Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin

Former P&G chairman A.G. Lafley and former dean of University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management Roger Martin explain, “in our terms, a strategy is a coordinated and integrated set of five choices: a winning aspiration, where to play, how to win, core capabilities, and management systems.” 

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Brand Naming

Brand Naming: The Complete Guide to Creating a Name for Your Company, Product, or Service

by Rob Meyerson

Which sounds more appetizing: Antarctic toothfish or Chilean seabass? Although they are the same thing, the latter sells much better. Likewise, a brand name can make a positive first impression or set the wrong tone. “‘Tronc to change name back to Tribune Publishing after years of ridicule,’ read one headline in June 2018… A mere 15 months after its announcement, Consignia was returned to sender, replaced by Royal Mail Group.”

Brand naming expert Rob Meyerson shares a process that balances creativity with discipline to avoid such disasters and arrive at “just one deliverable: a strategically optimal, legally available, linguistically viable, client-approved brand name.”

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Go Luck Yourself: 40 Ways to Stack the Odds in Your Brand’s Favour

Go Luck Yourself: 40 Ways to Stack the Odds in Your Brand’s Favour

by Andy Nairn

“After almost 30 years in advertising, I’ve often been struck by the pivotal role that chance plays… Luck remains a dirty secret because it’s seen to undermine the virtues of hard work, talent, and intelligence that are at the heart of any successful business culture… I believe that luck exists—and also that you can improve it.”

Andy Nairn is co-founder of Lucky Generals, a creative agency in the UK whose clients include Yorkshire Tea and the Co-op. His book consists of 40 bite-sized chapters divided into to four sections:

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Media Planning from Recency to Engagement

Media Planning from Recency to Engagement

by Erwin Ephron (1934-2013)    

Erwin Ephron was a media executive at several ad agencies. He was a proponent of the recency model of media planning, which aims to be present when people are most receptive to the advertising. Recency attempts “to intercept the next purchase with a brand message.”

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Hillstrom’s Pricing

Hillstrom’s Pricing: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Optimizing Customer Behavior via Prices

by Kevin Hillstrom

This fascinating booklet is about how the mix of price levels a retailer offers in its selection of merchandise affects customer behavior. In his 30-year career in retail, Kevin Hillstrom worked for Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, and Land’s End as well as 225 clients in his consulting practice.

The author examines sales data by price range, merchandise category, channel, and customer life cycle (new customers vs. repeat customers) over a span of five years. Most pages include a spreadsheet or graph showing data from a hypothetical company with declining sales, along with commentary on how the author analyzes the numbers to figure out what’s going on. The target audience for the booklet appears to be catalog and ecommerce retailers. Continue reading “Hillstrom’s Pricing”

2021 Castlin Manifesto: Strategy in Polemy

2021 Castlin Manifesto: Strategy in Polemy

by JP Castlin

JP Castlin is a strategic thinker and consultant based in Sweden. Major themes in his Manifesto are complexity and emergent strategy. In the chapter on marketing, he is not shy about challenging prominent figures. The paper is 71 pages including an impressive 9-page bibliography with academic papers, articles, and books cited throughout the text. Continue reading “2021 Castlin Manifesto: Strategy in Polemy”

How to Build a Better Business Plan

How to Build a Better Business Plan: A Hands-On Action Guide for Business Owners

by Alastair Thomson

One of the primary benefits of a business plan is “finding a business model that works.” Alastair Thomson, an accountant and experienced C-level executive, guides you to think from a lender’s or investor’s perspective, whether or not you are seeking outside financing. From their side of the table, would you find your business compelling?

The completed plan becomes your “roadmap” for execution. “With the right business plan, you do your thinking up-front. You know how to take advantage when new opportunities come your way and you know exactly what problem needs solving if performance veers off-course.” Thomson encourages planning for three scenarios: best-case, worst-case, and likely outcome. “The biggest danger for a pessimist is under-resourcing their business.” Continue reading “How to Build a Better Business Plan”

B2B Institute’s B2B Trends

2030 B2B Trends: Contrarian Ideas for The Next Decade

by Peter Weinberg and Jon Lombardo, The B2B Institute

The B2B Institute published a 43-page PDF on what they foresee as the three major trends in business-to-business marketing: (1) a greater emphasis on building long-term brand equity; (2) greater consistency in creative execution; and (3) a shift from hyper-targeting to broader reach within categories. Some of the ideas presented in this paper will sound familiar to anyone who has read the work of Ehrenberg-Bass Institute or the work of Les Binet and Peter Field. Continue reading “B2B Institute’s B2B Trends”

An interview with Peter McGraw author of Shtick to Business

An interview with Peter McGraw
author of Shtick to Business: What the masters of comedy can teach you
about breaking rules, being fearless, and building a serious career.

October 15, 2020 — 38 minutes — Book ReviewAmazon

  • [00:58] “that guy”
  • [03:53] behavioral economics
  • [06:59] group genius
  • [12:09] liminal spaces
  • [15:45] warm team and feature creep
  • [23:26] two paths to a creative solution
  • [26:18] writing is a cheat code for life
  • [34:19] where you find a lot of growth

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