marketing

Five Key Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

I briefly followed a Twitter conversation yesterday afternoon that attempted to define what a real entrepreneur is. It stemmed from one individual’s frustration that some small company employees considered themselves entrepreneurs, even though they did not own or start the company. I wonder if it matters. Furthermore, I love the idea of employees – at big companies and small – ...

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A Cosmetic Fix?

One of the questions I’m frequently asked by corporate leaders struggling to manage in the current environment is how far to go with their cost-cutting measures. With their companies suffering sales declines, they’ve got to trim somewhere to maintain profitability (and in some cases to stay afloat), but they don’t want to cut the wrong things. Recent moves by Jean-Paul ...

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Keep Your Cool. Speed Can Kill.

I recently came across an interesting quote from Michael Schumacher, the seven-time Formula One champion. He said, “To perfect things, speed is a unifying force. To imperfect things, speed is a destructive force.” Business, like auto racing, is a world of imperfect things. Always has been. But as the pace of change continues to increase, both the danger and the ...

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New Features Are Not Innovation

Dot one…Recognizing the remarkable success of Apple’s iPhone, Palm launches the Pre, which (according to its ads), “does things iPhone can’t.” True enough, and as an iPhone user I must say that the Pre’s exclusive features are appealing. There’s just one problem–I don’t believe for a minute that the iPhone won’t adopt the same features within months. Given the time ...

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Don't Be Commoditized

by Steve McKee The other day I met with about a dozen smart, aggressive CEOs, all of whom run successful companies. Most of them, like most of us, are struggling in the current economic environment. The conversation turned to the pressure on margins they’re facing, particularly in industries where distinguishing one competitor from another can be difficult. The question on ...

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10 Innovation Lessons I've Learned

What should innovation leaders and intrapreneurs know about innovation projects and new ventures? I have had the pleasure of working with such people for many years and I begin to see a pattern that I have summarized into 10 lessons for innovation leaders and intrapreneurs: 1. Know that innovation and intrapreneurship is about teams build a team of people with ...

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What are you passionate about?

Visiting Panera Bread recently, I noticed employees’ name tags now include the question, “What’s Your Passion?” and the employee’s personal answer. Love the question, but I’m not sure about this application. It forces an employee to disclose what might be very personal information or fudge, sharing something more generic and not really a passion at all. For instance, the person ...

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Even Sheep Avoid the Commodity Trap

One of the unwritten rules of Lovemarks is don’t get stuck in the commodity quadrant, the realm of raw products and raw actions. For service industries like travel, this is unforgivable, which is why I will only fly on an American airline out of desperation or duress. For land based industries which originate in the commodity zone, global integration has ...

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Strategic Creativity Isn't Expensive

Many conversations recently have addressed the misperception that creativity, by definition, takes time, money, and effort that can’t be afforded right now because of the economy. A couple of examples: Someone showed me a meeting announcement for an “ideation” session to which they’d been invited. It referenced the range of ideas under consideration as “creative and practical and everything in ...

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Incorporating Social Media into the Conversation

I came across an interesting Fast Company blog article from Steve Rubel titled “How to Captivate and Hold Attention in the Age of the Stream” that caused me to think about parallels between digital media and physical media. Here is an excerpt: “Imagine for a moment that you’re standing on an overpass high above a busy L.A. freeway like the ...

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