Friday, 31 July 2009

Evaluating Ideas - Eureka Ranch's Merwyn Simulation

Eureka Ranch has employed a boffin to develop a model for predicting the sales of early-stage product or service ideas. Tap in a few assumptions, give them $2k, and they'll tell you how much you'll sell. It's called Merwyn Business Simulation Research.

Not sure how much confidence I'd have in the assumptions, but interesting idea, particularly for incremental innovations.

See their web site here. Or broader Inc magazine article here.

Pret A Manger - culture

Good blog post on Pret and how they create their culture on The Insider here.

Key points:
- empower employees
- spend 0.4% of revenue on marketing, and
- hire for attitude not skills
And in return to find that 60% of your comment cards are positive or neutral.

Nice quote on hiring for attitude from their Head of Comms, Jay Chapman:
“You can’t hire someone who can make sandwiches and teach them to be happy,” says Jay, “So we hire happy people and teach them to make sandwiches”.

Wired Coffee Pots + Whiteboard

John Seely Brown's consultancy tried to use their space to encourage collaboration by:
- Creating wired coffee pots, that send everyone a message when new coffee has brewed so they end up bumping into each other.
- Putting in a floor to ceiling whiteboard by the coffee pots.
- Using cameras and screens to link the whiteboard in the New York office to the one in San Fran.

Source: John Seely Brown in Storytelling in Organizations, p77. On Google Books here.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Telecoms improvements

I'd like:
- To be able to call more than 1 person at a time. Someone needs to reinvent conf calling so it’s easy.
- Check my SMS messages online. Particularly when I leave my phone at home or the battery is dead.
- Port my landline number to Skype, so I can use it anywhere. Is the barrier to this technical, or just the regulator has not forced it through yet?

Monday, 13 July 2009

Kit Kat's KitMail (Japan)

In Japanese Kit Kat sounds like 'Kitto Katsu', literally 'surely win' or more loosely good luck. Nestle and JWT Japan created a special edition mailable Kit Kat, to send as a good luck gift during exam season.

The 'KitMail' is available in 22,000 Japan Post offices, opening a new channel with no other confectionery competition. This has now won a Cannes Golden Lion.

Larger photo here.
Source: The Wire (WPP), Japan Today.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Why don't employees do what they're supposed to?

Just 4 possible reasons:

  • There is no positive consequence for doing it
  • They anticipate future negative consequences
  • They are rewarded for not doing it
  • They are punished for doing what they are supposed to do


'Individual Economic Value' statements at Alberto-Culver

Since 1998 people at Albert-Culver have 'invididual economic value' statements (IEVs), a sentence describing how their role contributes to company profitability. Communicates both the that individual and the rest of the company.

Not sure I love the example given, though. From a consumer relations person: "I turn every customer I talk to into a company fan".

Source: Alberto-Culver's HR Director Carol Lavin Bernick. Excellent article in HBR describing their turnaround.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Importance of User Observation

Nike saw that people running were wearing iPods, so created Nike+.

Golden Rule for Living Brand Values

Golden rule: Every action a brand takes should reflect one of its values, and never contravene any of them.

BJ Cunningham, creator of Enlightened Tobacco Company' Death Cigarretes (now in director of shoe brand Georgina Goodhan), quoted in Brand Management, Summer 09

Also: the CEO should be at the bottom of the (upside-down) pyramid not the top. But still a god, so like Atlas holding up the world not Zeus ruling from above.