En unken smak av Solsidan…

Satt och diskuterade tv-serier, manusförfattande och det generella förfallet bland dessa…  hamnade raskt i reklamdiskussioner… Ett av mina älsklingsämnen efter 20 år i branschen…

Kom att tänka på de tidiga produktplaceringarna och dess gudfader i Sverige Peter Carnello och den artikel jag läste i Magasin Filter om just produktplaceringen han legat bakom till  Solsidan…

När jag läser om hur just produktplaceringarna i Solsidan hanteras och en hel del andra erfarenheter från reklamvärlden så kommer genast den unkna smaken av en förgången tid i munnen… En tid där höhöhöhö-Loffe skrattet yrde på byråerna och all sköns ekonomiskt trixande skedde på kundernas bekostnad av dryga reklammakare… i all sin okunnighet påhejad av en hel del kunder eftersom man glatt växlade mellan byråjobb och marknadssidan… vänskapskorruptionen konkurrerade ut kompetens och långsiktigt varumärkesbyggande. Jag har sett så mycket skräp i byråvärlden, inte för att det skiljer sig kanske från andra branscher, men det är en bransch jag kan hyfsat väl efter 20 år i den… Kanske korkat av mig att diskutera det men samtidigt är det den bransch jag ÄLSKAR och vill att den ska blomstra på meriter som sann kreativitet, kompetens och insikter om hur man gör det på bästa och snyggast tänkbara sätt.

Ingen är väl naiv nog att tro att det inte handlar om att sälja produkter och bygga upp varumärken men man kan ju faktiskt göra det på ett snyggt och renhårigt sätt… Transparens, Kompetens och Kreativitet borde vara ledorden…

Jag minns när Skatteverket drog igång en granskning av reklam- och mediabyråer för ca femton  år sen där man gick igenom resor,  saknat “kampanj- och fotomaterial” och andra förmåner som man ansåg borde beskattas… Vi hade skatterevisorer som campade i våra lokaler en vecka och gick igenom rubbet i pappersväg på mediabyrån utan att hitta något men hos våra systrar på byråsidan så blev det en annan visa… Behövdes det att fem personer från byrån åkte till Sydafrika för en fotosession… eller vart tog alla kläder och andra attiraljer vägen efter kampanjskapandet etc… Jag vet att det blev rätt dryga pålagor i form av skattetillägg och straffavgifter.

Nyligen läste jag i tidningarna om dom stackars reklambyråcheferna som gick ut och beklagade sig över att Skatteverket lurat dom med besked att det var ok att starta peruanska bolag för att trolla bort skatten på deras iofs helt ärligt intjänade pengar… men jag har ju liiiite svårt att tycka synd om dom just nu…

Tillbaka till Solsidan, TV4:s hyllade serie. Satiren som det är verkar tyvärr gå rätt över huvudet på många… Man skrattar igenkännande och de elaka kommentarerna över karaktärerna och beteenden haglar över fikaborden och konferensanläggningarna… Det tragiska är att det är ganska många som är där och många som siktar på att nå upp till Weber Genesis, Lexus, Callaway, Hilfiger, Apple och Samsung mfl… Statusprylarna som man vill kunna visa upp för grannarna utan att reflektera över att man blir en del klichén… Figurerna som finns i många samhällen och grannskap är det lätt att skratta åt men om man stoppar en stund och tittar sig i spegeln så borde skrattet fastna en smula i halsen… Det räcker med att läsa en del Facebook och Twitterstatusar…

När man tittar på sponsorerna som jag räknade upp ovan så kan vi lägga till Burberry, Microsoft Xbox, Natalie Schuterman, Fred Perry, Bauhaus plus en del som du inte tänker på när det gäller mat och en del andra produkter. En summa på runt 10 miljoner för en säsong räknar man med att dra in på bara sponsorer enligt experterna som Expressen talat med. Jag tror att det är i underkant till och med baserat på förslag jag har fått för kunder i andra serier tidigare…

När man sedan läser om hur det presenteras så är vi tillbaka till Loffe-Carlsson höhöhöhö:et. På förhandsvisningen för sponsorerna presenteras Promotionkungen Carnello av Felix Herngren ungefär så här… “Det sägs att religösa självmordsbombare ska få 20 oskulder i himlen. 2o oskulder! Vem fan vill ha 20 oskulder? Man vill ha tjugo Peter Carnello. Då skulle det bli knulla av!”

“Hela publiken skrattar – Finansiärerna vet att det verkligen blir “knulla av”, det vill säga kommersiella succéer när Peter Carnello är med och håller i trådarna. Ingen riskerar att där med att tolka Felix Herngrens udda uttalandet som något annat än en fin gest, ett stor tack till produktplaceringspionjären…”

Det ger en unken smak i munnen…  Välkommen tillbaka Gordon Gecko… 2010-talet har just klonat dig… i form av dyr buskis…

Recruitment agencies bad for Employer Branding?

One thing that you find out really fast while looking for a new position is that recruitment companies and their recruiters often are virtually impossible to reach…

Too many do not answer their phones, do not reply to sent e-mails and are often very stressed when you eventually get hold of them…  The most common response I have received (if you get them) in telephone is can you call another time/day or I am on my way into a meeting, can you keep it short… wow, no I cannot keep it that short… I am trying to pitch myself to you to get a meeting!

There is one company here in south of  Sweden where I have tried approx 60 times to get hold of a recruiter and now one year after and 6 different positions that has gone through that recruitment company, still not been able to get hold of him via phone or mail…

Or like the recruitment firm that I came to an interview to a couple of weeks ago where the recruiter spent 40 out 45 minutes telling me that she could not use my experience for any client since I have had some positions that are approx 2 years in each company and that it is impossible to deliver anything until year 3 in a position… and she claimed that it was a common idea among marketing managers in this region of Sweden… She did not even care to listen to what I could deliver as an potential employee with a long term experience from international companies… Just dissed me totally…

Needless to say that when I get into a hiring position they will not get any work sent their way… Nor will I ever recommend them…

Is this how you as an employer really want your brand to be exposed to the candidates?

What would your own first impression be of a company who you have to call 10-15 times to get hold of and that do not reply to your e-mails… an initial gut feeling response would be I would not do business with a company that treated me like that as a potential customer…

So I have a few very simple advice regarding this to both recruitment companies and HR-departments that would boost the general employer brand and possibilities to recruit when it comes to a time when there are a scarcity of competent people to hire.

  • Set dates and times where you will be able to take calls and answer e-mails or chat and make sure that you are available goes both for agencies and companies
  • Do not start a process with advertising etc and then go on vacation… see above!
  • Brief true and well on what is to be expected for the future in the position and a bit about where they expect the employee to be in the coming years
  • Make sure that the recruitment agency understand your employer branding effort and the true culture of the company… not the wished for corporate culture
  • Do a follow-up with those that did not pass to the different stages of the process and learn their experiences… and you might actually learn something from them about your image and if there are things to improve in the recruitment process
This is not rocket science… Just common sense… Protect your brand, it is by far the most valuable asset you have second only to your employees…

Empower and Reward – If you Love your Customers – Love your Employees

Why would a marketing nerd like me write about this…

After having a very interesting debate on Twitter with @_jorgen_e and @simonistic regarding compensation and organizational structure, I had to go back to my earlier blog posts on organizations and pondered how would I propose empowerment of the employees and how to design a compensation plan incl bonuses.

Challenging as it is, it is also something that have disturbed me for quite some time because I see an unnecessary imbalance and inefficiency when it comes to customer relations and business growth paired and how you manage your employees. Much of todays internal structures also gives that many employees feel dissatisfied or down right hostile to their employer but dare not challenge or change job due to the economy.

So what is my take on empowerment and how to compensate in my idea of an organization?

Well something like this as for a starter

Customer and Employee Empowerment

Let me explain what might not be obvious

Sales and Customer Service (incl implementation teams etc) owns the customer experience but they cannot alone deliver unless Marketing and Development contribute and continuously communicate and learn from those in the front line. Sales on the other hand cannot just do the deals and deliver terms that are not possible to meet for Customer Service and Development.

Here comes the first intervention from Top Management, they must understand that focus should not only be on numbers in sales above all. They must have a focus that include both Sales but equally important  Employee and Customer Experience… Because neither will be happy if terms are either impossible to meet when it comes to implementation or service and customer will be seriously disgruntled if they do not get promised delivery.

To deliver  a proper Employee and Customer Experience you need to ensure that your internal processes function, I will try to illustrate below the flow

The majority of customer response flow back to the company via Customer Services, Sales and Marketing and they should have a very profound impact on the Development teams work, and should be part of the iteration in the development process. If they are not very closely integrated they will get the wrath from the customers which will lead to…

So by each iteration and development all department that are directly facing customers regarding the products or services should be involved in the development process or at least should they have proper briefing and training before anything is unleashed on to the customers.

Employee disgruntlement will give the Top Management a belly ache maybe not in 3 to 6 months but in the long run since it will increase departure of competent employees, bad customer service and just pure disinterest of tasks which will accelerate to an increasingly bad Customer Experience. Which of course will have a profound impact on the company’s revenue, reputation and therefore accelerate the downward spiral through Dante’s Hell.

How will this structure impact Compensation then?

Employee Experience is as I have above discussed extremely important for delivering of Customer Experience and how do you the deliver it in a compensation form part from involving every of the customer facing and back-office teams.

The exact formula is for a talented HR-person, not me, to calculate but I will take a stab at a basic structure.

Starting with Top Management and here I include Senior Department Managers and Finance bonus program, the one really hot topic in media and even in the world of politics. Top Management bonuses has been on virtually every agenda for quite some time now…

Basis for the Top Management bonuses should in my opinion be:

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Employee Satisfaction
  • Company Revenue Growth (Not profit based on firing or outsourcing Employees)
  • Company Innovation & Invention (See article about Amazon)
  • Time spent in customer facing activities and other departments especially important for Finance that are  a often viewed as the plague by ALL other departments

Sales bonuses should be based on the following

  • Deals done, after deal implemented/delivered to customer satisfaction
  • Sales involvement in customer service resolution/account management
  • Company Innovation & Invention (See article about Amazon)
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Company Revenue Growth
Customer Service bonuses is the hardest one to define but I will give it a try and yes innovation and invention should be there since customer service team might come with solutions to development based on their customer engagement.
  • Customer Satisfaction – ranking of satisfaction in how Customer Service meet the customers.
  • Company Innovation & Invention (See article about Amazon)
  • Company Revenue Growth
Marketing and Development are quite closely tied together since they at least should walk hand in hand. Marketing should be one of the key stakeholders for new ideas to Developments process.
  • Company Innovation & Invention (See article about Amazon)
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Company Revenue Growth
  • For Marketing only – Brand Specific Metrics
  • For Development – Customer satisfaction for usage
This is probably just an utopia but if I got presented to a company structure that looks like this and a compensation/bonus program that is structured in this fashion it would very much increase my interest to apply for a job and probably also stay within the company.
And to answer my opening question… it is most certainly very good for business and an excellent thing to market and would make hiring of top talents very easy…

Versus what???

I have never really liked the word versus… especially in marketing and communication!

Always, in virtually any discussion, regarding either objectives, target audiences or especially, type of communication and media it is always versus something…

PR vs Advertising, Reach vs Frequency, Social media vs TV, Facebook vs Twitter, Display Ads vs SEO, TV vs Print, Outdoor vs Tabloids, 30 sec spot vs 60 sec, Marketing vs Sales, Quantitative vs Qualitative research… can do this forever!

Highly annoying when talking to even bright and savvy people and you get stuck in these kind of discussions

But the thing is that nothing can really stand alone, you go in there figure out your needs, set the objectives and criteria and then you add the things you need to do to meet those objectives.

I have been participating in launches of everything from Ecological Tea to Telecom Systems and one thing that is a take away from EVERY launch is that launching with only advertising is a serious waste of money… as David Ogilvy said, I know that 50% of my spending are a waste of money but I cannot tell which… I can tell… that is the launch of a new concept or product that is not a laundry detergent or similar simple… it is the first 50% of your investment that goes to just get some form of awareness and understanding…

This is where PR come into play in a very serious way… and when I say PR it can be Blogs, Traditional PR, Viral Campaigns, Events… when you have done this and started to build understanding for what you are trying to tell… then advertising kicks in…

NO versus here…

Abusing the word Disruptive!

I hate the word Disruptive right now… it makes my throat tickle to a level where retching is very real…

Everything today is disruptive… there are even week-long conferences on disruptive… and just search for an example TechCrunch on disruptive and you get an abundance of the word for every kind of hardware, software, services or just plain ideas.

Few article are truly any good and most ideas are not disruptive… The best article I have read lately is from Fast Company where disruptive thinking is discussed in a reasonable fashion. There is sentence that shows what disruptive is regarding a cellphone and battery life… what if we need no battery at all…

Most things are not disruptive, merely a good thinking and true business development in an arena that has gone stale. Key players that have settled down in their fiefdoms and feel very satisfied with themselves.

In my book disruptive is serious game changers… steam engine, electricity, telephone (both fixed and mobile), radio, television, the internet itself, nuclear power, GPS etc… things that transform a whole society or large business sectors.

AirBnB is not disruptive neither is Craigslist or Facebook… really… they deliver new good development on earlier ideas that move things forward. Google and Yahoo were disruptive in the form that it was made simple to find information in a whole new way on a global scale.

NFC and Square are more disruptive than verified by Visa as they provide a totally new way of manage payment for business. Square specifically for small businesses/enterprises that cannot afford or get a credit card reader.

What kind of disruptive things would I personally like to see then… Spray-on clothing that forms to a shirt or pants would be nice, self-correcting glasses, Cars that do not need fossil fuel (that includes electrical cars yes).

In my world a new website for finding a place to stay on holiday is not disruptive not even if it is unsettling a few travel agencies and local websites…

Mini Cars or how to kill a hot brand!!!

BMW have spent some serious money on hyping, launching, hyping and building the Mini brand in Sweden over a number of years now, with great success!

Alot of advertising, media and marketing people drive a Mini and it really was a great example of how to do it… Great marketing and pr work!

PR was fab, product placement and promotion, advertising and digital/social media good, mobile and games… everything really planned and executed close to state of the art… and I am not easily impressed nowadays…

Until a month or so ago… where suddenly out of the blue, Mini cars became one of the prizes in the Swedish “Postkodlotteriet” a lottery that is nation-wide and about as un-cool as anything could possibly be… they usually had Volvo or Volkswagen or similar brands as their prize car… but now… the have Minis… a hundred Minis to be specific…

I could not possibly think of anything worse for the coolness of the brand until I read the latest ad from Mini… Now you can get your car delivered by Thorsten Flinck…

Thorsten Flinck is the rebel actor/director that burned out on drugs and alcohol together with another  Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt…

Now I just wonder… What the hell went wrong in the boardroom at Mini-business in Sweden… Have they decided to commit collective un-cool Seppuku or did they just decide to just let the brand die and be a generic car company…

Anyones guess…

Communication as the key force for business development

There are many ways to drive business development in an organization but one that I have found that is key is communication.

Yeah right you said, no brainer… But if so simple why are companies so bad in doing this…

What do I include in communication then… Well let me list it and then explain

  • Customer Relations
  • Technical Development
  • PR
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Production
  • Logistics
  • Customer Relations
Yeah that is right customer relations is key to business development and to conduct  customer relations you need to communicate.
A lot of smart innovations in products/services are developed by a person or a team that have an idea or a vision. Where did this idea come from? Usually from either their own irritation of something missing or from discussions with other persons about either what is possible or not and unfulfilled needs.
  • How do you get things moving… well you communicate
  • How do you develop and get input to new development… well you communicate
  • How do you conduct sales… well you communicate
  • How do you build a reputation and brand… well… yeah you got it now…
I have a story from my time in Ericsson that is quite simple but emphasize my point about communication.
Ericsson wanted to be more liked, considered as an innovation leader and leading supplier by the operator community and influencers like Gartner and I was responsible for developing the new communication strategy for the mobile systems division. When I got the objectives they were absolutely off the chart based on the money they were ready to spend so I had to go back and think hard for  a while on how to manage this issue.
I talked to a lot of people and the product managers and engineers and came to the conclusion that the reason to that Nokia was seen as the innovation leader was that they communicated constantly about their system, development and research… Ericsson and Nokia did a lot of co-development on things like 3G but Ericsson never ever talked public about their research until it was ready to be launched… Nokia on the other hand talked like it was their development solely which of course repeated often enough will be considered a truth… My solution to it was to revise the objectives, develop a new manual on how and when to publish but I guess that it was buried since they still play with the cards close up…
So what is my advice about communication and business development…
  • Talk about what you aim do, stealth is over-rated and mostly plain ridiculous – dot com era…
  • Invite your customers in the development work – yeah not just a RFC
  • Make a sensible plan for communication – it differs if you are a small company or a big international company but still the basics are the same.
  • Make sure that your iteration process involves ordinary users and non-experts… i e your customers and users… and listen to them, technically your solution might be better but it might not work in the ordinary workflow of users day…
  • Good ideas might come from anywhere… therefore communicate…