You Are Not Your Customer

Everyone’s at the table. Colorful markets are scattered. The white boards are pristine and ready to receive the immense collection of brilliant, exciting ideas for how your organization can make the leap, take a bold step, make its mark on the world. It’s a brainstorming session. I have been in this meeting before. You know the one – where everyone is excitedly brainstorming ideas about what cool promotion the company should do or which shiny new media craze the company should chase. Before you write another great idea on that white board, take a look around the room and answer this critical question: Do the people around this table really… Read More

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Branding is your business

I learned about branding in a very unlikely place.- from the business management bible, Good to Great. Years later as I sat through a brand training at my agency, I realized this was the creative brain’s way of talking about the Hedgehog Concept. The BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is the brand promise. The Hedgehog Concept is the Brand Position. And that, my friends, is the difference between the way marketers and CEOs talk about their worlds. Turns out they aren’t that different, as is the case with most of life’s biggest conflicts, it’s just a matter of semantics. So call it the Hedgehog, call it the Brand, call it… Read More

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Co-branding and Community Building

If businesses can use co-branding to their benefit, so can communities. Recently the Overton Park Conservancy unveiled a new public dog park (aptly named Overton Bark) in Midtown Memphis’s largest green space. Funding for the 1.3-acre dog run was provided in part by regional pet care retailer Hollywood Feed. In exchange for in-park signage, Hollywood Feed paid for construction. The company also continues to provide doggy cleanup bags in a kiosk onsite. For both partners, the strategy worked because: They knew their customers They chose partners wisely They executed it gracefully For the Overton Park Conservancy, the strategy produced needed funding. Additionally, it aligned the uniquely Memphis amenity with a… Read More

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Four Ways Customer Data Can Grow Your Business

If you are a small business owner or manager, by now you’ve probably started to wonder if you should be investing in some kind of customer data. If you own a restaurant or retail business, you’ve almost certainly been approached by a company selling big data in the form of loyalty card programs or access to consumer databases. Perhaps you’ve been resistant. No one out there could possibly know your customers better than you do. After all, this is YOUR business. And you’re likely the one dealing with those customers day in and day out. But without a method for capturing this feedback, you can self-select certain customers. Often, those… Read More

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Psychology of a Great City, Part 4: Great Expectations

This is the final post in a series focused on the Psychology of a Great City. “Excellence is the Result of Caring more than others think is Wise, Risking more than others think is Safe, Dreaming more than others think is Practical, and Expecting more than others think is Possible.” ― Ronnie Oldham As you may recall, the inspiration for this series on the Psychology of a Great City was a presentation I attended by renowned urban retail expert Robert Gibbs. During his presentation, Gibbs talked a lot of about national retail chains. From his perspective they are a critical part of the formula for success of any vital urban… Read More

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Psychology of a Great City, Part 3: True Grit

This is the third in a series of posts focused on the Psychology of a Great City. The purpose is to identify specific psychological traits present in the psyche of citizens of the country’s greatest cities and examine how our city measures up and where we have opportunity to grow. In the 1969 classic western, True Grit, John Wayne reluctantly journeys through lawless territory to aid a stubborn young girl track down her father’s killer. In an early scene of the film, Mattie, portrayed by Kim Darby, persuades Wayne’s character, Rooster, to help her. It isn’t the money Mattie offers that convinces Rooster to aid the young lady in her… Read More

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Psychology of a Great City, Part 2: Resilience

This is the second in a series of posts focused on the Psychology of a Great City. The purpose is to identify specific psychological traits present in the psyche of citizens of the country’s greatest cities and examine how our city measures up and where we have opportunity to grow. How an individual or a team copes with a set back is an important characteristic of leadership. How a city rebounds from adversity can define its ability to achieve greatness. Reflect on the sentiment expressed by the Memphis Grizzlies after a devastating collapse in the NBA Playoff opener last Sunday. The Grizzlies had put the Clippers in their place for… Read More

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The Business of Home Court Advantage

For the first time in the franchise’s 17-year history, the Memphis Grizzlies have home court advantage in a best-of-seven series against the Los Angeles Clipper to kick off this year’s Western Conference Bracket in the NBA Playoffs. The Grizzlies have accomplished quite a feat in securing home court for the playoffs and now they’re serving as inspiration for today’s Hyphenated Thinking Blog entry. The importance of home court is psychological. You’re playing in front of the home crowd. You’re on your home turf. It gives you a swagger of confidence and comfort that’s tough to muster on the road. It’s all about familiarity with your surroundings. To me, the same… Read More

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Trend: United in Disdain

EnemyGraph, a Facebook application that allows users to declare their “dislike” for a brand, company or group via the world’s largest social media platform, hit the market last month, generating instant buzz and controversy. Enemygraph has hit on something we all know, but rarely say: We pick our friends based on mutual dislike as much as the positive connections we share. And that information can be powerful for marketers. In fact, the insights into consumer behavior EnemyGraph can provide may be more significant to marketers than the “likes” feature. Why? Because often what a consumer is willing to publicly declare his or her distaste for can often tell us far more… Read More

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The Psychology of a Great City

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a lecture featuring urban retail expert Robert Gibbs. Gibbs, an internationally renowned urban retail consultant, focused on the concept of sustainable urban retail and discussed trends that would ultimately impact our neighborhoods. But what struck me most about the discussion were the characteristics he used to describe “great cities”. While some were physical – great streetscapes and unobstructed views of storefronts – most were psychological. What I took away from the Gibbs presentation is that there are some key underlying behaviors present in cities that are considered great. As I researched for this post, I realized that these behaviors or… Read More

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