innovation and creativity is the belief in the lone creative genius toiling away on their masterpiece. In reality – most breakthroughs require smart, highly motivated, highly communicative, diverse and argumentative small teams of people, energised by good leaderships and working with good processes. This paragraph from this piece from Branson explains it brilliantly; 

” Many people think that an entrepreneur is someone who operates alone, overcoming challenges and bringing his idea to market through sheer force of personality. This is completely inaccurate. Few entrepreneurs — scratch that: almost no one — ever achieved anything worthwhile without help. To be successful in business, you need to connect and collaborate and delegate.Finding ways to meet with people in the real world and build business relationships is becoming ever more important in the digital age. While in some industries it’s possible for employees to limit their communications to email and, if they wish, avoid interacting with colleagues (and their managers), that’s not possible for entrepreneurs, since relationships built on trust are vital to doing business.”

To can read the full piece here: Richard Branson Is Not Going Alone. 

More Myths Of Innovation

I’ve just read Scott Berkun’sMyths of Innovation‘ and Tom Kelley‘s ‘Ten Faces of Innovation’ (both excellent books) – and a recent article by psychologist Art Markman also now helps to support their view – that our obsession with individual heroic endeavor and discovery can often hinder true progress. The cultural myth of lone genius, tortured artist and brilliant technician who solves the worlds problems is still alive and well.

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‘Partnering Is A Matter Of Smarts’ – Says Judith Hurwitz, HBR

Hewlett Packard grew its business using powerful partnerships with Intel (chips) , Oracle (databases) and Cisco (networking) – but as Judith Hurwitz points out in a recent article published in Harvard Business Review (HBR) –  it now needs to revisit and reinvigorate these key relationships to regain its innovative edge.

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Trust & Marketing Partnerships: Part Two

Trust is always a vital but often enigmatic ingredient in collaborative business relationships. In Part One, I explored why, for some people, it is often their biological wiring that leads them to shy away from investing in a new relationship. In this follow-up piece, I am going to look at the commercial aspects of trust – and what you can do to encourage it within marketing partnerships.

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Marketing: Just Getting Away With It?

Brilliant piece by Seth Godin pointing out that most marketing is so often just about doing the minimum one can ‘get away with’ – before your lose customers. The alternative is of course to over service and offer something truly exceptional.  As he would call it: Art.  http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/typepad/sethsmainblog/~3/QLOPM7u9jE8/how-much-can-i-get-away-with.html

Human Beings Make Such Difficult Customers.

According to Sainsburys 70% of consumers at 4.00pm in the afternoon – do not even know what they are going to eat that evening.  Strange isn’t it? Last week I was lucky enough to attend a great session at Henley Management School where Prof. Moira Clark outlined some of the latest thinking on customer management. Serving and understanding them is more difficult than ever – and yet marketers then build systems and employ people who do not make that task any easier…

Continue reading “Human Beings Make Such Difficult Customers.”

My Twitter Conundrum.

Conundrum. ‘A paradoxical, insoluble, or difficult problem; a dilemma’. It was announced last week that Twitter had attracted a further $100m of investment seeing its valuation rise to more than $1B – and all whilst employing 75 people and with hardly any revenue generation (apart from a brilliant plan of selling more equity and JV funding). Having spent 20 years working in media and agencies, selling and buying ideas, campaigns and future plans – this poses me a conundrum. Every media and marketing professional I know understands value, profitability, ROI – as well as brand, innovation and first mover advantage. An ad campaign is not great because it gets fans and plaudits – its great when it achieves marketing results that the advertiser wanted. A media platform is not fabulous when it gets free readers and users – its fabulous when it attracts advertisers or subscribers to help pay for the media platform. As Picasso said ‘ the greatest compliment anyone can make me is to pay me for my work’.Continue reading “My Twitter Conundrum.”

Lessons From Aarhus: And Marketing Functionality

A recent night out in Aarhus, Denmark – the trendy late night student town reinforced to me the importance of how great marketing is linked to great functionality. Again. The Scandanavians certainly adore the craft of making something utilitarian – a work of wonder. The devil (and the style)  – is in the detail and the thinking of the user, not just your budget and your boss. So, some Lessons From Aarhus.

Lessons From Aarhus #1. Our cool, hip and simple hotel does not need to be flash.V. simple Scandanavian design. Functionality = location. We stayed in a hotel with a tiny room featuring furniture that folded in on itself to save time. But when it is located 1 minutes walk to a selection of hip uber-bars and gorgeous Cathederal – then who cares?

Lessons from Aarhus #2. Great functionality is about making things easy to use – not just gadgets. The groovey olive oil bottle we bought in a Danish design store features a clever suction pump, every kind of measure and fits the human hand perfectly to avoid any mishaps. It is impossible to pour the wrong amount or make a spill. It is the opposite of flashy or bling. But is a wonder all the same (and demanded a hefty price tag to boot)Continue reading “Lessons From Aarhus: And Marketing Functionality”

the perfect spice

In the 1600’s – nutmeg, that stuff you can buy in Tesco’s in a little bottle, for less than a £1 – was more precious gram for gram than gold. In fact, the United Kingdom negotiated the purchase of New York from the Dutch king, in return for nutmeg rights in the East Indies.  Weird – but true. The spice was seen as invaluable and commanded a huge price and essentially changed world history ( if you are interested, read the whole story in Nathaniel’s Nutmeg: Or the True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of History).

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