Thinking about these two important leadership characteristics, I am reminded of a story one of my friends told me about Arabian Horses. "It has long been said that horses in Arabia go through a rigorous selection process. To live in this hot, desert climate, one depends on unfailing obedience and loyalty of his horse. The horses are tested in order to select the very best.
Do you have a brand positioning statement? A business at any stage needs a strong brand positioning statement. This statement needs to be known by everyone in the organization. A clear statement helps marketers and companies rise above the competitive noise and articulate the value they provide to their target audience.
Last week (February 28 - March 3), Qualtrics held their annual customer conference called the Qualtrics Insight Summit at the Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. This conference attracts the best customer experience leaders from around the world. The line up of world renowned speakers is impressive and inspiring. Omar Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer, Beats by Dre, inspired the audience from the stage on day one with his keynote, "Your Product is the Experience: Why Beats By Dre Isn't Just About Headphones."
In my last blog, I discussed 6 rules to create a competitive advantage and win. In this week's blog, I want to cover five marketing positioning strategies that will help you differentiate your product/service and carve out your spot in a competitive landscape. These five positioning strategies will help you focus your company and help you create market value. As you watch TV commercials and marketing strategies unfold in competitive markets you'll see one of these five positioning strategies at work.
As I have built companies, there has always been competition. As you build your business or your brand there will be competition both direct and indirect. I've had to learn to embrace the competition and use it to make our company and our products/services better. There is one truth I've learned through the process, competition makes you better. So how do you compete and win when your competition has more capital and resources than you do?
For this week's blog post, I'm going back 7 years to an experience where I learned the importance of internal marketing. I was a Director of Marketing at AtTask now Workfront. Over a quick few years, we had acquired some great enterprise customer logos. For most of the company, they where just awesome logos, but we know that each of these customers had awesome stories to tell and we wanted to tell them. We developed a internal product marketing strategy to change this.
Thanks for stoping by and reading my leadership blog. In this blog I cover leadership principles and business strategies that will help you succeed as a leader and entrepreneur. This week I've been inspired by the simple leadership teachings of the 14th Dalai Lama. His life and leadership principles are very simple to understand.
Over the past decade, I've been involved in helping Software as a Service (SaaS) companies go from concept to hypergrowth. I have gone through that that journey three times with Workfront Formerly AtTask, Lendio, and now ClientSuccess. During each of these startup journeys we have had to develop a strategic way we engaged with our customers. As we end 2016 and enter into 2017, the biggest impact in growth for a SaaS company will be in the ability to retain and grow their existing customer base. Revenue retention and growth of current customers is the catalyst to hypergrowth for SaaS companies.
Over the past 12 years of building startups, I've learned that the X factor to growth and success is found in the team. The successful teams have clear metrics that show if they are winning or losing daily. They have the ability to develop strategies that drive results. They execute those strategies with passion to win and determination to quickly remove the roadblocks that stand in the way. Here is a matrix to help you determine if you have the right people on your team to drive big results.
Each Olympics I watch to see who will emerge victorious in Olympic branding. The IOC (the governing body of the Olympics) has many branding guidelines and restrictions to Olympic branding. These guidelines create opportunities for companies like Nike who look for creative ways to gain mass awareness and generate deep brand equity throughout the Olympics. This year was no different—Nike used it's shoes with yellow and pink to win the Olympics branding game.
The 2014 Winter Olympics were full of amazing stories of victory and defeat. From the underdogs to the favored champions, the Sochi Olympics did not disappoint. One of my favorite moments was a brand strategy from Oakley. A brand strategy that unified the best athletics in the world around the color green. With million of eyeballs watching the Olympics, companies (brands) try to use creative marketing techniques to seize the moment. Oakley did it perfectly—it started with green.
One of my favorite articles is, The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Walter Isaacson is the author of the best-selling biography of Steve Jobs. The book is based on more than forty interviews with Steve Jobs over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues. Over the many years since the passing of Steve Jobs, there have been hundreds maybe thousands of blogs that have been written about him. This is one of my favorite articles on Steve Jobs because of the how much time Walter Isaacson spent with him.
In a previous post, I discussed the top 10 questions entrepreneurs and product leaders should ask before they build products. Now that you've answered those 10 questions, built your product, and found product/market fit. How do you continue product innovation? How do you disrupt a market or change an industry? Easy right? Innovation is a big buzz word. To succeed with innovation, make sure you understand 10 challenges that stop product innovation.
Successful companies build products that solve pervasive problems that people are willing to buy. Whether you're an entrepreneur or product manager inside a fortune 100 company, let me suggest ten questions you should ask prior to your build. These ten questions will help guide your product development process. The best products in the world solve real problems with simple solutions people are willing to buy.
Chasing Mavericks is a movie based on the true story of Jay Moriarity.'s journey to surf Mavericks, a big wave break in Northern California. Mavericks is a famous surf location about 2 miles from the shore outside Pillar Point Harbor, just north of the town of Half Moon Bay. Waves can routinely crest at over 25 feet and top out at over 60 feet. In the movie, Jay Moriarity's mentor (Frosty) Rick Hesson teaches him four pillars to survive and surf Mavericks. The four pillars can be applied to your life and help you set up for success.
Growing up in the world of competitive freestyle skiing, you learn very quickly that you can be good with your athleticism, but you need to be even stronger with your mental game. We have all heard the saying about how success in sports, life, or business is 90% mental and 10% skill. I believe that. My success in sports, life, and business have been when I've combined mental strength and preparedness with a foundation of skills.
Winston Churchill once said, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." These words are powerful. Failure is not fatal, unless you don't get up and you don't continue forward. I'm not sure anyone who has had success, hasn't failed. They have been fueled by it. To help prove my point, here are stories of famous people who have failed.
The World Cup for Soccer is played every four years. Germany was crowned the 2014 World Cup Soccer Champion in Brazil. During the journey to the championship, the USA verses Belgium match was one that inspired the world. As I watched the match, I saw Tim Howard, USA Goal Keeper, apply four leadership principles to rally his team. Tim Howard, American Goalie, faced a never-ending Belgium onslaught for 120 minutes. Howard tallied an amazing 16 saves, the most in World Cup history.
In our lives and in our careers we all have managers, coaches, and mentors. Our goal should be to surround ourselves with believers. It was 1943. There was a color barrier in baseball. Branch Rickey did not believe in color. He believed in talents and skills that would produce a winning result. That was his focus with Jackie Robinson. In 1943, Rickey got approval from the Dodgers Board of Directors to begin the search for "the right man".
Challenges arise in business and life. Many times these challenges create roadblocks. Roadblocks impede progression. Last week I heard an awesome business leader, Paul Anderson, speak on 6 steps to eliminate roadblocks. Step one is to identify the root cause. It's important that everyone involved with the roadblock help to identify the root cause. It might help if you answer this simple sentence, "The roadblock is being created by (insert root cause)."