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A profound influence early in my career

August 22nd, 2011 8:39 AM

I often get asked to participate in meetings or lunches where stimulation or imagination is required. Over lunch last week, I realized a lesson that I had learned years ago and it was again reinforced to me. When people ask what I think they should do, I rarely answer their question directly.

 Instead, I run the question through one of our models. I will listen, guide and support their own ability to tell stories.  We may disengage from the subject or bring outside discussions to the table but I try to enable their own decision making process to have enough stimulus and sometimes disruptive stimulus to work through a problem naturally. I might even describe examples of other industries that are quite different from their own until they begin to answer their own questions more insightfully then I could have.

Reinforcing through the right questions asked the right way, provides a natural inward solution to problem solving. When you hear someone say –” OK I get it.  I get what it means for  x brand…” and then they beautifully articulate it…..I have not taught them how to think – instead I have leveraged their natural decision making style to reach what I felt was a correct decision for them.

I’ve thought about that a million times over the years as Dr. Darrel Edwards never gave me answers directly – he always had the answer- yet he let me use my own personal gifts to problem solve or get to that bigger leapfrog answer.

Similar to the story above, if I had answered the question for this client, it may never have felt correct to him.  When he reached what he felt was the correct decision on his own…he was focused with clear direction and purpose and much better equipped to respond to any challenges. We all have the answers we need…once we have the right questions to answer.

~ Margo

What exactly is “being” a Canadian?

July 2nd, 2011 8:21 AM

Happy Canada’s Day – July 1st!!

There is more speculation on how Canada is changing as the country’s mosaic continues to shift.  Manufacturers believe that if we just had a comprehensive profile of these individuals and their cultural values, they would be better able to meet their needs.  Others have taken a different approach.  They have taken their brands to those countries to ensure their brand BECOMES ROOTED in their culture prior to arriving in Canada.

So my question is ….are we all that different?

The truth is that we are ALL human beings who intrinsically seek to establish loyalties in this world.  Loyalty comes from significant emotional bonds. The intensity of the bond is what we seek as humans to feel a deep sense of happiness.  This bond or need that we are seeking to satisfy is emotionally the same whether we have it with other people or with things. For brands then, achieving more love or more relationships would directly translate into more sales.

 So if we understand the “need” that a brand can emotionally satisfy….we should be able to more effectively and target all customers who seek to satisfy that same need.       So….do you know what they are really buying from your brand vs. what you think you are selling?

~ Margo

Why do people continue to say one thing and do another?

June 21st, 2011 8:54 AM

Why do people continue to say one thing and do another? I get this question all the time… “The methodology said it tested above norm……in fact, it was the best tested idea for their norms”. So what happened?

The answer is simple.  Because you are asking questions and they are telling you what they “think” and you are not actually getting to where they make their decisions (subconsciously in their value structure).  The answer lies in getting to their subconscious and correctly mapping their decision making structure through their emotional filters.

A second observation I am very familiar with… “We have invested heavily in training. But in 30 days they are doing it wrong again”. At lunch the other day, I listened while a senior thought leader stated that “people are not trainable”.

If you are “telling” people what to do, they are not able to make a transition for more than 30 days.  TRUE.   You actually need to start with their individual psychology.  They must understand themselves inwardly.  Upon having this clarity, then they are able to align the “intention” of the training.  When you get this kind of “values buy in”, you will find that 60 days or 2 years later they are delivering on your requirements.

We call it values alignment and it works.

~ Margo

What keeps me awake at night…?

June 1st, 2011 8:32 PM

MRIA Conference June 1, 2010

I have heard from a few sources that the marketing departments are drying up in Canada.  (Loud sigh), as Canada continues to be folded into Global thinking. LighthouseSearch has statistics collected in support of this statement.

How is it that in MOST companies, research is considered a “cost” and not the lifeline to stay close to their customers in their business?

While we search for ways to improve responsiveness in research, we must first ensure that we NEVER:

  • to have “fast” without “quality”.
  • to have sizzle without the right foundation or methodology.

Our marketers have fewer opportunities than ever to understand their customer. I actually believe that it is the customer that we are ACCOUNTABLE TO.

We heard from many speakers including Dr. Irene Rosenfield, that we must ensure that there is value that translates into sales. Only with that will research be a healthy and protected line within the P&L.

I am going to push even harder. We need to provide INCREMENTAL value from the global truths locally…..or our client base will continue to dry up.  If research and advertising are seen as costs versus business builders THEN WE ALL LOSE.   There are not many Dr. Irene Rosenfeld’s who believe that the marketers need to be in close proximity to feel the pulse of their customer’s.

I BELIEVE THAT WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE CUSTOMER and through them the client.  Then the work is authentic, objective and will translate into a win/win.

~ Margo

Emotion is a bad word

April 16th, 2011 12:05 PM

We walk into many meetings and have learned to leave the “word” emotion in the parking lot. It is an uncomfortable word that has been so overused or rather misused or …worse considered to be soft and not play a role in decision making.

Everyone buys to satisfy a subconscious need(s)……..if you can’t get beneath the surface….then you might be guessing how to best target your customer. Even the toughest critic (the Senior VP) who states two slides in …that it feels too soft…and by the end is grinning from ear to ear now that he/she understands the “power” in the emotion that he/she is selling.

Emotion is not a bad word….in fact when you understand the rules and context…even the toughest of the tough….begin to change their vocabulary to include one or two of those powerful words.

~ Margo

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