business strategy

What Has Changed about Change?

innovation in a text message

What has changed about change? It’s the velocity. The time between major changes in business has been accelerated in the last 5-10 years. Every 6 months (or sooner) we see something new from our favourite companies.

In a recent interview on Small Business Advocate with Jim Blasingame. Ken Tencer, discusses “Innovation as a way of life, not a means to an end“. The need for change has made innovation and ideas the new currency for business. The good news is that it doesn’t need to be monumental every time. Innovation can be something small, like the taxi company texting their customers waiting for a ride, to tell them that their cab is 1 mile away. It’s a simple change in the way that the company interacts with their customers, allowing customers to be aware that the company is serving them well. Answering the age old question, “where is my cab?” Making the wait for a taxi more bearable.

You simply need to begin by asking, what does the end user or customer really want? How can our business help them get what they’re looking for? What can we change to make the customer experience better than ever and make them come back, time and again?

Delight your customers and they will delight your bottom-line.

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Where’s your brand equity when you need it?

branding brand equity

I think that there’s something perversely poignant about Bell appealing to its Canadian consumers to go to bat for it with the CRTC. But, maybe I’m missing something. As I understand it, the CRTC is ready to grant Verizon the right to compete with Bell, Rogers and Telus for our mobile phone business. The Canadian companies are objecting. They feel that the CRTC is tilting the playing field in favour of an American mega-company.

In a sense, this multi-media advertorial campaign by Bell and by Rogers is a referendum on their brands. Do we care about them enough to support them against the threat of a foreign invader?

Both Bell and Rogers began as monopolies. The government granted them exclusivity and they both grew fat and happy. They thrived because consumers didn’t have a choice. And even after de-regulation of their markets, these are companies that have chosen to go for immediate profit rather than long term relationships. They have milked the Canadian cow for every dime they could squeeze out of it, and now, sorry for the mixed agricultural metaphor, the chickens have come home to roost. Bell and Rogers are turning to their customers for help and we are not coming to their rescue.

Is it because these are brands that don’t offer globally competitive pricing? Is it because the entire Canadian mobile phone marketplace is based on confusing and confounding contracts? Or is it because these are brands that haven’t earned our trust, admiration or loyalty?

And, about the argument that Verizon won’t create jobs in Canada? The last time I called the Bell Sympatico help line, I spoke to a gentleman overseas. You haven’t listened to me as your consumer, Bell and Rogers. Why should I come to your rescue with the CRTC?
Can you hear me now?

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DayBreak USA: Ken Tencer Talks Constant Innovation

constant-innovation-retail

Retail strategist at Kurt Salmon, Nancy Liu recently told the Dow Jones News wire that “there’s a dichotomy among retailers.  If your middle class you’re not going to spend freely across stores because you’re concerned about money.  This makes for a more competitive environment for retailers.”

The model remains “how do you best get your goods to the customer?” Retail is not just about the boxes.  Retail is really about making those small transactions and getting your goods into the hands of the customer.   Best Buy has continued to innovate by looking at rebuilding their foot prints while adding new formats for mobile and on the go express kiosks in airport terminals; all attempts to be more convenient and customer friendly.

Retailers need to rethink the retail model and figure out how to get what the customer wants from them where they want it.  Though Amazon is challenging Walmart for leadership in non-grocery retail sales, there are still a lot of items people like to touch, feel and try on.  Bricks and mortar can become smaller and online larger but the brand experience needs to remain consistent across all platforms.  It’s about being willing to constantly innovate in response to consumer trends.  Understand what’s made you successful in the past and translate that message to your online brand.

If you’re worried about being left behind as your competitors engage in constant innovation, listen to my radio interview with Jay Young, DayBreak USA.

For more, read Innovations Aren’t Us and Best Buy in a Small Box.

Jay Young is the host of DayBreak USA, radio’s first national morning magazine show.  For the past 25 years, he has let his voice be heard in radio broadcasts and morning talk shows across the country.

DayBreak USA is a live, fast-paced morning magazine program packed full of interviews, dollars and sense financial information, intelligent insights and positive features.

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