With a title that includes a potentially ambiguous word, Koen Perters‘ talk started with intrigue. It went on to deliver meaningful value, inspiration, and ideas on ways of… letting go.
Co-creation is an approach to consultancy that builds not on being the genius-expert with all the answers to every question, but a facilitator who can tease the meaningful answers out of the client. On the one hand, it delivers results that the client feels more attached to, because they participated in defining them. On the other, it can leave them feeling they actually did all the work.
In order to work, it is a mindset that needs to be maintained throughout a project’s lifespan; if it is abandoned after the initial sessions, it is no more than a kick-off workshop. This requires far more commitment of key client stakeholders, team members and users than other approaches based on handing off the work and receiving back a set of deliverables. It helps cross-pollinate, exposing different parties to each others’ ideas and challenges. Read more of this post
After a manic couple of days, it’s only fair that the closing note – pre panel – of CS Forum should be Margot Bloomstein discussing the need to slow down a little – to consider that not all things need to happen at a breakneck pace.
There is an industry trend towards efficiency; usually read as getting them in and out the door as quickly as possible. But is this really the best thing to be doing? There are many aspects of our lives where we want to move more slowly – where we want to stop and smell the roses. If we want to do that, doesn’t it make sense that others might not be in such a rush either?
Alongside the idea that speed might not be all-important, there are other scenarios where we need to consider slowing things down a little. If there is some external factor that limits speed – that imposes a wait – what can we do to make it a more engaging, interesting and enriching pause? Read more of this post
While most people were off at Hawk Thompson’s talk on native advertising (which everyone seemed to agree was fabulous), I opted instead for the one subject session from which I was not aiming to learn in order to apply to client scenarios, but for the development of my own business – using content strategy in a business to business situation: how to sell my own endeavours.
In their talk, Kati Keronen (KK) and Katri Tanni (KT) tackled content paradigms from the perspective of communications between companies. While this is a different situation to the sales and marketing that many companies deal with when selling directly to end-consumers, there are parallels. And many of the learnings that seem more intuitive when considering the effectively peer-to-peer world of B2B can actually yield great benefits when applied to B2C.
There is a huge disparity between (honest) sales and marketing. The marketing world live for their slogans, their hyperboles; but an honest sale is about a conversation, and identifying if what you have to offer fills a real need. Understanding this distinction between pushing and serving explains why in a B2B conversation, the buyer wants to talk to a person – someone who can adapt to their needs and answer their specific questions. A site can’t do that. Read more of this post
It’s not surprising that Stacey Gordon mentioned that the first rule of Thought Leadership is “Don’t mention Thought Leadership.” In her CS Forum talk, she went on to explain how it is the result of an attitude and behaviour, not a manipulatable marketing tool. It just happens to have great results when it is a natural result of expertise.
Fundamentally, thought leadership is the consequence of being an expert and a pioneer within your field. It is about expanding a discipline; giving to the community. As such, while there are huge rewards to be garnered in the form of professional reputation, and consequently marketing value, it is not a “game” that can be cheated. It is not a marketing strategy. (This notwithstanding, the term has such strong connotations, almost two thirds of business-to-business companies think they are involved in it.) Read more of this post
One of the gems of CS Forum 2013 was Jonathon Colman‘s talk on core values, and how they drive not only business practices, but also the structure and substance of communication (i.e. content).
At the very root of a functional business is a purpose, are a fundamental set of principles, vision and ideology that guide the implementation thereof. Without these core values, so strategy can be sound. This does not mean the core values will always have been articulated… the authenticity of values derive from behaviour rather than claims, so it can take time for them to be discovered. Within organisation, this discovery process cannot occur without breaking down the barriers between organisational silos.
Many organisations will lay claim to a series of values, because they sound good as marketing spiel. These values will usually sound generic, suitable for just about any organisation (which is a tell-tale sign that they are fabrications). Real core values are principles we can live and operate by, even when we have not achieved our ambitions. They guide our decisions, serving to resolve moral dilemmas. Companies that hold themselves accountable by publishing real core values generally outperform the market by a factor of 12. Read more of this post