The true value of strategic leadership

Here’s a useful reminder by McKinsey of the value strategic leaders can bring to a company. Whilst the article is geared more towards business leaders/CEOs there are a lot of similarities for account planners. Providing leadership and direction, representing the voice of reason, seeing strategy through to execution, constant reassessment and invention…these are all key attributes or skills which planners need to emulate in order to add value and provide strategic leadership.

7 Dimensions of Virality

Coming up with a viral campaign is never easy otherwise we’d all be doing it. But I do believe there are certain skills and techniques which one can deploy to improve one’s chances of viral success. I call these the 7 Dimensions of Virality and have summarised them in the chart below. It’s intended to add to the growing school of thought known as Propagation Planning. If you want the narrative which goes behind my thinking in this chart, please read my guest post on econsultancy 7 top tips for viral success.

7 principles of persuasion (website usability)

I’m in the process of reviewing the web strategy for one of my clients with a particular focus on improving usability to increase conversion. Our Senior User Experience Architect, Lynda Elliot (@lelliott0505)  shared this video by Dr Susan Weinschenk which is worth posting as it contains a few useful nuggets. I particularly like her overarching point that we tend to focus on creating online functionality and a user experience so that visitors ‘can do’ a particular task.  But that’s not the same as ‘will do’ where they are made to feel more inclined to undertake the task, or ‘still do’ where repeat visitors come back again to complete different tasks. To influence ‘will do’ and ‘still do’ behaviour you need to work harder to inject persuasion, emotion and trust.

She proceeds to outline 7 principles to help improve engagement and encourage ‘will do’ and ‘still do’ behaviour. I particularly like Principle #1 around the danger of providing too much choice as it can be counter-productive; principle #2 around the importance of social validation; and principle #6 around storytelling to get your message across more convincingly. There’s a lot more documented around  weapons of persuasion than this but I like the way this is articulated (or should I say spelt out!)

If you only have time to read one planning book, read this.

I don’t know about you but I sometimes struggle to keep up with the latest marketing literature – not just because work and family life is all consuming but also because there’s such a plethora to choose from, some of which could be seminal pieces of work whilst others might turn out to be self-indulgent tosh!   But as a planner it’s important to familiarise ourselves with the opinions of industry thought leaders. Not only can it lend credence to any strategic recommendations but it can also provide a fresh perspective to address common problems.

Well the good news is that failure to know your Nassim Talebs from your Seth Godins could be a thing of the past!  I went to an interesting APG talk this week to hear Kevin Duncan, strategist and author, answer questions about any of the marketing books he’s read. And he’s certainly read a few! In fact, he’s published a couple of books which distill the essence of some of the most prominent marketing and business literature of our time. Top man!

You can find out more on his blog  or better still, download the following iphone apps so that you can discreetly refer to them in client meetings and impress everyone with your infinite pearls of wisdom!

Brand strategy terminology explained in plain English

Do you ever get your Brand Essence mixed up with your Brand Promise? Or maybe confuse your Brand’s Positioning Statement with its Brand Value Proposition?

Me neither!

But I have to say I thought this explanation on the Branding Blog articulates the subtle nuances of each term very well. Worth reading even if you just want a simple refresher 😉