Monthly Archives: January 2015

Show Me The Money

I read something this morning in USAToday that sparked a thought.  I was reading through the various Super Bowl stories and came across a piece on player movement on the Seattle Seahawks.  This was what piqued my interest:  

Michael Bennett had a more lucrative offer to leave the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent last March. But the standout defensive lineman chose to re-sign with the defending champions on a four-year, $28.5 million contract.

His logic was fairly simple.

“If you win, you’ll get more money,” Bennett said Wednesday. “If you’re a champion, people love you more. You get more stuff. You get to hang out. You get to be on TV.

“You can make a lot of money and be on a terrible team, and people don’t even recognize you.”

You may be thinking “what the heck does this have to do with my business, Keith?” but hear me out.  Every one of us at some point gets the opportunity to change jobs.  When we do so, I’d encourage each of us to approach it much the way Mr Bennett has.  Look at the team and the possibility for long-term success.  Being a member of a great team rubs off both in terms of how we’re perceived in the world as well as the standard to which we hold ourselves.  Being the best player of a lousy team may make you financially rich but being a part of a champion team makes you richer beyond your wallet.

It’s also something we need to get our employees to consider.  More money is great.  Is it enough to make up for the damage to your reputation caused by being a member of a lousy business?  What’s are the job prospects beyond the lucrative one?  How long will the terrible team be in business?  The onus is on us to run a championship team.  The onus is on our employees to choose wisely.

Food for thought…

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Reality checks

Expecting Epic, Experiencing Normal

Those of you outside of the northeastern US may have heard that we had a little snow storm here the other day. I got a call from one of my Canadian pals who was inquiring about the devastation foisted upon my home and family. After all, there was virtually no pre-storm shrieking before Buffalo received 8 feet of snow and since CNN had gone wall to wall with blizzard coverage, what was about to hit NYC, Boston, and elsewhere MUST be truly epic.

National Weather Service Caption "Two fee...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not so much.

When I told him that Rancho Deluxe had received barely a foot and the winds were quite a bit less than the hurricane forces many had predicted, he laughed and said “Yeah, up here we call that winter.” I laughed but a business thought popped into my head at the same time.

The nonstop weather warnings, the closure of mass transit and highways, the empty shelves at every supermarket in town all served to set expectations. When the all-time blizzard turned into a large but not record snow event, those expectations were not met. That was fine with me – better safe than sorry. A number of people, however, were actually angry and a meteorologist with the National Weather Service even took to Twitter to apologize for raising expectations and getting it wrong.

The business point is pretty obvious. Overselling and under delivering always means problems. All of us in business need to be careful about how we set expectations and err on the side of caution.  We all go to the airport these days expecting 45 minutes in the security line, a flight on which we’re packed in like cattle, and delays, delays, delays.  Our expectations are so low that when things are actually OK we think it was a great flight.  When our fast-food sandwich looks nothing like the poster hanging on the wall, we shrug our shoulders and eat – who expected anything more?

Your business shouldn’t cause customers to think that their experience with your brand will suck but neither should they believe that what they are about to receive will be the blizzard of 2015.  You need to set realistic expectations and over deliver on them.  If they walk away thinking they got a good value, even if they paid top dollar, everyone wins.  If not, you’ll spend a lot of time digging yourself out, much as we were doing yesterday.  Make sense?

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Filed under Consulting, Thinking Aloud

Trust These Numbers

The folks at Edelman are out with their latest Trust Barometer and the results are interesting. Of course, one can ask “why are they important?” As the study’s sponsors put it:

Trust is a forward-facing metric of stakeholder expectation. It is an asset that institutions must understand and properly build in order to be successful in today’s complex world.

I agree. So what did they find?

The study surveyed 6,000 “informed publics” aged 25-64 across 27 markets, finding that online search engines are now the most trusted source of general news. Search also widened its lead over newspapers and TV as the first source for general information and the source used by most to confirm and validate news.

In other words, what you and I might consider as traditional media sources of news and information have fallen behind search engines.  Not surprising in some ways since the “always on” version of traditional media is skewed one way or another with respect to how things are reported. The issue with search is “garbage in – garbage out“.  While algorithms tend to give more weight to “credible” sources such as the same traditional media outlets we might discount on other platforms, many of the highly read digital sources pop up on search engine result pages on an equal footing.  The obvious issue is that many of the newer outlets offer as much quality control as a blind man in a paint factory.

That said, once you become a source, you stay there:

  • Friends and family (72%) and academic experts (70%) are the most trusted sources of information consumed by informed publics on social networking sites, content sharing sites, and online-only information sources. Informed publics are almost twice as likely to trust content created by companies they use (60%) as content from brands they don’t use (32%).
  • 8 in 10 informed publics have chosen to buy products and services from a company they trust during the past year, and 68% have recommended them to a friend or colleague.

So whom do you trust?  More importantly, what are you doing to cultivate trust among your stakeholders?


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Filed under Consulting, digital media