Archivo de la categoría: Estrategia

Guía para establecer precio o fee de servicios a un cliente

En varias oportunidades se charló y debatió en Australinos acerca de los criterios a tener en cuenta a la hora de cobrarle por servicios prestados a un cliente. ¿Cuánto cobrar? ¿Qué tener en cuenta a la hora de establecer un fee o de ponerse un precio? ¿Cómo estimar cuánto valen nuestros servicios?

A continuación una interesante nota (lamento que sea sólo en inglés) con criterios para tener en cuenta. Básicamente una guía que plantea los beneficios de comenzar con productos/servicios for free, apelando al “experience good”: un producto que necesita de un período de uso antes de que el cliente pueda determinar su valor. Otra de las opciones planteadas es comenzar con un precio de entrada bajo, confiando en que el producto/servicio de uno creará valor en la empresa cliente.

El artículo habla también de la ley del costo marginal y del precio de largo plazo en el mercado. Hace más hincapié en internet e incluso en el modelo free que plantea, pero sirve como guía para levantar buenos criterios a la hora de ponernos un precio. A continuación:

The Complete guide to fremium business models


Editor’s note: This guest post was written by Uzi Shmilovici, CEO and founder of Future Simple, which creates online software for small businesses. The post is based on a study done with Professor Eric Budish, an economics professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. It also includes ideas and comments from Peter Levine, a Venture Partner at Andreessen-Horowitz and a professor at Stanford GSB

The idea of offering your product or a version of it for free has been a source of much debate.

Pricing is always tricky. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs don’t give it enough thought. They will often copy the pricing strategy of similar products, base their decisions on pompous statements made by “experts” or rely on broken rationale (we worked hard so we should charge $X).

Free is even trickier and with so many opinions about it, we thought it would be refreshing to take a critical approach and dive deep into why some companies are very successful at employing the model while other companies fail. We’ve looked into economics academic papers, behavioral psychology books and strategies that worked for companies to come up with the key concepts below.

The Law of Marginal Cost

Pricing plays a huge part in competing for customers. Here’s an economic law that holds almost as much truth as the law of gravity: in a perfectly competitive market, the long-term product price (aka “market clearing price”) will be the marginal cost of production.

Guess what? Because of declining hosting and bandwidth costs, for most Internet products the marginal cost today is practically … zero.

In other words, if the cost to serve a customer (support aside) is zero, the long-term price of the product in the market will be zero (because of competitive pressure).

An Experience Good

At the core of the “Free” models are the products or services being offered to the customer. Most Internet products or services fall into the definition of an Experience Good: a product that needs a period of use before the customer can determine the value they can derive from it.

A good example is Dropbox. Consider Drew Houston’s words: “The fact was that Dropbox was offering a product that people didn’t know they needed until they tried.”

There are plenty of academics who looked into the pricing of Experience Goods. In 1983, the Economist Carl Shapiro wrote a fascinating paper about this subject. His conclusion was that since customers tend to underestimate the value of a product, the optimal pricing for an experience good is a low introductory price which is then increased when the customer realizes the value of the product.

In some cases, a customer might overestimate the value of the product. In that case, the optimal pricing strategy is to charge as much in the beginning or to lock in customers with long-term contracts.

This is why customers are reluctant to buy when someone asks them to prepay for a service or product or sign a long-term contract.

Hence, the introductory price is a signaling mechanism. The conclusion?  A low entrance price signals that you are confident that your product will create value for the customer.

The Psychology of Free

Much has been written about the Psychology of Free. Two books that looked specifically into the subject are “Free” by Chris Anderson and “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely. Putting it simply, Free is an emotional hot button that immediately reduces the mental barriers for the customer. Free makes people think that they have “nothing to lose” since many ignore time as an investment.

From this perspective, free is a huge accelerator of adoption. The flip side of this is that after using the product for free, it is very hard to get the customer to start paying for it. This phenomenon was broad enough to get its own name: “The penny gap”—the hardest part is to get your customer to pay you the first penny. This is why it is so critical to choose your premium features wisely.

Decision Factors

If all that is true, it seems like Free (or Freemium) is the answer. Well…. not so fast. The decision is definitely not easy. Here’s a basic framework to help you make a more informed decision. A word of caution though: for every complex problem there’s a simple solution … and it’s wrong. The framework is helpful as a thinking tool but there’s no magic formula.

Here’s a set of questions that you’ll need to ask yourself:

  1. How big do I want my company to be? If you are looking to build a lifestyle business that’ll make you $8,000 a month and you have a good product, you can probably do without Freemium. If you want to build a dominant company that has a substantial market share, Freemium can help you accelerate adoption.
  2. What is the value of the free users? Across all successful Freemium companies, there is a way of making money or saving money from the free users. Either by saving on marketing costs (Dropbox) or by making money from ads or data (Pandora, Evernote, Mint) or both. If you cannot turn your free users into savings in marketing costs or revenues from third parties—figure out how!
  3. What is the cost to serve free users?  This is a critical aspect of the model. If you spend a lot of money and/or time servicing free users, you are going to lose a lot of money. The cost of servicing free users must be lower than the dollar value they provide.
  4. How big is my market? “The easiest way to get 1 million people paying is to get 1 billion people using,” says Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote. Free adds another conversion step on your way to revenues. You need a big market to have enough people who will be paying you at the end of the day.
  5. Is there value to one customer from other customers using the product? This will determine how many new users the free users will refer. There are three levels of value:
  1. Inherent value – You can use Skype only if the person you talk with also uses Skype. You can share a Dropbox folder only with other Dropbox users. In this case, Freemium can be a powerful strategy.
  2. Added value – You wouldn’t want to be the only user of LinkedIn. You derive value from other people using it. In this case, Freemium can help you gain traction if you use an effective invitation mechanism.
  3. No value – You don’t care if someone is using Evernote or not. The only reason for one person to tell another about the product or service is if they think it is awesome.

The Types of “Free”

One of the key factors in making Freemium work is the structure of the offering. What is it that you offer for free vs. charge? There are different types of free strategies. Let’s take a look at the popular ones:

  1. True Freemium – Give a version of the product for free and charge a fee for the other versions. There are two ways to go about this:
  1. Value based – The most successful type of Freemium strategy. The more a customer uses the product, the more value she derives, the higher the switching costs are, and at some point she’ll hit a usage limit and convert to a paying customer. Evernote and Dropbox are beautiful examples of this.
  2. Characteristic based – For example offering the product for free for one user (so it is based on company size for instance). Let’s think about a B2B application. If I’m a freelancer, I will use the application forever and I will never have to upgrade. If I’m a 3-person company, I can’t add more users and try the application for real and hence might not get to the point where I see the value in using it.
  3. Free Product for a Cross Subsidy  – Give one product for free and charge for complementary products.
  4. Time Based Free Trial – Give a free trial for X days and start charging once the trial ends. The issue here is figuring out what X is. On one hand you want to create a sense of urgency, on the other hand you need the customer to see the value in the system.

Open Source as a Free model

Lately I’ve seen many entrepreneurs confuse Open Source with Free so I thought it would be helpful to make the distinction. An open source model can definitely accelerate the distribution of your product and is a viable free model. It has two main advantages. You might get developers to contribute to your product (see WordPress). By doing that you can accelerate the development of your product. The other advantage is that you give customers peace of mind as they have control over the source code. You can then make money from selling pro features or value added services. There’s a critical distinction here and that is that your code is out there and anyone can start a company to commercialize this code. Bear in mind that it is very hard (often impossible) to reverse a decision to open-source.
The Last Bit And The Secret To Success

There are many factors to consider when you are evaluating whether to use the Freemium model or not. However, there’s one last secret that I didn’t share with you. During the study, while looking at the successful Freemium companies, a pattern emerged. They all had phenomenal products. All of these decision factors are useless if the product or service you are offering is nothing short of amazing. If your product is not creating great value for its users, no tactic in the world will make Freemium work for you.


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Marketing 3.0 = Marketing relacional

Philip Kotler plantea al marketing 3.0 como el paso del cliente a la persona. No importa tanto el cliente como consumidor y su interacción (Marketing 2.0) como en su dimensión de persona completa, emocional y espiritual.

A continuación, nota sobre Philip Kotler y el marketing 3.0, levantada de TheSlogan Magazine

Para Philip Kotler, las propuestas que surjan de las empresas, deben comenzar a cubrir varios aspectos del consumidor, incluyendo sus emociones.

En su último libro, Philip Kotler, gurú del nuevo marketing y publicidad, hizo un anuncio que promete impactar las reglas tradicionales del sector, dando paso a una nueva relación entre marcas y consumidores: el Marketing 3.0.

Según Kotler, mientras el Marketing 1.0 se centraba únicamente en el producto, con una comunicación unidireccional, y el 2.0 tenía como eje al consumidor destacando la interacción, el 3.0 toma en cuenta lo que piensa y requiere el consumidor para ofrecer productos basados en los valores. “A partir de ahora las propuestas que surjan deben cubrir varios aspectos del consumidor, incluyendo sus emociones”.¿La razón? Para Kotler, estamos asistiendo a cambios sustanciales en el marketing, movidos por el desarrollo tecnológico.

En tiempos de redes sociales -como él los denomina-  ya no basta presentar los productos con publicidad clásica. Las personas no son vistas ya sólo como consumidores, sino como “personas completas” con “espíritu humano”, que quieren que el mundo se haga mejor. Desean que los productos y los servicios que eligen les llenen no sólo a nivel funcional y emocional, sino también a nivel espiritual.

Internet aporta un papel esencial en todo esto. Con la conectividad, el postear y twittear, son cada vez más los clientes que se expresan libremente sobre las empresas. La fuerza de expresión de los medios sociales ha aumentado, lo que hace que la efectividad de la publicidad sobre el comportamiento de compra esté disminuyendo.

Lo anterior se explica en el hecho de que la experiencia de otros está siendo mucho más efectividad que los propios anuncios de las empresas.

Sin embargo, advierte Kotler, de nada servirá el “marketing más bonito”, mientra los valores no se vivan primero por la dirección de la empresa y después formen parte de su ADN. Estos valores hay que traspasarlos también a los empleados, sólo así el consumidor será a largo plazo el “nuevo propietario de la marca”.

Actuar orientado a los valores no significa únicamente donar o realizar proyectos benéficos. Para Kotler el actuar de forma filantrópica no anima a cambios sociales. Los clientes de una empresa deberían sentir de verdad que se les integra en el engagement de utilidad pública.
¿Cómo es una empresa que se rige por el Marketing 3.0?

Se preocupa no sólo por sus accionistas, sino que están interesados en todo su entorno: clientes, proveedores y colaboradores.

Poseen una política de puertas abiertas, estando listos para escuchar propuestas, iniciativas y comentarios de quienes están involucrados.

Cuentan con un director que, además de no tener estratosféricas pagas, están enamorados de su empresa, y por lo tanto sus empleados están enamorados de él.

Las compensaciones, prestaciones y la capacitación de sus empleados son mayores que las de la competencia.

Contratan personas apasionadas con su labor y sus clientes.

¿Qué tipo de valores manejas en tu empresa? ¿Tus productos y servicios están tocando la mente y el corazón de tus clientes? ¿Cuentas con alguna misión espiritual al interior de tu firma? Estas son las preguntas que debes hacerte, si es que planeas involucrarte en el Marketing 3.0.

La nueva tendencia se une además a una serie de conceptos que están surgiendo en el mundo empresarial y que buscan resaltar, más que nunca, los valores que cualquier organización debe manejar, practicar y difundir. Y cuyo objetivo es “hacer del mundo un mejor lugar”, concluye Philip Kotler.

Fuente: Altonivel

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Archivado bajo Estrategia, Marketing Relacional

La lealtad es un proceso

Por: Marina Kempny | agosto de 2011

En una estrategia relacional, es clave el papel de la base de datos y de los procesos de trabajo.

El paso fundamental para gestionar una empresa basada en la lealtad del cliente consiste en administrar los procesos que la desarrollan. Porque la satisfacción de los clientes es el resultado de una forma de trabajar. La lealtad entonces, puede entenderse como un proceso, en el cual la creación y entrega de valor al cliente es responsabilidad de cada uno de los colaboradores y líderes de la empresa.

Los procesos son formas sistematizadas de trabajar que aseguran la misma calidad de atención en todas y en cualquiera de las áreas de contacto con el cliente. Trabajar de esta manera es entender que el cliente no es un número más en el ranking de ventas sino que es una oportunidad para toda la empresa, para brindarle más servicios desde otras áreas, y para adelantarse a su futura nueva necesidad.

Trabajar según procesos definidos es una obligación del equipo de trabajo, en una empresa de servicios orientada a fidelizar a sus clientes. Siendo el principal y clave de todos ellos el Proceso de registro y control de datos por medio del sistema de gestión de clientes, o CRM.

Gestionar la interacción con los clientes mediante un sistema de información permite no sólo conocer a esos clientes sino anticiparse a sus necesidades. Hoy, la real ventaja de toda empresa de servicios consiste en contar con información única que otros no tienen. De esta afirmación parte toda implementación de un CRM, entendiéndolo como un sistema de gestión que tiene como objetivo maximizar el valor de la información de la relación con el cliente.

Sin embargo, hacen falta procesos de trabajo basados en la importancia y el valor de la información para nutrir al sistema, porque el éxito de una estrategia relacional viene más atado a contar con mejor información que mejor análisis.

Recopilar y almacenar información, y de calidad, es la llave para entrar al mundo de gestión y relación con el cliente a partir de lo que el CRM como sistema nos puede aportar:

– Procesar los datos sobre clientes

– Acceder a la información sobre clientes

– Analizar la información de los clientes

– Automatizar de la red de ventas: seguimiento de puntos de venta, gestión de contactos, gestión de oportunidades.

– Automatizar la gestión de marketing

– Inteligencia de cliente

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Success Comes From Better Data, Not Better Analysis

by Daryl Morey | Harvard Business Review
8 de agosto de 2011

One of the maxims of being a leader is to make yourself replaceable. I can’t remember what business guru said it, likely because they lost their job before becoming famous.

Like a lot of people, working to make myself replaceable is not an easy concept for me. I have spent the majority of my life trying to make myself irreplaceable as an analyst/decision maker since spending all of 2nd grade analyzing the optimal All Star Baseball spin card lineup (hint: leading off George Sisler was the key).

As much as I don’t want to admit it, however, the age of the irreplaceable analyst no longer exists, if it ever did. From my vantage point as GM of the Houston Rockets and the co-chair of the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, I see a world teeming with really good analysts. Fresh analytical faces are minted each year and sports teams are hiring them in larger numbers. If talented analysts are becoming plentiful, however, then it follows that analysts cannot be the key to creating a consistent winner, as a sustainable competitive edge requires that you have something valuable AND irreplaceable. If better analysts won’t create an edge, however, what will?

The answer is better data. Yep, that’s right. Raw numbers, not the people and programs that attempt to make sense of them. Many organizations have spent the last few years hiring top analysts based on the belief that they create differentiation. Smart companies such as Google believe they need savants to crunch those numbers and find the connections that regular humans could not. But my experience, and what I’m hearing from more organizations (sports and non), shows that real advantage comes from unique data that no one else has.

Here’s an example from my world. Many teams in the NBA track data for their own team such as how often a player on defense challenges shots. When tracked for your own team, this information can be useful to add accountability to the important things a coach is trying to emphasize to win games and to improve players on the margin by increasing their effort on challenging shots. The data does not offer significant competitive leverage, however, until you track the data for the entire league. Only with the league-wide data can you tell if your players are creating an advantage relative to others in the league on shot challenges (higher leverage) or even more important, identify players you may want to acquire who challenge shots extremely well (highest leverage).

Without the context of the entire league, it is very hard to use data in any meaningfully competitive way. Tracking data for the whole league across multiple dimensions is a significant task but very worth it. For obvious reasons, I cannot reveal what data the Houston Rockets track but to track the significant data we gather we use a “herd” or very large set of temporary labor that helps us develop these data sets that we hope will create an advantage over time. To be sure, you need strong analysts (and we have many) to then work with this data, but the leverage comes not from the analysis but from having the data that others do not.

With the Moneyball movie set to open next month, the world will once again be gaga over the power of smart analytics to drive success. While you are watching the movie, however, think about the fact that the high revenue teams, such as the Red Sox, went out and hired smart analysts and quickly eroded any advantage the Oakland A’s had. If there had been a proprietary data set that Oakland could have built to better value players than the competition, their edge may have been sustainable.

One non-sports company that has known the importance of data to create an advantage for some time and has continued to outpace growth estimates every year because of it is Amazon. Their ability to use unique customer purchase data to drive customized product sales and pricing decisions across a product line with unprecedented breadth has been its key edge over time vs the intense competition from numerous retailers and e-retailers.

While I may not have convinced everyone that data is the key edge (especially the analysts reading this), people in the workforce everywhere should think about what key data you could gather that no one has or even what new product or service you could start that would give you access to data that no one has. That’s the way to create an edge today.

Link a la nota:



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Archivado bajo Estrategia, Management, Marketing Relacional

El cambio hacia la orientación al cliente en una estrategia relacional

Lejos de ser un simple espectáculo o una moda pasajera, el proceso de cambio que se vive en la actualidad es parte de un cuestionamiento más amplio de la sociedad de hoy. Se relaciona, de forma muy directa, con la preocupación por la calidad de las acciones, incluyendo las expectativas de los clientes respecto a la calidad de los servicios. Es una realidad que influye determinadamente en la planificación de las empresas, en las estrategias de marketing y que se encuentra en el corazón de todos los enfoques y medios utilizados en la gestión de la calidad del servicio.

Para convertir la calidad de servicio en un enfoque estratégico debemos ser capaces de percibir la forma en que algunas realidades más amplias (tecnológicas, del entorno, psicológicas, sociales y económicas) influyen en nuestra visión de la gestión.

En primer lugar, la tecnología está ampliando la gama de los sistemas de entrega y, en consecuencia, la estructura de distribución (sucursales por ejemplo) de las empresas. Esto se comprende mejor si vemos cómo los sistemas de distribución basados en sucursales, que son puntos de venta fijos, se transforman en zonas de distribución con múltiples puntos de prestación que pueden llegar, incluso, a las propias viviendas de los clientes (con nuevas posibles configuraciones que inciden en la calidad del servicio y en la productividad).

En segundo lugar, la creciente necesidad mostrada por los clientes, de alcanzar una mayor sensación de control se deriva, en gran medida, de cambios sociales y culturales que se producen a nivel mundial y que pueden definirse como un movimiento al ya mencionado reinado del cliente. De esta tendencia se deriva el deseo de los clientes de disponer de más opcione, y de recibir más asistencia y consejos.

En este entorno varias empresas han empezado a actuar como agentes de cambio, modificando la programación del trabajo, la configuración de los productos y la percepción del servicio al cliente. Esto implica cambios en las normas básicas y en los sistemas de creencias de la gestión. Estas empresas han venido gestando desde hace mucho tiempo el deseo de liberarse del pensamiento tradicional del marketing.

Las empresas de éxito de hoy son las capaces de redescubrir al cliente, y que pueden gestionar con eficacia el servicio al cliente. El diseño del entorno, los procesos operativos y la forma en que se organiza el trabajo en todas las áreas de la organización, a fines de generar verdaderos “encuentros de servicio”, son clave dado que pueden ayudar a obstaculizar la calidad de esos encuentros.

Es imposible “vender” la deficiente calidad de un servicio. Provoca la pérdida de clientes. En consecuencia, el trabajo de una empresa de servicios consiste en gestionar las relaciones con los clientes, tanto en el mostrador como en las áreas que sirven de apoyo. Si la calidad no se construye como parte de los sistemas de entrega, los clientes experimentan variaciones en los procesos y las perciben como deficiencias o incongruencia del servicio prestado por el personal de “primera línea”.



MARTIN CHRISTOPHER, ADRIAN PAYNE, DAVID BALLANTYNE, Marketing Relacional, integrando la calidad, el servicio al cliente y el marketing. Ediciones Diaz de Santos.




Marketing Relacional, integrando la calidad, el servicio al cliente y el marketing

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Integrar la estrategia de CRM (Marketing) con la de empresa 2.0 (RRHH)

Comparto interesante artículo sobre la importancia de elevar el compromiso emocional de los empleados con los clientes para generar la buscada experiencia del cliente con la empresa/producto.

Creating an Engaging Employee Experience

Autor: Shaun Smith | Fuente:

More and more organisations are coming to the realisation that in order to deliver a great customer experience you must first create an engaging employee experience. There is no doubt that creating a powerful customer experience requires the full and continual commitment of the people responsible for making it happen. This article describes how brands like Zappos, innocent and The Geek Squad create ‘wow’ experiences for their employees and customers and, in so doing, outstanding results for their shareholders.

The essence of a highly distinctive customer experience lies in the emotional connection made with the customer. As Tom Ford said when he was Chief Designer at Gucci. “A brand is a memory”. It is how it makes the customer feel about the experience. Indelible memories are more often created by the intangible attributes than the tangible. Research by Ogilvy for their annual BrandZ loyalty survey found that companies “….successful in creating both functional and emotional bonding had higher retention ratios (84% vs. 30%) and cross-sell ratios (82% vs. 16%) compared with those that did not”. This is a significant difference and one that is more than sufficient to negate the effects of the economic downturn. It is for this reason that brands like Burberry, First Direct and O2 have continued to grow their customer base and thrive while their competitors have lost market share and seen declining loyalty from both customers and employees.

How then, do you create customer experiences that create an emotional bond with your brand? The answer lies in having a great product for sure – Apple would not be the brand it is without leading edge design – but just as importantly, it is the ability to have customers interact with your products and brand at a deep level that creates true loyalty. Anyone who has visited an Apple store and received help at the ‘Genius bar’ or spoken with one of the highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic store associates would know that the in-store experience is a stage for the brand and the store people the actors who bring it alive. Just as with any theatrical production, casting, direction and rehearsals are essential to top performance on the night.

We have just completed two years of research with leading brands for our forthcoming book ‘BOLD’. The book tells the story of 14 brands who are challenging the rules of business and delivering highly distinctive experiences. The stories are told through the words of the executives, employees and, in some cases, the customers themselves. What struck us in conducting our research was the unusual attention paid to the employee experience by the brands we studied: brands like Zappos, innocent and The Geek Squad. The qualitative research was supported by a survey where we measured the perceptions of the BOLD brands with a control group of executives from other organisations. The BOLD companies outscored the control group on the 8 dimensions and 40 practices measured in our survey by a significant margin. You will have to wait for the book to be published for the full detail but what I can share with you is that one of the dimensions that showed greatest difference was what we labled ‘A cult-like culture’. Now the term ‘cult’ tends to carry negative connotations. It conjures up images of fringe religious groups of some kind following the warped vision of a charismatic leader. But if we examine what makes a group ‘cult-like’ the attributes are neither good nor bad; it is the vision or purpose that drives them that is good or bad and which provides the context for their actions.

One brand that has attracted an enthusiastic following of customers is the US on-line retailer Zappos. Zappos sells shoes and other items of apparel but that is not its purpose. According to Tony Hsieh, its Chief Executive, the purpose of the organisation is to deliver happiness through ‘wow’ experiences. He calls it their ‘secret sauce’. The organisation defines a ‘wow’ experience as one that goes way beyond what you expected. One example is when Wendy Fitch, a regular Zappos customer, posted an ‘out of office’ announcement in her Outlook saying that she was away on a charity run for breast cancer. When the Zappos e-mail letter she subscribed to, bounced back one of the agents in the call centre picked it up. During her lunch break the agent purchased a gift card and sent it to Wendy with this message;

‘Hello, Wendy, while working through e‐mails from our amazing customers, I came across your auto‐reply. Normally we mark them as auto‐replies but yours caught my eye. I just wanted to let you know what an admirable thing you are doing. We at Zappos are proud to have you as a customer and as a part of our family. Thank you for being a wonderful person’.

So what was it that motivated that agent to take that action? From our research we would suggest there are a number of key factors.

Purpose beyond profit. This may come as a shock but most employees do not leap out of bed in the morning excited by the prospect of making more profit for their organisation that day. This may serve to motivate the senior executives but it rarely does so for the front-line unless they also happen to be shareholders too as in the case of the John Lewis Partnership. What motivates employees is feeling connected to a cause. That cause can be ‘Delivering Happiness’ as in the case of Zappos or ‘saving the planet’ as in the case of the World Wild-Life Fund. If you ask employees of Umpqua, the community bank based on Oregon, what their purpose is, they will tell you ‘making customers feel dealing with Umpqua was the best thing that happened today’. Quite a tall order for a bank! The financial services sector is one that generally has low levels of emotional engagement with its customers.

Hire for DNA not MBA. We wrote about this in our first book ‘Uncommon Practice’ but we found that it is still true for these brands. The fact is that there are many bright, well-qualified people out there that you can hire, but only a few of them will be the right fit for your brand. We tell our clients ‘Hire for DNA not MBA’. In other words find the people who share your values and teach them the skills they need. Umpqua advertises for employees in retail trade magazines, not the financial services press because it wants people who understand customer service rather than banking. Tony Hsieh offers recruits $2,000 at the end of their first week of training to leave the company. Why? Because he only wants people who are passionate about the brand and committed to what it stands for.

Rites and rituals. Sustaining a culture is very hard, particularly if you are growing. One of the things these brands do is to reinforce their uniqueness through the use of what we describe as ‘rites and rituals’. Umpqua has a daily ‘Motivational moments’ session where everyone gathers to hear someone sing a song, tell a joke or conduct a short exercise in some way related to their purpose. Zappos encourages their employees to be ‘weird’ which means they organise parties and theme events where people dress up and have fun. They engage in ‘Zuddles’ which are short, motivational work-group meetings. Innocent, the UK smoothie maker holds its AGM (A Grown-Up Meeting) where all the employees gather to hear the latest news and then have a barbeque. The Geek Squad, the computer support firm, uses language and titles to reinforce the zany culture whose sole purpose is to ‘Save your ass’ if your computer should crash. Their employees are called ‘agents’ or ‘double-agents’ and encouraged to share their stories of daring-do in helping customers through the intranet site but also social media.

You may be reading this and saying to yourself ‘Well, you might be able to do that kind of thing in the States but not here’. You would be wrong. We have seen examples of brands that focus on purpose beyond profit, hiring for DNA and encouraging rites and rituals in the UK, US, Brazil and Asia. Of course, if these practices are false or forced, they become trite and will not deliver value for your brand; but when they are driven by a common purpose and shared values, when they are sincere, when they create a great employee experience and when they result in a ‘wow’ experience for customers- they work.

Copyright. Smith+Co 2010.

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Innovaciones en los procesos, poco glamorosas pero eficaces

Fuente: Harvard Business Review

¿La innovación sólo consiste en introducir productos o servicios nuevos y atractivos, o no? No necesariamente. Hay mucho espacio para que las ideas frescas e innovadoras resuelvan problemas cotidianos de negocios y mejoren procesos aparentemente mundanos, como encontrar una forma mejor, más barata y más rápida de llevar los productos a las tiendas. Piense en la industria de la moda. Las empresas top como Gucci y Burberry están trabajando duro para gestionar mejor sus cadenas de suministro. Un problema crucial es cómo reemplazar colecciones no exitosas antes de que los minoristas se pongan nerviosos. Burberry ha invertido más de US$ 100 millones para mejorar su capacidad de asegurar los productos correctos a las tiendas correctas en el momento indicado. Claro, es una innovación cotidiana. Pero es tan crucial para el éxito de la empresa en largo plazo como lo son productos y servicios revolucionarios y atractivos.
Adaptado de “Everyday Innovation,” publicado por Scott Anthony en “Innovation Insights”, el 26 de agosto de 2008.


People typically associate innovation with the introduction of a sexy new product or service. While this kind of innovation gets the headlines, innovative ideas applied to everyday problems can have just as much business impact.

Consider a recent Wall Street Journal article describing how top fashion companies like Gucci and Burberry are working hard to better manage their supply chain. One critical problem: replacing dud collections before retailers grow antsy. Burberry has spent more than $100 million to improve its ability to ensure that the right products get to the right stores at the right time.

These challenges of course require a fair amount of blocking and tackling, but there’s also ample room for fresh, innovative thinking. And think of the top- and bottom-line impact of finding better, cheaper, and faster ways to get products into stores more quickly.

Innovation should matter to you if your job doesn’t involve strategy or product development.

Innovation is about solving old problems in new ways. Human resources or information technology workers can think of new ways to help internal customers solve the problems they face. Process-focused managers can develop ways to have their processes run better, faster, and cheaper. Customer-focused employees can find new ways to provide positive experiences to customers. And on and on.

The good news is that the principles that help growth-seeking innovators apply equally to internal innovation efforts. The following questions are a good starting point for any innovation effort:

  • What is an important problem that the customer, or internal client, can’t adequately solve?
  • What stops the customer, or internal client, from adequately solving the problem?
  • How can you make it easier and simpler for the customer, or internal client, to address the problem?
  • What is a low-cost way to test your idea?

Innovation doesn’t have to land in the headlines to have impact. Everyday innovation can be critical to long-term business success.

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