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Answer These Questions to Document Your Content Marketing Strategy

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Nov, 18, 2014 @ 12:11 PM

content marketing institute

 

 

 

 

Most B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy — but only 35% have documented it -- Content Marketing Institute

Here are the questions the Content Marketing Institute suggest you answer to get your content marketing strategy in order:

Business Plan for Innovation:


❑ What challenges are we trying to solve?
❑ What is our dream outcome with this process?
❑ What is the risk if we fail?
❑ Whose unique perspectives do we want to involve? If internal, what permissions do we need from their managers to participate?
❑ What is our budget?
❑ How often do we want to produce deliverables?
❑ If life or business issues get in the way, how can we push a “big red button” without
disbanding the idea of the business plan?
❑ How will we execute each experimental idea, and how long will we give it to work?

 

Business Case for Content Marketing:


❑ What is the need? What do we hope to accomplish with our content marketing?
❑ How big of a need is it? Do we have a big enough audience to justify a plan?
❑ What is the business model? How does it work? What do we have to do?
❑ What is our differentiating value? Why is this more important than other things we are
spending time on?
❑ What are the risks? What’s in our way of success – or what happens if we fail?

 

Persona Development and Content Mapping:


❑ What are the details of each of our personas?
❑ What does our sales funnel look like?
❑ What does the customer’s buying cycle look like?
❑ What content do we need to create based on the engagement cycle?

❑ What is the customer context?

 

Our Brand Story:


❑ What does our marketing look like? Where are our competitors situated? What is the reality for our customers? Why do they currently identify with our brand?
❑ What would the world look like if we could realize the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) that we set out for our brand? What is the “call to adventure” for our product?
❑ Why hasn’t this been done?
❑ Who will provide guidance for our brand as it makes this journey?
❑ What is our new idea? How will we lead our audience into this unknown with us?
❑ Who will our brand align with to help us move forward? Who will be the naysayers? What
challenges can we plan for?
❑ What will our brand ultimately achieve?
❑ Once our brand has changed, how will we show that differentiation?
❑ What ambush could – or will – our brand face now that it is different? How will we continue
to move on?

 

Channel Plan:


❑ What do we already have that helps us tell this story (e.g., an existing Web page, blog, etc.)?
❑ What must change for us to tell this story (e.g., do we need to add a blog; do we need to
create or revisit our social Web strategy?)
❑ What must stop (if anything) for us to tell this story (e.g., do we need to stop using Facebook and divert our energy to a blog?)
❑ What are the objectives for each channel as they relate to the engagement cycle?
❑ How will we map each channel to our story?
❑ What are our specific goals for each channel?
❑ Which channels apply to which persona(s)? (Note: You may want multiple accounts on the
same social network to address different personas.)
❑ How/who will manage the content and conversation on each channel?
❑ What is the velocity, tone, desired action and structure for the content on each channel?

 

Please let me know if I can help you and your firm develop a content marketing strategy.

 

Click Here To Schedule a 30-Minute Consultation  to Discuss Marketing or Sales Issues

Tags: information of value, alignment, consistent messaging, content marketing, content

3 Keys to Lead Generation

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Nov, 03, 2014 @ 10:11 AM

3 keys to lead generation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

 

There are three keys communication that will help you generate more leads:

 

  1. Provide information of value
     
  2. Be consistent

  3. Be relevant

 

Providing information of value, not selling, builds awareness and trust of your products, services and company, as well as establishing you as a trusted-advisor on the subject about which you are sharing.

 

Start by answering all of your customers' and prospects' questions openly and in a transparent manner. Doing so will help establish you and your firm as someone who want to help solve a problem rather than just sell something.

 

What problem do you solve? How do you do it? How much does it cost? What are the benefits? What are the downsides?

 

By answering someone's question before they even ask you the question, you are saving them time and making their life easier. If you save someone time, or make their life easier, they're more likely to be a loyal, and long-term, customer.

 

Consistency is key. Consistency builds trust. Inconsistency confuses people which leads to distrust.

 

Ensure all of your communications, across all channels, are consistent -- the same information, the same tone.

 

I strive to be genuinely helpful by sharing information I think will be of value to business owners and marketing professionals.

 

Be relevant. This can be difficult if you're inwardly focused. It's much easier if you are customer-centric.

 

Find out what your customers and prospects have questions about and answer those questions.

 

Ask your sales force and your customer service reps what the objections, issues and questions they hear most frequently.

 

Map the customer journey identifying the questions received and the information needed at each step of the journey. Once you've done this, don't forget to share your journey maps and questions with customers for validation. 

 

By providing information of value that's consistent and relevant, you will drive greater awareness, traffic and leads while establishing you, and your brand, as trustworthy.

 

What questions can I answer for you about sharing information of value?

 

Click Here to Download Your Lead Generation eBook

 

Tags: transparency, trust, be real, information of value, alignment, consistent messaging, be relevant

Practice "Total Radical Transparency" to Improve Employee Engagement

Posted by Tom Smith on Thu, Oct, 09, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

total radical transparency resized 600

 

 

 

 

 

 

I've had the opportunity to work for, and with, more than 100 different companies over the course of my career.

 

It's very rare to find a company, or management team, that practices "total radical transparency."

 

I've worked for two companies that embraced this philosophy and they were the two places where I felt totally empowered, engaged and made the greatest contributions.

 

In a recent edition of Fast Company, in "The Second You Think You're an Auteur, You're Sunk," film director James Cameron, describes how everyone working on a particular project would sit around a table every morning at precisely 8:15 and air out problems.

 

This is tremendously healthy for any team -- management or employees.

 

It ensures everyone is on the same page and in complete alignment about what's working and what isn't.

 

You bring your problems to the group and solve them as a group. Everyone's invested in the solution.

 

Inability to discuss problems openly and honestly hinders their resolution.

 

Fail to address them and they become even bigger problems as well as a poison to your corporate culture.

 

In one company where I was hired to direct the firm's marketing efforts, I asked the president if I could conduct one-on-one interviews with the management team to ensure everyone was in alignment with regards to the vision, mission, values and strategic positioning of the firm.

 

I was advised this wasn't necessary, since the firm had just completed their strategic planning.

 

It took less than a week to see how misaligned the SBU's, and the employees therein, really were.

 

In a recent consulting engagement, I urged the CEO to take a leadership position in social media since the firm aspired to be a leader in their industry.

 

My recommendation was rebuffed because the CEO was concerned that there were groups out there that would not approve of what the firm was selling.

 

If you're not willing to be open and honest with your employees, your customers and your prospects, you will not be a leader in your industry.

 

The internet rewards those who share information and exposes those that hide it.

 

AGE, arrogance, greed and ego, made companies and individuals a lot of money before the advent of the internet and social media.

 

According to Justice Louis D. Brandeis, "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." 

 

Given this, the internet and social media will expose those companies who are not transparent with their employees (Glassdoor), their customers (Amazon, Zappos, Yelp) or their prospects.

 

Are you and your firm committed to total radical transparency?

 

If so, you and your employees will benefit.

 

If not, you might want to take another look at your vision, mission and values.

 

Empower Employees to Get Insights Download the Free e-book

 

Tags: alignment, vision, mission, values, employee engagement, total radical transparency

Top 25 Companies for Culture and Values in 2014

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Aug, 27, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

Align along vision, mission and values
Thanks to Glassdoor for sharing their findings.

 

 

 

If you've read any of my previous posts, you know how strongly I feel about companies empowering and engaging their employees.

 

It all starts with having a powerful vision, mission and values and a management team that is in total alignment so they're consistent in what they tell those they manage, as well as how they manage.

 

Where trust is an issue, there is no trust.

 

Values lead to alignment and empowers team members to overcome any disagreement.

 

Clearly the following firms do not have trust as an issue.

Top Companies for Culture & Values 2014

Want to work for a company where employees are satisfied with the culture and values? Glassdoor has announced its report of the Top 25 Companies for Culture & Values, based on workplace insights shared by the people who know companies best — the employees. The following companies stand out for high culture & values ratings and insightful reviews.

Top 25

Ratings Scale: 3.51–4.0 = “Satisfied” 4.01–5.0 = “Very Satisfied”  
Is your management team in alignment with regards to the vision, mission and values of your firm?

Don't assume they are.

 

I worked for a firm and suggested they let me do one-on-one interviews with the management team to ensure everyone was in alignment.

 

The president, to whom I reported, said that wouldn't be necessary since they had just completed a strategic planning session.

 

Sadly, I quickly saw how out of alignment, not only the management team, but the entire staff was and I was powerless to do anything about it.

 

While the company was doing alright, it could have been performing at a significantlly higher level if employees were on one team rather than several different, frequently competing, teams.

 

Ask the members of your management team, independently, about the vision, mission, values and strategic positioning of the firm and see how much the answers vary.

 

I assure you the insights you get will be invaluable to the firm, and may save your job.

 

Need More Insights From Your Analytics? Download the Free e-book

Tags: transparency, trust, alignment, vision, mission, values, strategic positioning

Create a Center of Excellence to Improve Customer Experience

Posted by Tom Smith on Thu, Aug, 21, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

social media center of excellence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Vanessa DiMauro (@vdimauro), CEO of Leader Networks, Ekaterina Walter (@ekaterina), CMO at Branderati and Jessica Gioglio (@savvybostonian), head of Public Relations and Social Media at Dunkin' Donuts for sharing their insights and experience on the webinar "Social Organization: How Centers of Excellence, Collaborative Management and Seamless Enterprise Structures are Working" for Social Media Today (#smtlive).

 

Social media is causing businesses to evolve.

 

More than 50% of businesses report they currently are, or will be, a socially-enabled enterprise within the next year.

 

Line of business silos can lead to difficulty when trying to become a socially-enabled enterprise.

 

Different business units use different metrics, have competing budgets, duplicate efforts, have resource wars for talent and have multiple social media accounts.

 

Companies lack an integrated business strategy, an integrated communications strategy and best practices for using social media to promote the business, engage with prospects and service customers.

 

The solution is for the business to create a Social Business Center of Excellence housed within the strategic communications group supporting the different lines of business.

 

Doing so will result in an integrated approach to creating standards and best practices that can be applied across the organization based on the vision, mission and values of the firm.

 

The Center of Excellence:

  • Establishes, and monitors performance against, the shared goals and objectives of the organization.

  • Creates a framework, tools and standards for using, and interacting with prospects and customers via, social media.

  • Implements pilot projects for organization learning and best practices.

  • Shares measures of success and performance versus key performance indicators (KPIs).

 

The benefits will be:

  • Insights for new product development and R&D by listening intensely.

  • A more customer-centric organization.

  • More innovation.

  • Flexibility to respond to trends, customers and prospects in a timely manner.

Over time, the goal of the Center of Excellence is to help the company become so proficient at social media, and sharing information, that it's no longer needed.

 

Keys to success:

 

  1. Executive buy-in, leadership and ownership.

  2. Center of Excellence objectives are driven by line of business leaders but captured and managed by the Center of Excellence in light of the vision and mission of the company.

  3. The Center of Excellence is empowered to be an organizational change agent.

  4. Cross-departmental collaboration is enabled, supported and rewarded.

 

Has your firm created a Center of Excellence to improve the customer experience in social media and beyond? 

 

Click Here To Schedule a 30-Minute Consultation  to Discuss Marketing or Sales Issues

Tags: alignment, consistent messaging, vision, mission, content, social media

Omnichannel Customer Service Improves Customer Experience

Posted by Tom Smith on Thu, Aug, 14, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

omnichannel customer service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought provoking article in a recent edition of Customer Relationship Management entitled, "The 4 Key Customer Service Omnichannel Considerations" by Leonard Klie.

 

How many times have you spoken to your bank, cable company or another product or service provider with whom you have a relationship and had to provide them with a list of information about yourself, your order, your preferences, your previous issues and your most recent, unresolved, issue?

 

As customers begin having more satisfactory, holistic customer experiences with online retailers (i.e., Zappos), their expectations with regards to what is, and is not, acceptable customer service is increasing.

 

"Consumers expect a conversation that begins on one channel can be continued on another, with all relevant contextual data preserved across channels."

 

"You're omnichannel when the customer doesn't notice a difference between channels."

 

Based on research conducted by Aberdeen, companies that are able to provide omnichannel customer service see significant benefits:

  • 8.5% improvement in first call resolution (which happens to be what customers rank as the number one driver of satisfaction after interacting with customer service).

  • 7.5% decrease in average cost per customer contact.

  • 9.5% increase in year-over-year revenue.

Other interesting findings from the research:

  • Only 20% of companies are considered to be "top performers" in omnichannel customer service.

  • 85% of those provide regular training to teach agents how to handle multiple channels.

  • 77% store customer contact data across multiple channels.

  • 77% route inquiries to agents with specific skills related to the customer's need.

  • 69% identify topics repeatedly addressed by customers across channels to find where channels need to be improved.

One reason for the low adoption of omnichannel customer service is that most organizations are set up to deliver customer service around specific channels.

 

The "owners" of these channels have different goals and frequently have different, non-integrated, CRMs which make it impossible to have a 360-degree view of the customer.

 

In most firms, "organizational alignment really is the biggest hurdle."

 

Even if a firm has the desire to have a 360-degree view of their customer, the integration required to have different platforms exchaning data with one another is time consuming and costly.

 

If you are in the process of creating an omnichannel customer experience for your customers, I strongly recommend buying an all-in-one solution which allows you to share resources and information from a single database.

 

Ensure the solution is mobile friendly since this will ultimately be the first place your customers will want to engage with you, if they're not doing so already.

 

"If you want to be truly customer-focused, you want your best agents doing the best jobs on the channels where they feel most comfortable. You do not have to have everyone doing everything." 

 

One of the best ways for an organization to become customer-centric is to have a senior level person, perhaps a chief customer experience officer, overseeing all customer interactions, especially those falling between the silos, to identify where and how customer experience can be improved.

 

Is you firm providing, or planning to provide, omnichannel customer service to improve the customer experience?

 

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Tags: customer experience, alignment, customer centric, customer service

Consistent, Compelling Stories Accelerate Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Jul, 08, 2014 @ 10:07 AM

stories create emotional connection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to HubSpot for the following.

 

Storytelling is a great way to differentiate your brand.

 

Stories help us understand the world and remember things.

 

Stories are much more memorable than fact, figures, features and benefits.

 

What makes a great story?

 

  1. Context

  2. Emotional response.

  3. Consistency and authenticity -- great stories spread because they are true.

  4. They're specific and memorable.

 

Think about how and where to tell your story.

 

Start with your website.

 

Appeal to the senses rather than logic. Make an emotional connection.

 

Do this by:ty

 

  1. Know your niche and the personas to whom you are speaking.

  2. Incorporate personal/emotional experience. Why did you get into this business? What problems were people having that you were able to solve?

  3. Counter challenges, failures and overall problems. Address people's questions, fears and concerns upfront -- don't wait for them to ask.

  4. What are you bringing to the table? What make you "different and better" than what your competitors have to offer?

  5. What excites/interests you? Tell a story about a time in your business that your excitement and interests helped you solve a business problem.

  6. Convince your audience to care -- about you, about your business, about what makes you "different and better."

 

Create an experience. People don't remember the pitch, they remember the experience.

 

  1. Focus on a specific worldview. Set the stage.

  2. Provide great value at a fiar price. Help people see, and feel like, they're getting a fair deal.

  3. Interact and connect. Have a dialog with customers and prospects. Get to know them as individuals.

  4. Bring the human element back to business. People do business with, and make an emotional connection with, people, not companies.

  5. Convince your audience to care by making an emotional connection with them. Provide information of value that's relevant to them and their situation.

As with all marketing, consistency is king. Consistency builds trust. Inconsistecy builds confusion and distrust.

 

  1. Make sure your story is consistent with your mission statement.

  2. Build your story into your core products and services and ensure that your employees know, and tell, the story.

  3. Separate the story from the experience.

 

Think story, not features.

 

Social media should be about real human interactions. However, it's too noisy and difficult to make these interactions easily.

 

  • Social media is meant to be a personal channel.

  • It has become broadcasting, canned responses and mindless monitoring.

  • Get back to having actual human interactions. 

  • All departments in your organization can use social media for their work. Empower, and encourage, them to do so.
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Tags: empower employees, alignment, consistent messaging, authenticity, mission, emotional connection

Ensure Your Content Marketing is Integrated Marketing

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Jul, 02, 2014 @ 22:07 PM

converged media workflow resized 600 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great webinar by Heather Whaling (@prtini), CEO of Goben Communications, Heidi Sullivan (@hksully) SVP of Digital Content at Cision and Scott Livingston, SVP of Market Engagement at Cision entitled, "Marketing Through Content: Integrated Communications Strategies That Work."

 

Having been a proponent of integrated marketing since my career began, and also being a proponent of inbound and content marketing, I think this is an extremely important topic that gets far too little discussion as we see the proliferation of media channels.

 

Just as TV and radio are more effective when used together, rather than independently, content, social, digital and traditional media are all more effective if used together rather than independently.

 

As marketers, it is critical that we ensure the consistency of message, tone and brand voice across all of the channels we use to market our brands.

 

Consistency builds trust. Inconsistency breeds confusion and distrust.

 

I am a big fan of Chipotle and their commitment to delivering "food with integrity." However, when I saw "Farmed and Dangerous," their sarcastic look into "big food" companies, that felt off brand and inconsistent to me.

 

I reached out to Chipotle to share my thoughts, and while I never got a response, I haven't seen the second of four episodes of "Farmed and Dangerous." I hope they'll let it die.

 

So how can you ensure a consistent message is delivered across all the channels through which you communicate with customers and prospects?

 

Heidi provided the Altimeter Group's "converged media workflow" -- how brands must combine paid, earned and owned media:

 

  1. Content strategy. If you don't have a creative strategy brief, get one and make sure everyone on your team fully understands it and is interpreting it in the same way.

  2. Publication across channels. Determine where your customers and prospects are most receptive to hearing from you. Where do they want their questions answered? How do they want to find out about a new product or service?

  3. Engagement/dialog. People don't engage with companies or brands, they engage with the people behind the brand. Empower your employees to engage in a dialog with customers. This will enhance their emotional connection with the brand. The more employees they have a positive experience with, the stronger the emotional connection.

  4. Amplification. Produce content (advertising, press releases, blog posts, tweets) that people find sufficiently compelling to want to share. I think Chipotle did a great job of this with "The Scarecrow."

  5. Restructuring. Think about how content can be repurposed across channels in paid, earned and owned media. Customize content for the channel but ensure that it remains on strategy and consistent with all your other messages. Think about how you can use each piece of content 10 different times in 10 different channels by repurposing the content.

  6. Listening/iterating. What are your customers and prospects taking away from your messages? Don't assume you know, ask them! Don't be afraid to engage your customers and prospects in a conversation because they may tell you something you don't want to hear. In the age of the Internet and social media, the customer creates your brand perception. Do you want to participate in the creation or stand idly by?

  7. Strategic analysis and reporting. As part of your strategic planning process, identify key performance indicators and monitor them religiously. Don't forget to supplement analytics with qualitative insights that let you know why a customer or prospect is reacting the way are.

 

Identify the stories you should be telling by learning which ones elicit an emotional connection with your customers.

 

What are the stories your customers are telling about you?

 

What are the stories your employees are telling each other about providing an outstanding customer experience?

 

Stories are much more memorable, and shared, than features and benefits.

 

Engage your raving fans in a conversation to help identify the most compelling stories that support your strategy and brand promise.

 

By doing so, your customers will become brand ambassadors and share your stories with their friends, family and colleagues.

 

Empower Employees to Get Insights Download the Free e-book  

Tags: trust, dialog, alignment, consistent messaging, authenticity, connecting emotionally with customers, content, integrated marketing

3 Keys To Success -- Visibility, Credibility and Relationships

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, May, 28, 2014 @ 10:05 AM

3 keys to success for you and your company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at the blog posts I've been writing over the past few years, I'm seeing a trend in the three things every person, and every company, needs to be successful today:

  1. Visibility

  2. Credibility

  3. Relationships

Following are my thoughts on ways for individuals, and companies, to improve each:

  • Visibility
  1. Build brand awareness by sharing information of value.
     
  2. The more you blog, the more awareness, traffic and leads you will get; your SEO rankings will improve as well.

  3. Use P.R. A lot of people think P.R. is dead in the age of social media. However, there are still plenty of vertical trade publications, and websites, looking for information of value to share with their readers. P.R. is another channel in which you can repurpose content.

  4. Leverage all of your content to educate your customers and your prospects. It's amazing what you can learn to do on your own by searching YouTube. C-level executives are 7-times more likely to look at a video than to download and read a whitepaper.

  5. Stay active on LinkedIn. Update your profile, your company's profile and actively participate in, and contribute to groups. I've found groups to be a tremendous resource when sourcing products and services.

  6. Have a mobile presence -- especially if you're trying to reach millennials. 80% have a smart phone, 85% of Hispanics. Ensure all of your digital communications are mobile optimized.
  • Credibility
  1. Build extreme trust. "Do what you say you'll do when you say you'll do it."

  2. Be consistent. While some people say, "consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," it's the only way to build trust. Consistency = trust. Inconsistency = confusion and distrust.
     
  3. Ensure your management team, and employees, are in alignment with regards to vision, mission, values and what makes you "different and better." Lack of alignment results in inconsistent messages to customers and prospects.

  4. Another reason to provide information of value is to build credibility. Providing information of value early in the relationship lets the prospect get to know you. Don't sell, just educate.

  5. Empower employees to deliver a consistently good customer experience. Consistency builds trust. "Wow" customer experiences will create "raving fans" that will help market your product or service.

  6. Put the customer first in everything you do. Help customers win, make their lives easier, and you'll have customers for life.

  • Relationships
  1. Strive to have customers for life. It's like aiming for the moon, even if you don't achieve your goal, you'll positively differentiate yourself from the competition.

  2. Have face-to-face conversations with your customers and prospects to get to know them as individuals. People like to do business with those they know, like and trust. Face-to-face conversations help to build long-term relationships.

  3. Help customers make an emotional connection to your brand by letting them get to know the people that comprise your brand. People connect with other people. Empower and encourage your employees to connect with customers and prospects -- in person and via social media.

  4. Listen intensely to your customers and prospects to understand their needs and wants. These consumer insights will lead to new product development, service enhancements, new revenue streams and repeat business.

  5. Referrals and word-of-mouth are still the most powerful, and cost efficient, forms of marketing. Give your customers experiences they want to share with others.

  6. As you enhance your relationships with your customers, you'll find that they want you to be successful. Don't be afraid to let them know how they can help you.

What actions can you take to make you and your company more successful?

 

Want to Accelerate Sales? Download the Free e-book
 

 

Tags: emotional connection to the brand, customers for life, consumer insights, information of value, alignment, extreme trust, face to face communications

Your Employees are Key to an Outstanding Customer Experience (#cx)

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, May, 21, 2014 @ 10:05 AM

engaged employees provide great customer experience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great presentation by Jim Knight, the former head of Hard Rock Cafe's School of Hard Rocks, at the VOC Fusion (#vocfusion) conference.

 

Jim's presentation was entitled, "How To Achieve Rock Star Status: Employee Culture is the Key to Great Customer Experience."

 

The guest experience is the "top of the iceberg" for the brand.

 

The internal environment (vision, mission, vlues, service philosophy, standards and procedures, tools and processes, beliefs and experiences) are the things beneath the surface that really impact customer experience.

 

There are two types of organizations: virtuous and vicious. Which one is yours?

 

Who you hire determines what kind of organization you are.

 

Hire the wrong employees and you end up with:

  • A disintegrated morale and culture

  • An anemic customer experience

  • No one talking positively about you

  • Slowing visitor rates

  • Missed sales and profit targets

  • Good employees leaving for other jobs

  • Hiring to fill positions rather than making the right hire for the position

 

Virtuous companies focus on hiring the right employees and end up with:

  • Great morale and culture

  • Great customer experiences

  • Raving fans

  • Sales and profits that surpass goals

  • Employees receiving bonuses

  • Potential employees coming to you because your's is a "great place to work"

  •  Hiring the best available people for the job
Jim provided 10 rules for your company to achieve "rock star" status:
  1. The only path to a virtuous environment is through employees. Have a well-defined employee life cycle for all your employees: recruiting, interviewing, selecting, on-boarding, training, communicating, developing, incenting, retaining and separating.

  2. Create compelling, brand-specific recruiting collateral. Have interview standards. Great companies only hire one to two applicants out of every 10 interviews. Hiring the right fit is too important to screw up. Have multiple interviewers use different interview questions and reach consistent on whether or not you're hiring the right person. If not, keep looking.

  3. Implement a rigorous, non-negotiable interviewing process. Keep in mind that today's workforce: values individuality, are virtual learners, have short attention spans, are tech savvy as well as tech dependent, want to do meaningful work. Companies have to think differently about future team members.

  4. Hire rock stars not lipsynchers to amp up the brand. Your employees are your show. The most successful companies in the world have a shared mindset among employees. If you don't tell people they should be working on they fill in the blanks. Individual agendas produce random actions, a culture of confusion and dysfunction.

  5. Be like U2 -- everyone has a part to play in the band. There are stars and there are supporting roles. They are both important. Find the right people for each. Have a sound on-boarding process. It matters how and who teaches new hire orientations. According to the People Report, if another staff member teaches, turnover is 113%. If any manager teaches, turnover is 108%. If a qualified training manager teaches, turnover is 104%. If a general manager teaches, turnover is 98%. The top 10% in sales have the 10% lowest turnover.

  6. Give employees something bigger than themselves to commit to. Communicate with employees in comic book style or airline safety card style -- short, to the point, easy to remember.

  7. Communicate to people in the language in which they dream. Look for learning opportunities outside the classroom. Encourage immediate supervisors to engage with new employees. According to Gallup, the immediate supervisor is the promary reason people leave.

  8. Revolutionize all instructor-led training into "edutainment."

  9. Leadership matters. Leaders have the power to light or extinguish the cultural flame of the company. Leaders bring the flame thrower every day and light it up.

  10. Position your brand to be tatoo-worthy -- for your employees and your customers.

Are your employees more inclined to tatoo your company logo on their body or back in to their parking space so they can get away as soon as their day is over?
As an employer or manager, it is incumbent upon you to hire and empower your employees.
If you want them to be engaged you must inspire them.
What is your vision? What is your mission? What are you doing to inspire your employees?
Empower Employees to Get Insights Download the Free e-book  

 

Tags: emotional connection to the brand, transparency, empower employees, alignment, vision, mission, values