This article originally appeared on VB Live

Trust isn’t just a warm fuzzy feeling. For companies that know how to add trust to their brand attributes, they can see their work show up in a graph, a trendline, and an upside in performance.

Trusted brands and the stock market

Each year, Fortune magazine releases a list of various business rankings, including the Fortune 100, which many of us rely on as the 100 largest public and privately-held companies in the U.S. ranked according to market cap and valuation.

In 2016, SurveyMonkey sorted the Fortune 100 in a different way: from highest to lowest in terms of consumer “trust” metrics. To follow that thread, my team measured the difference in stock-price performance between the S&P 500 and the Fortune 100 Most Trusted. We thought that there might be a performance difference between those two cohorts. …

Lean Data and the Conscious Chooser

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Vote with your money. That’s the adage. Does it work? I think so, but it takes a movement. As only one person, each of us is relatively powerless to change macro-system problems on our own. But together, in the aggregate, history shows that we can make changes. Big changes. Labor laws. Civil rights. Human rights.

The previous generation ratcheted up globalization and imposed a kind of “utility-value-ification” on the consumer world, where nearly every buying decision revolved around how cheap and how fast.

Times, they are changing.

A new consumer has begun to exert its economic influence, and it’s a segment not ruled by “lowest-price-wins,” “save-in-bulk” decision making. This new consumer will do more for something made sustainably or locally or with a specific political bent. This consumer wants, not just a higher quality product, but the hope of a higher quality of life for all stakeholders involved in the transaction. They see the human connection underneath the globalism. They see the way all things depend on each other to thrive. They want to trust those they do business with. …

Marketing should operate like a business. When it does, it can claim its seat in upper management. Marketing teams also must strive to be innovative. Put those two declaratives together and it’s worth noting most startups businesses succeed only because they have enough money leftover after their original strategy and “big idea” fails.

According to Amar Bhide in his book The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses, 93% of all companies that ultimately become successful beyond the startup phase have had to abandon their original strategies.

Repeat: 93% of successful startups failed at their original strategies.

Agile marketing practices always strive to allow space and time for emergent strategies to develop, because that’s where the real innovation opportunity exists, and that’s the kind of opportunity traditional hierarchies crush.

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christiansen goes into great detail about the theory of Capabilities in his book How Will You Measure Your Life? Christiansen says capabilities are composed of three things: Resources + Processes + Priorities

Resources — what you have to work with, including technology, skills, money, patents, people

Processes — how you work, such as hierarchies, lean networks, the dual operating system

Priorities — why you work, including company culture and values

In some ways, American business has been so awash in excess resources that our processes and priorities have suffered. …

No. Not if management only means power suits and celebrity leadership acting out an epic battle to accumulate cash into one big pile.

After all, the rest of us want to make something! We want to do something.

A recent study by Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University suggests that, if you’ve ever wondered what management actually does, you have good reason.

Bloom’s research group, including Raffella Sadun of Harvard Business School and John Van Reenen of the London School of Economics, tested whether thousands of businesses followed practices considered to be essential to good management.

After 10 years of studies from 100 researchers in 20 different countries covering 8000 medium-sized manufacturing firms with between 50 and 5000 employees, the results were…

Below is an excerpt from our book Growing up Fast.

In their book Rework, Fried and Hansson suggest that, all other things being the same between two job candidates, you should choose to hire the better writer. Why?

Because of story.

For all our multimedia, words are still the seedlings of new ideas. Words help us to organize, express and vet. Writing things down makes sense of what we think — even before we know what we think. Writing is a way to figure out story.

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Storytelling ability on your agile teams always pays off. As Fried and Hansson write,

“That’s because being a good writer is about more than writing. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They know what to omit. And those are qualities you want in any candidate.” …

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What’s Wrong With The Marketing Technology Landscape?

The Marketing technology category is growing in leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, our most concise view into the category was built in 2011. While companies have been added highlighting new entrants, the Lumascape inspired view has been used primarily to emphasize how complicated and fast growing the space is.

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Incentive is tricky.

Incentive means, “Management gives you more money when you do the kind of work they want.” But incentives will not necessarily produce the best return on investment in terms of innovation, happiness, or stakeholder value.

Consider: having feathers is correlated with being able to fly, but
feathers do not cause flight. Lift causes flight.

Likewise, incentive is something management can create and is correlated with success. Big salaries, stock options, a new Cadillac, a set of steak knives, all that stuff. …

The mantra of agile business practice.

There seem to be two basic types of mindsets in the workplace: structural and exploratory. Recent brain research shows we all have a practical and an emotional mind operating in tandem in our brains at the same time.

The structural mind is reliable and stable. Structure is the scaffolding and bones of a company, ensuring procedures are followed, schedules are met, paperwork is handled, and the bills are paid every quarter.

The exploratory mind, on the other hand, can’t help but say, “What if ?” to stability, seek out new approaches, and try novel solutions.

And the exploratory minds are usually wrong — almost always wrong (if there is such a thing) when making a first attempt at something new. But that’s the greatest part of creativity’s valor: learning from failure. …

Delivering feedback is a finely tuned skill. The problem is it’s a skill that is rarely finely tuned.

Below is an excerpt from our book Growing up Fast.

Internal Feedback

In agile software development, developers can work and code in pairs — with one person typing like a driver and the other helping see the work like a navigator.

Those pairs are all part of a larger development team that holds short, daily meetings called “stand-ups,” where members of the team share progress and prioritize what each work pair will do for the day. It’s open and non-hierarchical in nature.

“Sprints” are the accumulation of several stand-ups and are focused on wider scopes, where bigger projects that arise dur- ing stand-ups are broken down into manageable parts, or “user stories.” The team then tracks the progress of each user story on “burndown” charts. Burndown charts show what work remains on a user story or sprint, as graphed against time. …


jascha kaykas-wolff

Husband & Dad of 3. CMO @Mozilla. Info: Agile Marketing practitioner. Author: Growing Up Fast

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