Category Archives: Business

Straight outta Silicon Valley

I’m sat at SFO airport waiting to board a flight and reflecting on my 72 hours in Silicon Valley. I’ve been at Menlo Park courtesy of Facebook, up in Mountain View meeting some Googlers, down in Palo Alto and finally in the sunny city of San Francisco itself meeting with start-ups and entrepreneurs to get the skinny on what gives this place it’s energy and draw for the next generations of thinkers, makers and investors.

What struck me more than anything is the almost unanimous focus on people first. It pleasantly surprises me to hear this time and again, for admittedly I was expecting a more ruthless ‘follow the money’ response to my questions.

Maybe it’s the sun, maybe it’s the recent legislations, maybe it’s just that it’s so damn expensive everyone pulls together, but almost every response was around building the right team, with the right people and avoiding the sharks and d*ckheads, which for those that don’t know me personally, is exactly my mantra so it resonated.

Before I leave I thought I’d share my top insights for success from the valley in the hope that if we all taken a human centred focus in building our teams, we’ll build; happier, more successful, more durable places to work and invent.

Here goes:

1. Your first people are the biggest decisions you will ever make so set your foundations strong.
2. Build for people and embrace the friction that this causes to your business models and frameworks. People and the diversity they bring will only better and enrich so if something is getting in their way, break it down and rebuild it so it enhances them another abilities.
3. Back people and then back markets for they are the only consistencies in a world that shifts constantly.
4. Be prepared to back your entrepreneurs no matter what for they will cause the best ‘Good Trouble’.
5. Size for ‘Pizza Box’ teams. If your team can’t happily share a pizza then it’s too big and decisions won’t get made in the right way and work will be layered and complicated, keep it lean, lean in and everyone will have a fair slice.
6. Build progression around 50/50 goals so that you stretch yourself and your team to aim high for the 50% they will hit and learn quickly from the 50% they will miss.
7. Be open to talent shifts and support them where you can, no one likes to be a square peg in a round hole and the cross population of skills will stabilise growth.
8. Know every factor in your ecosystem and the relative value of it (which if you follow the above will be human focused) so you can make informed decisions with reduced risk quickly.
9. Be open to crazy ideas as they’ll probably be the best ideas you ever hear.

I’m happy to say I do most of this, but I’m definitely going to action point 6 immediately as I love this thinking and I think my teams will too.

What will you do from tomorrow?

 

San Francisco

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Good Businesses DO Good Business

I am thrilled to be embarking on a new chapter that builds on my last 15 years of collective experience to start defining what a new era of ‘Experience’ looks like. If like me, you’ve been trying to design for the world of connected everything, in and around audiences of ‘I want everything now’, then you too will know how hard it is to actually deliver something impactful.

And impactful is a big word. To distill that I don’t mean worthy, but put simply I do think we have a responsibility as marketers to enable good businesses to do good business.

I’m excited to be joining a team of brilliant minds who want to help design and deliver the next series of experiences for brands who are built around business ideals that have stood the test of time. If you instantly scathe this thought it’s probably because you’ve been spammed by crappy ads for too long and that’s what you think marketing is now. Sadly a lot of brands/ businesses are still just worried about selling stuff first then listening second.

Let’s pause here… pick a brand you’ve worked with or for, then go right back to the beginning of their existence and you will likely see that their success grew from standing for something, and dig further you’ll find that ‘something’ had the intent to impact positively.

What I have seen over the last few years is that the pressures of technology on a brand, whether in the shape of; Google as a search engine or as a competitor, Amazon as delivery partner or a competitor or trail blazing brands breaking the expectation barrier – is that sh*t got really fast and they struggled to keep up with the pace of life it delivered.

So, as most emerging technologies slide into the Gartner trough and we have a little breathing space to pull our brand pants up a bit, I personally find the millions of connections that need to be woven together properly are a brilliantly complex challenge. It’s a bit like smashing a Rubik’s Cube into Connect4, throwing in Twister and trying to nail the game.

Now we’re talking.

My aim is to spend the next chapter working out and proving the scales of impact for individual businesses. Impact that is built on their original true values, shifting them into modern thinking behaviours and realigning them against the moving needs of their audiences. By doing this I believe ‘Experience’ will become an understood term that not just couples, but instead intricately weaves ‘Digital’ and ‘Traditional’ marketing together.

Creating value for the first shared connection to the last and back again. Designing for the consumer first, not just wrapping a brand around them. Building business thinking principles not just design thinking ones.

This is good business practice which will hopefully return good business whatever the measure of impact.

 

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The race we’re facing in 2019

So many people in our converging industries seem to be super charged for 2019, which by their accounts (and I would agree) is partly due to a turbulent and testy 2018. A collective sigh of relief has been expelled as last year drifts away and we look ahead to which rollercoaster we might jump on next.

I have a few things I’m expecting. To be on trend let me state, these are not ‘predictions’ given no one wants to use that word anymore, so let’s roll with ‘anticipations of trends’ based on how last year played out (in my point of view). Here goes:

  1. Brands will campaign for more. We will see a demonstrable shift from creative campaign ideas being enough to satisfy client briefs to demands for business ideas built to live (not die) that address the transformation trinity; brand, business and consumer (not necessarily in that order). The knock on effect to this shift will result in a more rigorous creative shake up within departments that will force blinkers off and digital diversity to the centre.
  2. An uprising will create groundswell. A growing breed of agency-to-consultant (and reverse) hybrids will start to rise and break the Accenture / Deloitte 90 page approach to ‘agile’ and instead take an ‘in the trenches’ approach to change. This in turn will see lofty vague strategies start to (finally) become a thing of the past.
  3. Diversity will drive money. More diverse revenue streams will be required to see agencies and consultancies through this year into the coming ones if they are to sustain or grow. Long gone are the 70:20:10 rules for income. A spread of hub and spoke approaches will see new shapes of teams come together and incubate fresh income. Smart disruptors will prevent an ‘I want one of those’ copy approach to ensure this new freshness prevails.
  4. Intelligence will reign over data. AI and it’s benefits (beyond speeding stuff up) will become better understood by marketers so we will start to see ethics put in place as an output of the committee discussions from the last few years. Smart leaders will start to map these AI architectures to their data stacks and in turn provide new insights to their CMI teams thus closing the loop. At some point (though possibly 2020) GDPR all face an AI specific challenge as old and new data sets merge for new use.
  5. Audiences will rule the rules. The comms saturated Millennial audience will grow tired of farcical ‘purpose’ attempts from brands to capture their attention, they will start to more actively call out those that don’t actually do what they say they intend to. Brands that fail to realise that just saying something and not taking action is not enough will start to lose their audiences to disruptors new and old. Shared narratives will no longer sustain and an uprise of direction from audience demand will more consistently inform NPD.

Short but hefty so I’m keeping it to five.

I am super excited about this year, indeed the next few years. This coming chapter will be harder because so much change is in the air, but change raises both expectations and standards so I for one want to be on this rollercoaster.

Hope to see you at the 2019 finish 2020 starting line…

start line 5

Image found on Google – thank you 

GDPR, the best thing since spliced breadcrumb trails

Every site is ‘thanking us for our data choices’ but are we really taking the time to understand what our choices are? We all have a data footprint but to what extent we may not be entirely aware.

Since the beginning of the transactional web these footprints have been collected, stored, connected and maybe now and again actually used. I say now and again, because most businesses I come across haven’t really worked out the value of data to inform anything beyond their CRM program. It’s often left to one side when it comes to shaping a business model, design approach or even NPD. More often, instead the point of view comes from inside the boardroom or with an eye to the competition and what they’re doing.

But that time has passed, relevance centred businesses are servicing an ‘Age of You’ – the internet era that goes beyond eco-systems and leverages insight to inform purchase journeys and their wider experiences around a users actual needs and desires.

In this web 4.0 world where the IoT is starting to pivot around the individual not the brand, GDPR has come into force in order to harmonise data laws whilst protecting consumers who don’t quite know what the data cost of all this connectivity is. And it’s putting emphasis on businesses to be held more accountable. HOORAY.

The age of ‘my data, my internet’ is on the horizon and the exponential rate that technology will advance this far outpaces nearly every legacy data lakes in place today. So what to do? Now that is a question I’m getting asked in an equally exponentially increasing rate.

I have some simple starting questions that have helped me shape some of the data strategies I’ve been working on with clients embracing GDPR as a chance to positively shake themselves up (Chapeaux). These are just starting points and they will open up more questions but I have found if you keep coming back to them every time you disappear down rabbit hole, they help.

First things first, there are three main types of data:

1st party; the stuff you collect directly and that you ask for the permissions to own

2nd party; essentially someone else’s 1st that they share with you (normally advertisers and publishers)

3rd party; the kind of stuff you can buy from anywhere and is generally diluted and generalised (i.e. not very useful to anyone so I’m not going to cover this)

Your starting point is likely to be a ton of archaic stuff that’s been collected for years, decades even, and not really modernised. Or if it has been modernised it will have been done so through a brand or business lens therefore adding to it’s linearity.

You don’t need to chuck it all out though, where there is data there is insight you just need to know how to mine for it, so my first question: What can this existing pile of data tell you?

There will be many assumptions, heed caution. If you don’t believe the assumptions (and trust your gut on this one) get a data wizard (some call them scientists) to mine it for you. They will be able to develop a question set with you then deploy speedy algorithms and methodologies to offer up a different set of useful insights.

Once you know what your data knows, you’ll have some gaps against your objectives which leads to the next bit…

It’s likely you’re working for or with a brand or business who think they need to own all the data. You don’t. In fact it’s quite greedy to assume you should. I’m not saying a big bank of addresses is all redundant (do not underestimate the power of email) BUT 2nd party data can be a super useful shortcut to getting to know the answers to the gaps that the data you already have doesn’t give you right now.

Google for example, know quite a bit about most audiences you are likely to be trying to reach and engage. “Google conquered the advertising world with nothing more than applied mathematics. It didn’t pretend to know anything about the culture and conventions of advertising — it just assumed that better data, with better analytical tools, would win the day.”

And Google was right.

I didn’t say that by the way, Wired’s Chris Anderson did a little while back. I totally agree – as does most of the internet.

So, question number two: Who are your trusted 2nd party data partners?

Your lead agencies should have a good view on this, but you will too. Within your organisation you will have worked with media and publishing partners on initiatives and activations, plus a whole host of other partnerships will have proved useful along the way. Look at what’s worked and bring them into the fold then widen your horizons to the likes of Google. Once you a clear view you can work out how you’ll use each one to plug your 1st party gaps. Make two tidy lists; one for 1st party and one for 2nd party, then put them to one side for now.

The next bit is more tricky, and that’s working out a data roadmap to get you over your immediate hurdles and propel you into a consumer centric model so you can effectively operate in the ‘Age of You’. So, question number three: How are you going to map and further extend your two data sets to give you the answers you need, now and for tomorrow?

Using data to; inform the creative process, brand storytelling or simply just for personalised targeting and messaging requires using data to generate a contextual, or even better, an emotional connection. But there is a line, and this is where GDPR is reinforcing the interests of consumers. Balancing the digital data economy, with commercial opportunities and consumer rights is a minefield unless you truly start thinking consumer first. Your data map should flip every question you’ve asked yourself as a business or brand thus far to be just this, so instead of ‘data will help us do X and Y’ instead ask yourself ‘by knowing this piece of information about our consumer we can help them do X and Y’.

Once you’ve built out your consumer maps based on what (1st and 2nd party data points) you need to know in order to deliver on their needs and desires, you’ll be in a good place to start mapping your own goals to them, but another watch out – never reverse them or you’ll be right back to where you started in no time.

The GDPR applies to all businesses that are established in the EU, regardless of whether the data processing takes place in the EU or not. And if you think you have a loop hole, even non-EU established businesses will be subject to GDPR if your business speaks to consumers in the EU. You can’t stick your head in the sand over this one and the world isn’t go to wait for you to figure it out, so best to get cracking.

Bottom line? You need to know what your data knows, work out what you don’t understand and shift to a consumer first approach.

GDPR data post

Image found on Google courtesy of gigaom – thank you

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#OurEra2018

I’m in Milan at the Nesta ‘Challenge of our Era’ 2018 Global Summit where I was honored to deliver their opening keynote.

My role was to inspire innovative thinking, it was honestly one of the most rewarding speeches I’ve delivered to date, so again thank you!

As part of it, I adapted a poem I wrote a year or so ago for SXSW and I’ve been asked several times to print it and share it, so here it is. For anyone interested search twitter for the hash tag #OurEra2018 to find out more about the summit, it’s got some incredible ambitions and the call for responses is open to anyone in the world.

For now, I leave you with this:

 

The visions for the future excite me more than the past,

Because when it comes to innovation, the past fades fast.

 

I have crazy ideas and I’m proud to be a geek,

Which you’ll know if you go online and maybe read a tweet.

 

And maybe I’ll reply or maybe it’s my bot,

Because maybe I’m real and here, or maybe I’m not.

 

The future isn’t just augmented or virtual you see,

It’s set to be a blend of several realities.

 

And as the future keeps advancing and we become more connected,

We’ll all be liked and rated and ever more self-reflected.

 

Will robots steal our jobs? Will Skynet really happen?

Or is that as likely as a one-handed man clapping?

 

Will tech become so seamless that we won’t be able to tell,

Where I begin, you end, and the tech blends in as well…

 

Today we pay with fingerprints, tomorrow our voice

In the future, our faces, will this remove our choice

 

To have our lives in the cloud, seamlessly connected

Will we be faster, more efficient, or will our memories be neglected?

 

In a future where every heartbeat and every drop of sweat,

Is calculated, decoded and uploaded to the net.

 

When connected collars tell us when our dogs have got a fever,

Or our cats can be interpreted through intelligent receivers.

 

When AI Armani jeans tell guys ‘you’re flying low’,

Your Valentino clothing knows you’re stressed from head to toe.

 

Your Maserati, or Romeo, isn’t just autonomous but flies,

In highways constructed over Milan in the Sky.

 

In the future are we dumb? Just run by automation…

Or are we elite and empowered an unstoppable ‘one nation’?

 

In OUR future we WILL stand beside robots that are intelligent,

But furthermore, we face a future that goes beyond this and is sentient.

 

There will be competition, co-petition, ambition, and decision

But convergence and empowerment will come to fruition.

 

If biology is programmable and we can program 3D printing,

Will we solve poverty and hunger, now that got me thinking…

 

If a world built on noughts and ones merges with atoms,

Does that provide a world that you and I can barely fathom?

 

If we can put interfaces into brains and quadriplegics can move cursors,

Will we enhance that human life, is the advance in science worth it?

 

There are so many things that today we do not know,

But if we supercharge our neurons there’s nowhere a brain can’t go.

 

Whether this presentation makes you doubt, smile or wonder,

There is one thing for sure that we should collectively ponder;

 

How can innovation be a force for positivity and help us prosper?

How can it bring us closer so that great ideas are fostered?

 

To quote Einstein ‘it’s obvious it’s exceeded humanity’

And he’s been dead for decades so it’s pretty clear to see,

 

That the trajectory we’re on isn’t slowing down,

And in fact, with quantum computing, we can go to town.

 

I for one would rather be in the driving seat,

Amongst you crazy bunch of awesome innovators and geeks.

 

For the ONE thing about the future that we should ALL be aware

Is love it question it, WE are ALL going there …

 

And we can choose to lead or we can choose to follow

So I say, let’s grab the future by the balls and go invent tomorrow!!!

 

 

COOE

#OurEra2018 Nesta Global Summit, Milan

 

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Success in 2017 means Disruption as standard

One thing stood out to me this year more than anything else; the fact that senior clients are finally seeing disruption as the new norm within their businesses.

Good news for me. Great news for them.

In 2017 more brands and industries will be shaped by technology and models that challenge their internal legacy frameworks. In marketing ‘traditional’ is no longer broadcast, that’s simply archaic. Traditional encompasses straight forward digital advertising, social at the heart of your conversations with consumers and hopefully semantic designs and processes.

So brands looking to be ahead of the game, or even just quick to follow, will need to go beyond sticking digital plasters over the cracks in their swim-lane plans for reaching and engaging audiences.

Mobile centric should now be standard, consumer concentric planning should be something your agency is talking to you about on every brief, and if you’re not already thinking about smart solutions that step towards AI integration into your service offering at the very least, then be prepared for next year to be the year you fall behind.

The internet is no longer contained in our laptops or phones. The Internet of Things (IoT) is here and very much a part of consumers’ lives. So if you’re a senior marketer then get ready to disrupt your marketing, chuck out the old rinse repeat model and shake up the business.

Brands that embrace innovative thinking next year will be the ones that establish new rules of engagement in a window of opportunity to explore and be brave.

Consumers want to work with brands and more importantly buy from brands that are seen to be innovative. The key is to take that first step, getting it 100% right doesn’t necessarily matter as long as you involve them in your journey, bring them into your beta; innovate, deploy, ask, listen, innovate, deploy… you get the picture.

So as you look to 2017 and wonder what it holds for you and your business, my advice is simple; disrupt your norm.

 

fish

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Too Punchy apparently…

I originally wrote this for a university blog who asked for some tips for their students on breaking in and succeeding in the advertising industry. Apparently this candid account of my journey so far is too punchy, they asked me to ‘tame it down’, I said NO! I have just the audience who might appreciate this as it is. So I’m publishing it here.

It’s longer than my normal posts, so grab a brew, take five and I hope you find some of this useful…

My Seven Tips for Survival

My job didn’t exist when I was at uni, it barely existed five years ago. I didn’t grow up thinking ‘One day I shall be a Transformation Strategist, or a Creative Technologist’. The reason I studied Art & Design at college is because I liked my teacher who taught design at school and I wanted to create beautiful things.

When I went on to university, the degree was titled ‘Graphic Design and New Media’; my first lesson was on search engines, an introduction to Google, my degree introduced me to Flash, Quark, InDesign and Freehand and on the day I graduated all of those skills were already out of date.

The reason I’m telling you this is that my first tip for stepping into our industry is to understand that it moves and evolves at breakneck speed, there’s a new start up every two minutes and a new technology every one. You have to be on your game every second to stay ahead.

What I did learn during my studies was that design and creativity is a fluid process; the principles of craft, attention to perfection (not just detail) and experimenting with how far you could push the boundaries would always deliver a result. Following graduation I found that print quickly bored me, so I taught myself to code and started to design interfaces, basic brand websites back then, and got excited. Code seemed to not only bend the rules but break them entirely, what you could achieve with dots per pixel rather than dots per inch seemed to know no boundaries, the only limitations were those of my mind. This brings me to my second tip, always push the boundaries and seek terrain unexplored.

Having realised this I quickly sought out the best agency in my area to learn how to do just that, I lived in Leeds at the time. I waited for a vaguely relevant job to come up, then when it did, I hounded them to employ me. I got the job, my first proper footing on the ladder (this was about two years after I graduated), that first foot is the hardest but most important one you’ll ever take.

The job was as an Account Executive, I didn’t exactly love booking rooms and making the tea, but I was surrounded by clever, fun people and quickly identified who I wanted my mentor to be, the smartest most rock ’n’ roll guy in the building who also happened to be leading the digital transformation for the whole agency. I stuck to him like glue for the following four years and he helped me become a savvy client facing strategist, adept in the rapidly changing world of digital. Tip three, surround yourself with the people you aspire to be and don’t be afraid to ask them to mentor you.

When it was time to move on life took me to London. I got a job at one of the leading UK agencies where I learnt how to manage big platform projects and start up enterprise solutions. I worked 12-18 hour days, every day to cram 3 years of progress into 18 months. It paid off, one of the top agencies in the world head hunted me into their team.

From then it was about jumping in with everything I had and pivoting my way through the most breakneck world I had ever experienced. I said yes to everything, then worried about how afterwards. I pushed myself to be the best at everything I took on, failure was not a situation I would accept. Tip four, do whatever it takes, if you don’t someone else will.

The hard work paid off when six months into the job I got a real chance to prove my abilities, arguably the turning point that made my career. Following leading a successful series of workshops I was asked to move to Japan and run the resulting global project for a major client. I had one week to pack up my life, lock up my flat and get on a plane, I didn’t even have an address to go to, it all happened so quickly my living arrangements were being organised whilst I was on the 13 hour flight to Narita.

48 hours later I found myself in an alien environment; I was half the age of the people around me, western, female and not able to speak the language. Was I nervous? Hell yes. I was amongst an incredibly intelligent bunch of people who knew this organisation inside out. Japan is a culture that lends to following a career path within the same company for the span of an entire career, these guys had started on the factory floor and worked their way to the top, then here I was to lead them through a massive change program. I swallowed the nerves, rolled my sleeves up and threw myself in. Tip five; if you’re not shi*tting yourself slightly, then you’re not pushing yourself enough.

Over the next six months I had to adapt daily to navigate many challenges. I started to build a strong team around me and the agency team back in London were nothing short of amazing. We spoke every day, we tackled problems together, when I got stuck they were there, when they couldn’t tell what was happening where I was, I brought them in, it was fluid, with many highs and lows but collectively we succeeded by working tightly together. Tip six; you are only as good as the team around you.

Since starting my career I’ve been a designer, a coder, a planner, a strategist, a client lead and half of a creative team. I’ve built teams, projects and many, many beautiful, useful things. I’ve changed minds and lives, kickstarted businesses, led huge programs, mentored, managed and broken every rule in the book. Most of all I’ve taken risks. Tip seven; don’t be afraid to take risks, it’s how we improve ourselves.

The words of my mentor when I left that first job in Leeds still ring true today, ‘Why will Karen succeed? Quite simply, because she has no fear’.

So my advice to you as you start on your journey in a particularly exciting but turbulent industry, is ‘Just say yes, be brave and jump in’.

What’s the worst that can happen…

jumping-off-a-cliff.jpgimage found on https://developingourwings.wordpress.com/ – thank you

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New ads on the block

Though the penetration of ad-blockers has slowed since the initial surge it’s by no means showing signs of stopping and certainly not of declining.

Ad-blocking has firmly established a threatening presence as the reckoning force that threatens the ongoing revenue streams for content creators and advertisers. In 2015 they ensured a global loss of £14.1bn in ad revenue and that figure is predicted to double in 2016.

I blogged about Native ads in March which are becoming stronger and more relevant in the main, but what I’m really liking is the determination across the creative industry to rise to the challenge and simply create better ads. Because why not?

Last year D&AD created ‘Ad Filter’, an extension that works across Chrome and Firefox replacing crappy boring ads with engaging brilliant ones. Olivier Apers, executive creative director of design agency BETC Paris, which collaborated on the filter said ‘We wanted to demonstrate that people don’t hate advertising, they just hate bad advertising,’ – so true. 

Good advertising is about integrating with what our audiences are doing, that isn’t going to change, perhaps the introduction of this will remind bad advertisers to stop blanket broadcasting.

If the industry as a collective can lift the bar on creative then we’ll earn the upwards curve on trust back, meaning advertisers will protect their income and users will stop inadvertently putting their favorite sites out of business.

Time to roll our sleeves up. 

Bicep Appreciation

Image shamelessly lifted from the Marines Bicep Appreciation Pinterest Page

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Personalisation with a side of ease

As someone who travels a lot there’s nothing worse than stepping off a long flight, red-eye kicking in, knowing you’ve still got to claim your luggage, find your transfer, get across town, find your hotel, complete an arduous check in process and get up to your room before you can finally collapse on the bed.

So imagine my excitement when I spent a day with the top tech bods in the travel and hospitality industry reinventing the entire future-scape for the upgrade needed to cater for Gen X & Y travellers.

We talked a lot about the automation of the journey. How we could put in place a centralised data approach with intelligence systems connected to smartphones and robots aiding the various staff throughout. Whilst I find that really exciting, I’m sure you won’t want to be bored with the tech stack, so to let you in on how it might feel in 2025 I’ll summarise a brief walk through of a typical business trip, we’ll start with stepping off that plane again…

The second you switch from flight mode a signal is sent to your smart suitcase where the built-in tracker connects to your phone as you make your way through customs, you time getting to the conveyor belt perfectly. You pick up your case and activate the next signal, which is sent to your driver who now knows to get to the pick up bay within a three-minute window, avoiding parking fees, congestion and more importantly you being irritated by him not being there.

Your GPS switches to your driver who you find with equal ease. You collapse in the back of the car, whatever music you want is synced automatically, the temperature adjusted and an update sent to your hotel with your live eta feed updating your awaiting concierge.

On arrival your check-in is confirmed through facial recognition, you’re then greeted personally and swiftly shown to your room whereupon your climate is again synced, your drink and snack of choice is freshly prepared and your smart TV pre-loaded with your favourite channels. You can even activate a holographic in-room personal trainer should you so wish…

Your dinner table is reserved at the time you would normally eat and on arrival you see that the menu is based on your culinary preferences with wine recommendations to match. Not only that but the seasonal info and the history of the restaurant Chef are sent to your mobile because they know you like to read the background to what you eat and how it’s prepared.

After dinner, you retire to the lounge and login to a guest screen which is loaded with your business itinerary, options to tailor your travel and where to take your clients, plus recommendations on what to do with your spare time.

You relax, confident that every detail has been taken care of.

In this future-scape our aim is to democratise an executive level of assistance so that everyone can have his or her own ‘Parker’ rather than having to rely on ‘Manwell’.

do not disturb

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FFS

For many businesses I’m working with at the moment memberships are becoming the new subscriptions. The bar for a credible value exchange is set higher than ever before with freemium models saturating the market, so our hungry audience are no longer satisfied by exclusive content and a glossy cover, pixel enabled or not. 

Today wants tailored and timely, relevant and resonating. Brands are expected to know what their audience want, on a 121 basis, which is fine if you run the coffee shop round the corner and you’ve been there for 20 years watching the town around you grow up and evolve. It’s not so straight forward when you’re scaling beyond your inner circle into a model that not only makes money, but enables you to create a viable business that pays other people money too. 

This shift from having customers to members is a step change for how businesses build everything from their CRM programs to their technology stacks, because in today’s world every piece of data matters, because those pieces of data allow you to be relevant, to everyone. 

It’s easy to get dragged down into the detail, so I’ve put together a little checklist to help:  

Be Focussed

Decide wich parts of your paid membership are going to add the most value and invest on making those amazing first. If you do too many things at once it will not only cost a lot in production, but also in technical development and promotion. 

Be Frictionless

Make it really easy for your audience to receive, digest and share. There is nothing more disappointing to users, or more costly to you, if this doesn’t meet expectations. 

Be Selfless

Listen, analyse and adapt your model as you go. The most successful businesses are those that put their audience first and their business second. Think of them as your insight tool, fusing the next phase, they are not the end game. 

I appreciate the last one is the hardest, especially with financial goals and deadlines, but it’s the most important in the long run. 

We should all be thinking FFS for the right reasons. 

Image found on Pinterest via wework.com - thank you

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