I recently saw an article by Fiona Smith on ‘6 ways to boost your word-of-mouth’. The title in itself grabbed me – why? Because when we ask business leaders the key question ‘How do your customers find you?’ and they don’t know the answer, they always say ‘word-of-mouth’.
I know they are trying to dodge the question, or if they are not dodging the question they typically don’t have the data to back up the answers to the next two questions: • Who are your best referrers? • How much business did they introduce to you last year?
Pixar is an amazing business. Built on imagination and creativity, it harnesses the potential of digital technologies to create the most engaging characters and films.
In 1979 Star Wars creator George Lucas and computer scientist Ed Catmull established the foundations of what was initially a digitally-enabled special effects business. Seven years later Steve Jobs acquired the studio, renamed it Pixar, and gave birth to some of the most successful animated films – like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. Today it is the creative heartbeat of the Disney empire, and one of the world’s most innovative businesses.
Pixar is a digital content business, and in many ways that’s what brands are today. Beyond the products and services which they support, brands are about ideas, stories, relationships and communities, and the capturing and sharing of them increasingly digitally, virtual experiences which become reality.
Giving a speech or conducting a presentation is hard for any person to do; you need to engage with your audience and make them forget that they are learning. Do not misunderstand; you should be aiming to teach the audience as much as possible, but in such a way that no one is bored, nobody should feel like getting up and pretending to have heard every word.
From the moment you walk onto the stage, until your closing remarks, you will need to retain the full attention of your audience, and this all begins with the opening. Each audience will be different, which will cause you to change your opening, in order to suit the people you are speaking in front of. You can start your presentation with a quote, story, or anything that you believe will get the audience’s full attention. You will need to know how to get their attention fast, and you will need to maintain their attention – fully.
It never ceases to surprise us when CEOs confide that they don’t have stellar expectations of what marketing can do for their business. “Sure it can make a difference”, they say, “A smart website and some nice newsletters”. All too rarely do we meet a CEO who tells us they expect their marketing to deliver truly transformational, high impact strategic results.
Many have a preconceived, purely tactical view of marketing. “We got last week’s receptionist to make a few changes to the website”. They don’t understand what strategic marketing is and so are unable to set the strategic tone for how they want their business strategy (for those which have one!) to be supported.
And by high impact strategic results – what do we mean? There are a few questions you should be asking of your business.
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