Remember Dilbert? Has Workplace Incompetency Changed? — From Behind the Pen

Incompetent bosses, management fads, and bewildering technological changes are a few of the quirky bits of mockings Scott Adams includes in his 1997 book, The Dilbert Principle.

via Remember Dilbert? Has Workplace Incompetency Changed? — From Behind the Pen

5 world-changing ideas: our top picks for World Creativity and Innovation Day

IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth A drone on display in the exhibition area at the UN World Data Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 23 October 2018.


1. Small and sustainable: ‘Tiny houses’ could be solution to world’s housing problems

UN News/Matt Wells
UN Environment (UNEP) and Yale University’s Ecological Living Module; a sustainable tiny house exhibited at UN Headquarters in New York.

They’re small, self-sustaining – and they could revolutionize the way we think about housing around the world, as building materials become scarcer.

Measuring just about 22-square-meters, or some 200-square-feet, a “tiny house” comprised of one room with a loft or pull-out bed, hidden storage, a kitchen and a bathroom, was presented last September to get people thinking about decent, affordable housing that limits the overuse of natural resources and helps the battle against destructive climate change.

The design was created by the UN environment agency and the Center for Ecosystems in Architecture at Yale University in the United States, in collaboration with UN-Habitat.

>> Find out more about these potential solutions to the world’s housing problems.

2. Boat made of recycled plastic and flip-flops inspires fight for cleaner seas along African coast

UN Environment
The FlipFlopi dhow, a 9-metre traditional sailing boat made from 10 tonnes of discarded plastic, will be the first boat of its kind to launch a world expedition on 24 January, 2018.

After completing a historic 500 km journey from the Kenyan island of Lamu to the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar, the world’s first ever traditional “dhow” sailing boat made entirely from recycled plastic, known as the Flipflopi, was created to raise awareness of the need to overcome one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges: plastic pollution.

The Flipflopi Project was co-founded by Kenyan tour operator Ben Morison in 2016, and the ground-breaking dhow was built by master craftsman Ali Skanda, and a team of volunteers, using 10 tonnes of recycled plastic.

The boat gets its name from the 30,000 recycled flip-flops used to decorate its multi-coloured hull.

>> Read more about the boat’s inspiring journey.

3. Polyester made from recycled bottles, wardrobe recycling…: solutions to make the fashion industry more sustainable

UN Photo/Manuel Elias
Models at the UN-hosted event “Fashion and Sustainability: Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good

It takes around 7,500 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans,  equivalent to the amount of water the average person drinks over a period of seven years. That’s just one of the many startling facts to emerge from recent environmental research, which show that the cost of staying fashionable is a lot more than just the price tag.

Despite the grim statistics, producers and consumers of fashion are increasingly waking up to the idea that…Continue Reading

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Companies that Learn to Scale Digital Innovation See Strong Returns

Technology, RODI
Image Source: Industry Week

By IW Staff |

Industrial companies have found highly effective ways to scale their digital innovation efforts, resulting in much higher returns on digital investment, according to new Industry X.0 research from Accenture.

These “Champions” consistently scale more of their proofs of concepts (PoCs) and achieve higher-than-average returns on their efforts compared to their peers.

For the research, which was unveiled at Hannover Messe in Germany on April 3, Accenture surveyed 1,350 senior and C-suite executives from industrial businesses across 13 industries, representing both discrete and process manufacturing. The key finding: while all companies surveyed were investing to scale their innovation efforts beyond the PoC stage, only a small group of them – the 22% Champions – reached expected earnings.

Industrial companies have found highly effective ways to scale their digital innovation efforts, resulting in much higher returns on digital investment, according to new Industry X.0 research from Accenture.

These “Champions” consistently scale more of their proofs of concepts (PoCs) and achieve higher-than-average returns on their efforts compared to their peers.

For the research, which was unveiled at Hannover Messe in Germany on April 3, Accenture surveyed 1,350 senior and C-suite executives from industrial businesses across 13 industries, representing both discrete and process manufacturing. The key finding: while all companies surveyed were investing to scale their innovation efforts beyond the PoC stage, only a small group of them – the 22% Champions – reached expected earnings.

“Scaling innovation is critical for digital transformation success, but clearly presents a challenge for many organizations,” said Mike Sutcliff, group chief executive of Accenture Digital. “The key question is, therefore – how can companies succeed at it? The Champions we found in our research are very strategic. They leverage four specific management best practices to specify the value they’re seeking to create, and then focus on changing their organization. To them, it’s not about scaling more – even though they do that – it’s about scaling better.”

The Rewards for Being a Champion

Industrial companies have found highly effective ways to scale their digital innovation efforts, resulting in much higher returns on digital investment, according to new Industry X.0 research from Accenture.

These “Champions” consistently scale more of their proofs of concepts (PoCs) and achieve higher-than-average returns on their efforts compared to their peers.

For the research, which was unveiled at Hannover Messe in Germany on April 3, Accenture surveyed 1,350 senior and C-suite executives from industrial businesses across 13 industries, representing both discrete and process manufacturing. The key finding: while all companies surveyed were investing to scale their innovation efforts beyond the PoC stage, only a small group of them – the 22% Champions – reached expected earnings.

“Scaling innovation is critical for digital transformation success, but clearly presents a challenge for many organizations,” said Mike Sutcliff, group chief executive of Accenture Digital. “The key question is, therefore – how can companies succeed at it? The Champions we found in our research are very strategic. They leverage four specific management best practices to specify the value they’re seeking to create, and then focus on changing their organization. To them, it’s not about scaling more – even though they do that – it’s about scaling better.”

The Rewards for Being a Champion

The best-performing companies in the sample scale more than 50% of their PoCs. They also expect much higher returns from their efforts than their peers. Most importantly, they tend to not only meet these high expectations – but to exceed them.

Accenture’s research found that,…Continue reading

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Why Some Counties Are Powerhouses for Innovation

Image Credit: Stanford University_Shutterstock

By  Dean and Professor of Sustainability, Arizona State University

By the time the application window closed, Amazon had received 238 proposals from cities and regions throughout North America looking to become the second headquarters of the behemoth tech company.

Amazon invited proposals especially from places that looked a lot like its native Seattle: metro areas with more than a million people; a stable and business-friendly environment; communities that could “think big and creatively” about real estate options; and a location that would attract and retain technical talent.

In the race to attract high-tech companies, what can cities and regions do to become centers of innovation? At the moment, some places are clearly in the lead.

By my analysis of data from the U.S. Patent Office, Santa Clara County, California, is sprinting ahead of the country. Between 2000 and 2015, more than 140,000 patents were granted in Santa Clara County. That’s triple the number for second-ranked San Diego County.

Four other counties in California – Los Angeles, San Mateo, Alameda and Orange – make the top 10. Washington’s King County, Massachusetts’s Middlesex County, Michigan’s Oakland County and Arizona’s Maricopa County round out the list.

These counties are in large metropolitan areas that are known as technology and innovation centers, including San Francisco, San Diego, Boston and Seattle. The other metro areas in the top 10, not the usual tech-hub suspects, are Greater Los Angeles, Detroit and Phoenix.

Higher education

Besides large concentrated populations, these metro areas share two other ingredients that support innovation. All of them have one or more leading research universities and a large proportion of college-educated people.

Santa Clara County is home to Stanford University, an institution that has become synonymous with the high-tech and innovation economy of Silicon Valley.

Stanford’s rise as a world-class research university coincided with a rapid increase in federal and military spending during the Cold War. The university’s suburban location gave it an advantage, too, by providing land for expansion and for burgeoning high-tech companies. Stanford’s leadership aggressively courted research opportunities aligned with the priorities of the military-industrial complex, including electronics, computing and aerospace.

As a leader in patents, Santa Clara County benefits from a well-educated population, with more than half a million adults over 25 years of age holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, the 10th-highest figure in the country.

Nationally, there is a strong relationship between the number of college-educated adults and the number of patents filed in those counties. I found that, for every increase of 1,000 college-educated people, one can expect 33 more patents to be granted in those counties.

For counties that contain one or more of the country’s “131 Doctoral Universities with Very High Research Activity,” as ranked by Indiana University’s Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the average number of patents filed was 6,686, compared to only 371 for counties lacking one of these research institutes.

Cost of living

Another common trait about most of these centers of innovation is the jaw-dropping cost of housing.

The median sale price for houses in San Jose in Santa Clara County exceeded US$1 million for every month in 2018. Between 2000 and 2017, house prices more than doubled in the California and Washington state counties with the highest number of patents.

Competition for higher-wage talent pushes up housing and other costs in these innovation centers. Although housing prices increased in greater Boston, Phoenix and Detroit, they remained relative bargains compared to the West Coast.

The threat of rising housing costs and gentrification was one of many reasons why residents protested the planned building of Amazon’s second headquarters in the New York City borough of Queens. The company has now decided to pull out.

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Innovation must put people ahead of profits

Image credit: Getty Images

BY MARTA L. TELLADO, President and CEO of Consumer Reports – The Hill

President John F. Kennedy, on March 15, 1962, sent a special message to Congress on the urgent need to establish a new set of rights, laws and standards to protect and empower consumers — so, all of us — in a changing world.

“The march of technology — affecting, for example, the foods we eat, the medicines we take, and the many appliances we use in our homes — has increased the difficulties of the consumer along with his opportunities; and it has outmoded many of the old laws and regulations and made new legislation necessary,” he said.

For better or worse, those words have proven to be timeless. They are as accurate, as relevant, and as pressing today as they were in Kennedy’s age. While a family in 1962 could never have imagined life with “smart” appliances, quantum leaps in modern medicine, or the vast universe of services and apps that now populate our day-to-day existence, they would certainly recognize the feeling of being confused by the complexity of the consumer marketplace — a feeling that most of us know all too well in 2019.

Every year, the consumer movement marks World Consumer Rights Day on March 15th, the day that Kennedy brought this vital message into the national conversation. It’s a reminder of how far we still have to go to ensure that all of us can trust the things we buy in the grocery store, the app store, the pharmacy, the showroom, and everywhere else our safety, money, health or privacy is at stake.

The last year has driven home just how critically important that work really is. Wave after wave of revelations about data privacy abuses by Facebook and other companies, outbreaks and recalls that have called the integrity of our food system into question, the continuous rise of companies like Amazon and Google that hold unprecedented sway over what information we do and don’t see when we go to make choices — the need for consumers to have a say in the rules of the marketplace has never been clearer.

A new breed of products, platforms and services have rewritten the old playbook for protecting and advancing the interests of consumers. They’ve delivered us incredible convenience, connection, and enjoyment, but they have also left the door open to new threats to our wellbeing.

Kennedy warned us 57 years ago that when innovation outpaced old laws and regulations, it was time to insist on new ones. That time has come again.

We need to establish rules and standards that ensure that the remarkable technological progress our society makes does what it’s supposed to do: Make life better for people.  The voices of consumers coming together to insist on their rights helped loosen the grip of oil and steel giants a century ago. They helped set powerful automakers on a course toward greater safety in Kennedy’s day. Now, they must be harnessed to create new guardrails for today’s digital giants and connected products, so that innovation always puts people — not profits — first.

That power — the power to bend the marketplace — may not seem obvious to you and me as we go to make our day-to-day choices. But consumers have proven time and again throughout history that we do have the power to influence even the largest corporations in the world, and to hold them accountable.

We do that by making informed choices and seeking out trustworthy information. We do that by raising our voices to decisionmakers in Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. We do that by fighting for rules that serve our interests, and by calling out actions that don’t.  That power isn’t always in the hands of one person, but in the hands of all people, it is the most successful force of change we’ve ever known.

It’s up to us to exercise that power, to heed the words of President Kennedy. It’s up to us to make ourselves heard by companies, lawmakers and each other before this new era of extraordinary threats and opportunities advances into the future without us and leaves our rights and interests in the dust.

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How to build trust as a foundation for innovation

Image credit: Pixabay

By Michael Manning

As a manager, you know all too well that every organization endures periods of change. Maybe it’s due to a long-needed digital transformation. Perhaps it’s the result of a series of innovation projects or an aggressive move by a competitor. Maybe you had to replace a departing superstar or cut your team because of budgetary constraints.

The reason for the change doesn’t matter one iota if a crucial element is missing: trust. Without trust, avenues of communication experience gridlock. Collaboration ends up stifled and stilted. Everyone feels on edge and misaligned. A lot of this falls on the manager’s shoulders.

A team that lacks trust is a bad setup for innovation. It’s also risky, because no company can adapt without the confidence of its people. Consider the jarring findings from a December 2017 study by Ultimate Software: 93% of employees said trust in their direct support is crucial to staying satisfied at work, and a majority said they’d turn down a large pay increase to stay with a great boss.

Here’s the disconnect: 80% of managers think they are transparent with their employees, while only 55% of employees agree. And, 71% of managers say they know how to motivate their teams, while just 44% of employees agree.

Trust on both ends of this dynamic is lacking.

Warding off the troubles of distrustful teams

Have you ever been on a team whose members don’t trust one another? It isn’t really a team at all, just a group of people working on similar efforts. Plus, most of its members spend too much time protecting their work, not to mention wasting energy battling over rights and responsibilities.

It’s a shame. Without the bonding that comes from colleague confidence, no team or department can be innovative, creative, or productive.

Ironically, many leaders and managers forget this fact when they agree to implement digital transformation endeavors. Instead of making sure their people have faith in one another’s abilities and motives, managers move full steam ahead with programs and strategies. Then, they watch in surprise as talented members leave, infighting begins and trust dissolves.

As one piece of Forrester research showed, battles over digital ownership negatively affected 43% of reporting businesses. That’s a significant number of organizations trying to compete in their industries with limited trust.

On the flip side, companies that clearly define their team players’ roles and talk about innovation transparently from Day One have a better chance of constructing cohesive teams — and ultimately winning the digital revolution race.

When team members can clearly see their purpose in any effort, they naturally worry less about one-upping each other and concentrate on hitting overall goals. As they see and celebrate real-time progress, they foster a culture of innovative thinking that’s not limited by change-related fear. Without the presence of suspicion, loyalty grows and objectives come to fruition.

Establishing levels of trust prior to transformation

Considering a digital quantum leap of one or more corporate processes? Be certain your team members are ready to work together seamlessly by taking a few necessary steps:

1. Share your game plan

What do you hope to accomplish with your upcoming change? Hold nothing back and tell the full story to team members. Don’t feel you have to sugarcoat difficulties. Instead, talk about them honestly and discuss how you expect to overcome them. Being realistic, positive, and honest from the jump will help your team feel less anxious about working together to tackle the unknown.

2. Give your teams a wide berth

If you want your teams to take full ownership of their tasks, don’t hold them back with unnecessary red tape. Allow them to make decisions on their own — with parameters that you have precisely outlined upfront — so they can adapt as needed. The more agile they are, the faster they’ll achieve their expected goals.

3. Make listening to everyone’s ideas a must-do

Promote thought diversity along every step of your digital transformation, encouraging your players to toss out ideas originating in their personal experiences and knowledge. As employees open up, they will naturally grow closer. They’ll also start offering solutions that wouldn’t be considered in a less diverse forum, and their faith in you as a manager will flourish.

4. Get buy-in from less-enthusiastic workers

Have some team players who aren’t thrilled to embrace their roles? Get their buy-in as soon as you can. Be empathetic to their concerns while remaining firm about going forward with the digital transformation. After your conversation, they should feel heard but should also recognize that their contributions are expected. The last thing your team deserves is a naysayer who strives to resist, not commit.

Digital transformation can be a game changer for any corporation, but it doesn’t happen without strategic planning. Innovation won’t just find you. Instead, go out and discover it yourself by empowering and educating a trust-infused team.

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Innovation constrained by lack of support, budget and skills

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BY: Stephen Long


Research commissioned by KCOM, the IT services provider, has revealed that despite considerable enthusiasm to innovate, organisations are being thwarted by tight resources and strong internal resistance.

The findings show that a lack of senior stakeholder support is the greatest inhibitor of change, followed closely by budget and a lack of specialist skills. Each appeared in the top three challenges, highlighted by 38 percent, 35 percent and 34 percent of respondents respectively. However, organisations are also limiting themselves by turning away the specialist skills and experience that could help them advance, through overly predictive procurement processes.

The survey captured the opinions of 250 business leaders and C-level decision makers – including CEOs and CTOs – in government, financial services, retail, healthcare, and transport and logistics.

The year of the cloud
Eager to be more competitive, organisations are making big investments in innovation projects. Almost half (43 percent) consider driving digital transformation to improve competitive advantage to be their top priority in the next year. A further 32 percent are allocating at least 20 percent of their IT budget to new projects.

When it comes to innovation, organisations are overwhelmingly looking to the cloud. Almost three quarters of businesses plan to invest in cloud migration (70 percent) and the implementation of cloud native applications (68 percent) in the next twelve months. This is followed by efforts to increase data security, with 65 percent intending to invest in improving identity management services.

By contrast, only 20 percent will invest in integrating data across systems to improve business flow and customer view. Both public and private sector organisations are also taking an increasingly people-centric approach to digital transformation. In the next year, 80 percent said they would incentivise staff retention through training, accreditation and career development to deliver on their innovation strategy. This is compared to 71 percent who said they would do so by investing in new technologies.

Limiting the possible
However, the survey also found that organisations are constrained in what they can achieve. A range of organisational factors are preventing them from identifying the problems they face as well as the solutions they need.

For instance, companies have to contend with the high chance of failure when innovating. Willingness to fail is essential to the success of new projects. Fortunately, the majority either embrace failure if it is recognised early enough to limit costs (46 percent) or see it as a natural part of innovation (10 percent).

However, the definition of ‘failure’ depends on the industry. Over two in five (44 percent) of those in health and social care view late delivery as failure, whereas only a fifth (20 percent) of those in financial services feel the same way. More than 72 percent of the total respondents define a project that comes in over budget as a failure. This is compared to nearly half (45 percent) who define it as a failure to achieve the original designated outcome.

While the definition of failure may differ across industries, it’s comforting to see that whatever the failure, companies are willing to embrace it. Only 28 percent regard failure as frowned upon or career-limiting and, for these organisations, this attitude is highly likely to stifle innovation. Yet for the majority, failure is embraced as step towards innovation.

Stephen Long, MD at KCOM Enterprise, said: “It is positive to see that organisations are embracing cloud technology as the path to innovation, and they recognise some of the challenges holding them back. However, too many are stopped from giving their all to innovation projects by fear of failure.

Innovation, by its very nature, involves pushing the boundaries of what is known and understood. Organisations must accept that failure plays an important role in doing this. Only by obeying Samuel Beckett’s dictum to ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better’ can companies truly unlock the value of the cloud and new ways of working.

Fortune favours the bold, so companies need to prepare to fail, and build in a fast failure stage into all their innovation projects.”

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Intuit promotes its suite of products with engaging entrepreneurial animation

Intuit, Animation, Video
Intuit Video


Most people know of QuickBooks and TurboTax, but until last year, many may not have known the name of the company behind those popular financial help products.

With the release of its latest brand campaign, Intuit puts a stake in the ground as the go-to ecosystem of financial products – QuickBooksTurboTax and Mint – with an animated tale of an entrepreneur who uses those products to get her business and her financial life in order.

The 60-second spot, ‘A Prosperity Story,’ a girl named Luisa sits in her father’s coffee shop, designing a hat and coffee cups. When a customer gives her a tip, a new entrepreneur is made. She is seen selling the design on clothes at a street stand, where she loses receipts to the wind. Knowing she needs a better way, she is visited by the Intuit giant – a character introduced in last year’s campaign during a four minute film. The giant shows her positive cash flow through QuickBooks, financial health and tax cuts with TurboTax and financial management with Mint. She finds a storefront and is on her way to her version of prosperity.

Intuit states that it fundamentally believes that everyone deserves, but many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, where even the smallest emergency can send a family into financial crisis. Half of all small businesses fail, according to the company.

“Everyone deserves a prosperous life, but the path to prosperity not easy for everyone,” Lauren Stafford-Webb, head of global corporate marketing for Intuit told The Drum. “We’re committed to turning those realities around. Intuit provides the financial tools so people can take control of their financial realities.

“The giant is a metaphor showing the power of our products,” she continued, stating that those products are powered by the company’s continuous data and advanced technology. “We’re working on behalf of our customers, giving them the confidence they need.”

The reason that Intuit chose an entrepreneur for its tale is that it brings it to a personal level. Stafford-Webb said that all people have some level of challenging financial problems, and that there are 750 million people around world who work for themselves in some way. They all need to manage their finances while following their passions. The commercial animation demonstrates how Intuit can use its suite of products to work on their behalf.

The campaign was created and produced by Intuit’s agency of record, Phenomenon and the film was directed by Against All Odds of Oscar-winning production company Passion Animation Studios.

To get to the story the team worked with, Intuit spent a lot of time with its customers, researching all over the country to find out how people dealt with their financial lives. “The truth (we found) is that people have passions in their lives and are working super hard to achieve prosperity for them. They’re going out on their own, managing their finances. That was really inspirational to us,” said Stafford-Webb.

She added that the first animated campaign exceeded expectations, with 25 million views, and a view-through rate on YouTube that went past the average movie trailer. The name recognition for Intuit is still an ongoing process and one that doesn’t happen overnight.

“We are a 35-year-old company. For the first 33 years, we were building our product brands,” said Stafford-Webb, adding that with people seeing Intuit as the umbrella company, there is relevance. “Knowing the ecosystem of the products, they know they can work seamlessly across them with confidence…It’s only year two for the Intuit brand. We do have a journey ahead of building equity in the brand.”

Intuit also had a 30-second ad, ‘Power of Giants’, in the AFC and NFC championship games, and it plans to unveil 60-second ‘A Prosperity Story’ during the Grammys. The media buy will then cover other big events, plus integrated television, online and social elements.

On social media, Intuit is inviting its customers to tell the company what prosperity means to them. Luisa was decided on as a character after the company talked with numerous self-employed artists. For many of those people, said Stafford-Webb, it was getting to live the life they want, and the company decided to champion that dedication, while providing the tools for people to live that life.

Scoring the film is a newly debuted song by Raiche, an up-and-coming Latina singer-songwriter who identifies with the spot’s protagonist, Luisa, from her own self-determination to achieve her goals as a musical artist. The song in the spot is called Shine, and Stafford-Webb said the walking beat helped create the drive behind Luisa.

How to Totally Revamp Your Content Strategy Without Losing Your Mind

Content, Business, Writing
Image credit: 13_Phunkod/Shutterstock


If your current content marketing simply isn’t getting the results you want, it may be time to rethink your strategy.

Great content can be the defining factor that sets your business apart from competitors, but it can certainly be hard to find and create. Even the best marketing teams seem to struggle with the creation process.

Most marketing experts will agree that creating unique and valuable content is one of the most challenging tasks on their to-do list. One of the reasons why this is often so difficult is due to the high demand for consistently high-performing content in terms of engagement and quality. Fifty-one percent of marketing teams publish content every single day, which puts a lot of pressure on their writers to constantly come up with fresh ideas.

Chances are, even if your team is extremely talented, they have struggled with coming up with great new content over and over again. If your current content marketing isn’t driving in the numbers you’d like to see, or your team’s stream of ideas seems to have run dry, it may be time to rethink things.

Conduct a Thorough SEO Audit

Creating content is more than just writing about something interesting or trending; it also needs to increase your brand’s online visibility and boost its searchability. Knowing the keywords and terms that your audience tends to include in search engine queries is essential for coming up with relevant content topics. But, if your writers are unaware of the optimal keywords to use, it could hurt the effectiveness of their work.

Conducting an SEO audit is a great starting point because it not only shows your team the current status of the keywords your website content is utilizing, but it can also identify new ranking opportunities. It’s a good idea to partner with an SEO agency to conduct this audit and analysis because they will be able to offer unbiased advice and recommendations based on thorough research and expertise.

Try New Content Mediums

Switching things up with your content can mean more than just writing about new subjects; it may be quite effective to totally revamp your content style by trying a totally different medium. Visual content like videos and infographics tend to receive higher engagement rates with audiences than traditional blog posts, but one of the latest content trends that many businesses can benefit from is vlogging and podcasting.

Vlogging (video blogging) is highly engaging because it gives your content a face and a personality through the people sharing it. This type of content is also fairly easy to produce, depending on the type of format you wish to use. It can be as simple as sitting a few of your marketing leaders down in front of a camera and filming them discuss a particular subject or reading off the highlights of a previously published piece. Podcasting has also been on the rise and is becoming quite a popular way to quickly consume content during commutes or downtime.

Look for Missed Niche Audiences

When it comes to targeting audiences, small can often be better. Honing in on the niche segments within your business’s audience is important for increasing engagement and building important connections with your customers.

If your team’s content has been falling flat or engagement rates are simply not where they need to be, it may be time to reassess your audience niches. Your customer’s preferences and interests can change and shift over time, and there may be new niche groups that have formed since your last analysis. Be sure to regularly reexamine audience data and observe shifts and changes in important demographic areas — such as age groups, locations or overall interests. Finding these new audiences can help your content team come up with new topic ideas that speak to these niche segments and strengthen the engagement rates with these small yet mighty groups.

Experiment and Track

Trying out something totally new and changing the traditional approach that you’ve always followed may be just what your team needs for inspiration. For instance, your marketing team may want to give employee advocacy a try and encourage the entire workplace to share their thoughts and experiences on the business’s content outlets and social media pages.

The important thing here is to actually give things a shot and give them enough time to determine whether or not it actually works. Just because your first video content piece doesn’t receive a lot of views doesn’t mean that it was a total bust. It takes time to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and your team will find ways to adjust and improve their efforts overtime. However, it is still important to constantly track important metrics, such as engagement rates, audience reach, and conversion percentages to see if there is an upward trend.

Check Out a Competing Brand’s Content

While you obviously want to be extremely careful not to copy your competition, there is no harm in using their content strategies as inspiration. If there is a competing brand that really resonates well with an audience that is similar to your own, encourage your content marketing team to identify patterns in their strategies that seem to be working. On the flip side, your team may also benefit from checking out struggling brands and seeing what content approaches they should avoid.

A stagnant content strategy simply cannot support a growing business. Keeping things fresh and exciting is certainly a challenge, but staying inspired and finding ways to switch things up can help your marketing team create better and more engaging content on a consistent basis.

This Month, We Begin by Spotlighting Heart Awareness on National Wear Red Day

Go Red For Women, American Heart Association
Go Red For Women

Today we kick off American Heart Month with Wear Red Day. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States? Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.

Get heart smart and learn about heart disease and how to prevent it!