Make your marketing matter. The key to refining and authentic and successful strategy really comes down to one key element. HUMANS. Keeping a customer focus and having empathy for those you are providing products or services for can be a key differentiator to gaining results and developing new innovative strategies.

Marketing is a fast paced gig. You develop a strategy, implement it and before you know it the next market opportunity arises, and the gauntlet is laid down in front of you. Marketing professionals are adept at moving quickly onto the next campaign or initiative.

However, it’s important for anyone in marketing to honour the process of analysis and reflection. Without this our marketing budget can be wasted on repeating the same mistakes time and time again.

Keep the customer at the centre of your plans.

In short get the best understanding possible of your consumer. Only then can you unlock their true needs and tailor relevant marketing messages.

This could mean analysing sales data or market and industry trends but keep in mind these aren’t just numbers. They are there to tell you something. Become a master at seeking and interpreting key insights from data.

You may be working for a small to medium business that simply doesn’t have access to big industry data or even a client database. Don’t be disheartened. Talk to people in your organisation who liaise directly with your end consumer. For example, research incoming calls and enquiries and see what people are enquiring about. Are there any trends? Talk to people who are at the coal face. It might be a sales team or service delivery team. What questions and issues do they repeatedly face?

Have your customers talked to you lately?

Whether its via gleaming testimonials or complaints this is all vital information your customers are giving you. They are openly sharing their experience using your product or service and it hasn’t cost you a cent in focus groups or surveys. Never dismiss this feedback. It’s what can make your entire marketing strategy relevant or irrelevant to your audience.

Take a step back to see the big picture.

All marketing activities should align with the organisations overarching objectives. Take note of what your CEO is trying to achieve and check in with what your sales team are working towards. Joint team initiatives are always going to gain more engagement and traction than if you try to go it alone. Successful marketers do more than sit behind a desk!

Go live but keep your finger on the pulse.

Ensure you track and monitor your campaign as its happening. Gone are the days where our campaign goes to print or to air and we hope for the best. Create check points throughout your campaign to see what the results are looking like and make changes or build on this if required.

Give the odd shout out!

Keep your team engaged by demonstrating results of your initiatives and keep them inspired. Make it fun and about the collective achievement.

It’s never over.

Once your campaign is complete, dedicate time for you and your team to analyse your campaign. Share the outcomes and results but also spend time analysing what worked well and what could have been done better.

The only way to achieve continual improvement in anything we do is to take time to analyse and reflect. Use these tips to start your journey in creating an innovative marketing team. For more advise on a simple repeatable process you can implement to innovate your marketing initiatives reach out to livbydesign.com.au

Human-centered design, design thinking, customer centric strategies, human centricity. There’s so many terms for it but why are we hearing so much about it and what can it do for you?

Not only is the process proven but it is also repeatable and applicable to any problem. Any business can employ design thinking amongst their teams to achieve big results.

Many organisations face complex issues and its hard to know where to start. By following the design thinking process you can get a holistic view of your business and the challenges you face. From here you can follow a framework that will ensure an in-depth understanding of needs and then apply a creative process that will unlock your teams creative and critical thinking.

Design Thinking provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It is entrenched in the theory of human-centered design which is simply a process that can be followed to find innovative solutions to create products and services.

Perhaps Steve Jobs defined it best… “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Quoting the Apple founder is fitting given that Apple used human-centered design to develop some of their first protypes and continue to use it today. As we know Apple is a company built on true innovation but how have they done this? It’s not the capabilities of their products but their unrelenting ability to remain focused on the end-user and customer experience through HCD.

Here’s the best part. This process is not out of the reach of any organisation. You too can lead industry and create innovative solutions that can transform your business.

The reason why the process is so successful is because it creates a mindset focused on solutions, rather than the perceived challenges or problems. It starts with human needs and keeps teams focused on them.

No one person in an organsiation has all the answers. They say ‘the sum is greater than its parts’ and this is demonstrated with the design thinking process. The CEO or General Manager cannot experience or fully understand the intricacy of every challenge that their teams face. Delivery of a product and/or service involves many others within the organisation. To create an effective solution there’s more than just guess work required. Gathering a cross functional team will allow a more comprehensive understanding of issues and challenges but it will also allow for the creation of a more comprehensive solution. A multidisciplinary team that works together is your key to developing innovative solutions to take your business to the next level.

Too often we dedicate time and resources to solutions that we think might be the answer. With design thinking you can ensure that your time is spent developing innovative solutions that are much more likely to succeed and deliver results.

Start your journey to innovation. If you’d like our help to get started please reach out.

 

Innovation managers, chief innovation officers and head of innovation. These are all new titles becoming more commonplace as organisations realise the importance of developing new solutions and ideas for their markets. Often these roles are filled by someone with no previous experience in a formal innovation role but who have proven themselves and displayed abilities transferrable to driving new ideas across the organisation.

We have the top 3 tips for innovation managers.

Teamwork makes the dreamwork!

It would be a tough task to try and drive innovation alone and its one of the glorious aspects to your role. Who doesn’t love a good brainstorming session and being able to give people in the organisation a chance to have their ideas heard as well as being able to contribute to the next big thing that they’ll be working towards.

Implementing regular forums for collaboration will start things moving in the right direction. It’s important the wider team in the organisation understand the big picture and how important innovation is to the direction of your organisation. Start with an ‘introduction to innovation’ with examples of companies who have transformed themselves through new and innovative ideas. Then provide a summary of what you are trying to achieve, where the organisation sits currently and where it needs to get to in the next 6-12 months and then in the next 5-10 years. You want to gain your teams interest to ensure their future engagement.

Culture Club

You’ve made a good start. You’ve got the members of the organisation together and shared the big vision for the future but now the challenge is to keep up the momentum.

Examine your workplace culture. Chances are that if your organisation have made a specific role for driving innovation then there is a belief not only on the importance of new ideas but that there are areas for improvement in how they have done things in the past. Challenge the status quo and examine why it is that new ideas haven’t succeeded in the past or what improvements could be made on those that did succeed.

Develop an ecosystem that is built on being open to new ideas and open to one another. The acceptance and willingness to share new ideas must be cultivated and encouraged from all members of the organisation. Leaders should demonstrate productive leadership and model the behaviours of what they are trying to instil. Silicon Valley is an example of one of the most innovative ecosystems in the world and it’s these traits that promote the free flow of ideas and lay the grounds for so many success stories.

Seek Out New Methods

Try to view things differently. Examine other organisations who have successfully achieved what you are trying to do or look at different industries that you can learn from. In the global 2018 report “State of Innovation” by CB Insights it clearly states that one of the primary factors affecting innovation velocity is the insular view on how they will attack new developments. Rather than partnering or buying most organisations choose to build innovations themselves. “60% of companies say it takes a year or longer to create new products, with almost one-forth saying it takes over two years from ideation to launch.”

Look at the market and seriously consider partnerships or acquisitions that will help you accelerate your release date. Also, consider opportunities for co-design as you may find a partnering organisation with equal expectations for success who are embarking on the same or similar challenges. If managed correctly co-design and co-creation can ensure more efficient go to market timeframes and less risk.

If you have recently been appointed as an innovation manager congrats! We’d love to hear about your experiences for our research. Do you think we all have a little innovation manager inside of us? :O)

Thanks for reading! We love talking innovation so if you want to chat more contact us here.

Let’s keep this simple. Branding is about communicating who you are to people who need your product or service. As a small business you may feel like you are under resourced with no marketing budget and no marketing know-how but let’s stop you there. Small businesses are now able to communicate with consumers directly, instantly and intimately. Digital platforms have opened the doors and eroded the barriers for small businesses and we see them doing this in a way that large organisations can only emulate. Undoubtedly, small businesses have more flexibility and agility when it comes to wining the bid for quicker and stronger consumer engagement.

Large corporations spending enough money to feed small nations in the race to find an authentic brand often fall short. Multinational organisations who we think should have the resources to have it all together can be just as unclear as the rest of us. They are fighting their way through saturated markets struggling to get their brand to stand out, struggling to differentiate their product or service from their competitors.

At the end of the day if you have product or service that fulfills a need then you’re on the right track. It sounds so simple but at Liv By Design we are all about simplicity and there is nothing stopping you from developing your own brand strategy.

The key to innovation is uncovering a need and meeting it in new creative ways. The key to a great brand strategy is being able to communicate the benefits of what you provide quickly, consistently and creatively. Let’s start with some critical thinking tasks to get you started.

1. Find your tone.
What’s your emotional connection with your customers and how does your brand make people feel? This can guide you as to your tone of voice and the language you use. Remember to let your personality shine through but be mindful of your audience. The wrong language can isolate you from their selection process quickly.

If your still not sure think about your market positioning in relation to your competitors. What do you offer that’s better or different and how can you tell people that?

2. Define your brand story.
What makes your organisation unique? How did you get started? Why did you start your business? In the famous words of Simon Sinek ‘people buy why you do what you do, not what you do or how you do it’.

3. Make it quick.
Do you have a value proposition? A value proposition will help you succinctly summarise your offering in a few seconds, it’s essentially your elevator pitch. Include this in your marketing collateral, your website and your conversations with clients. The key to an effective value proposition is to maintain the focus on the consumer benefits of what you deliver and try to keep it short and sweet.

4. State your intentions.
Purpose is a buzz word right now but defining your organisations purpose can build trust with potential clients/consumers and help engage them. Create the mission, vision and values for your business and use this as your teams compass in day to day decision making and communicate it to your customers to help them understand who you are and why you exist.

5. Don’t go it alone.
One of the greatest assets you have as a small business is your people. Give them the opportunity to help you brainstorm and workshop your branding strategy. With the right structure you can unlock your team’s creativity and develop a brand strategy that may reignite your business.

We love talking strategy. If you’d like some more guidance and information on how to plan a branding workshop or where to start give us a call we’d love to chat.

The ability to see the wood from the trees is a skill that comes with time in the workforce. Often when we first start working we simply want to prove ourselves in our role and strive for excellence. As time goes on however, we need to examine the counter-effect this could have on our own sense of fulfilment and career progression.

At Liv By Design our strong belief is that everyone has something to contribute to their workplace and everyone can affect change no matter what your job title is. Unfortunately, the way most organisations are structured means that only a few people are given formal opportunities to effect strategic plans and offer innovative ideas. In human-centred design or design thinking we often thinking of adapting this to develop a product or improve a service, however, we can take the theories of design thinking and adapt these to our own personal development.

Climbing the corporate ladder isn’t on all our agendas and it certainly shouldn’t be our primary motivation. Yet, we all want to be content in our roles and belong amongst the environment we work in. To really amplify our sense of achievement and belonging this can mean challenging ourselves to do things out of our comfort zone.

Let’s look at some methods that you can start with.

  1. Look at the bigger picture.

If you’re not involved in board meetings or executive team meetings don’t let this stop you. Have a conversation with the CEO when they’re grabbing a cuppa in the staff room or ask for 5 mins of their time, so they can share the organisations goals with you and where they see the big opportunities for change. Talk to your manager and ask them what their priorities are and how they want to improve the organisation. Having these conversations isn’t limited to a title. It’s guaranteed to give you new insights to what’s happening around you and it may help you improve efficiencies in your own role. Improve your understanding by knowing how what you do every day affects others in their roles.

Create alliances and strong relationships.

If you’ve done the first step guess what? You’ve already given yourself a head start. Having one on one’s and multiple conversations will help you get to know what’s important to other people and how you can help them. As a result, you’ll become a trusted colleague. If we look at the structure of ‘design thinking’ you would hold a workshop involving a cross functional team from various departments in your business to work towards a solution but there’s nothing stopping you from emulating this and having one on one brainstorming discussions. At the very least you’ll be the most proactive team member they’ve ever seen!

Present new ideas.

Having many conversations with colleagues and managers is going to give you some new ideas. Make sure you communicate these and share these. Bounce ideas off people and gain their insight. Prepare yourself though. You may be way off the mark but as Winston Churchill stated, “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”. At the very least you’ll have a better understanding of the challenges that exist, and each idea will get you closer to a winner.

Immersion.

So, you’ve done all the above and you’re feeling good. You’ve received positive feedback from your colleagues and you are respected by your managers. What’s next? If you really want to continue furthering your knowledge this step is the scariest yet most rewarding. Ask yourself a couple of quick questions.

1. Who is your organsiation trying to serve?

2. How could you as an individual get to understand them better?

To get any true understanding of customers or clients you will need to get out from behind a desk. The narrow focus of most job descriptions will mean that this is likely this will be out of the scope of your role but now that you have the organisation behind you talk to people about what you have in mind, what your objective is and how you think this could help the organisation.

Lastly, be brave ….

These steps can be daunting but take one small action at a time and build up it. You’ll find your confidence grows over time so try to tackle each day with something small that is outside your comfort zone.

Actress Lily Tomlin once said “The road to success is still under construction” so disregard your title and give yourself the opportunity to find out what gives you personal satisfaction.

We’ve talked a lot about looking at the bigger picture for your organsiation but the most important thing to keep in mind through these processes is to look at the bigger picture for yourself. By taking these steps and challenging yourself you will get a better understanding of your workplace and you will uncover some strengths you never knew you had. Think about what personally interests you and drives you. Knowing this can help you develop your career and help you examine how to gain personal satisfaction from what you do day in day out.

If you’ve got an idea for a project in your workplace and you would like some advice on how to tackle it with design thinking we’re here to chat.

Is your organisation looking to create some innovative solutions that will take you to the next level? Are you going through a period of change or simply need your team to work better together and improve workplace culture and cohesion? Improving collaboration could be the secret to your success.

Getting teams to work effectively together towards better outcomes can be an overwhelming organisational challenge. By improving collaboration amongst your team, you will see the positive ripple effects that can transform your productiveness.

Here’s some starting points:

Welcome new ideas and feedback

Create an environment where new ideas are given air time. If a member of your team has had an idea for a solution to a problem, you can bet that they have been faced with an issues time and time again or that that issue has had a significant affect to them and/or the business. Either way it’s always worth exploring issues and prioritising the effect they may have on the organisation.

Bigger picture

By getting a team together to brainstorm and workshop challenges it forces them to look at the big picture. You’ll find discussions can quickly move to challenges the organisation is facing in the marketplace, consumer trends and positioning of your products and or services.

Share the wisdom

Creating platforms for collaboration ensures that you are gathering people with different experiences, knowledge and skill sets. By creating a forum where sharing is encouraged everyone learns from each other quickly.

Empowerment

Giving your team the opportunity to be involved in strategic plans for the business give them confidence in the contribution to the company and allows them to more confidently make decisions and improvements in their day to day roles.

Engagement

How much easier is it to engage a team around a strategy that they have contributed to rather than one that is handed down to them? The answer is well you guessed it much easier. By being able to contribute there becomes a sense of ownership. This means that when it comes time to implement it is done with a sense of ownership and enthusiasm.

Team stability

If your organisation has just shifted your engagement dial, then you’re in luck. If you have an engaged team this will directly result in overall employee retention and job satisfaction. Happier staff members who feel like they can contribute and have a voice are also more likely to continue to drive improvements and search for innovative solutions.

By simply having differing points of view, skills and experience you will reduce the risk of producing any kind of solution. This means faster and more aligned results and allows your organisation to move quickly to the next innovative solution that may transform your business.

At Liv By Design everything we do is based on collaboration. If you want to talk about some simple and easy to implement ideas for your business we’re here ready to chat! Simple contact us on 0437 201 660