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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holidays from all of us at Inward


Happy Holidays from Inward Strategic Consulting


Here's wishing you a very joyous holiday season and prosperous New Year from all of us at Inward Strategic Consulting.

May the Holiday Season fill your home with joy, your heart with love, and your life with laughter.


Sincerely,

Allan Steinmetz
CEO
Inward Strategic Consulting

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Take Part in Inward's Second Annual Brand Ambassador Benchmark Study


This October we are celebrating our 12th anniversary as the single source for Internal Branding. To commemorate and celebrate this occasion we are repeating our Brand Ambassador Survey for 2010 to provide benchmark findings in comparison to last year's results. We are anxious to see if there have been any dramatic changes from the previous year.


Last year, even though employee brand advocacy was the third most important factor in building brand equity according to the ANA, over 68% of the people we surveyed said that their companies did not fully embrace the concept of brand ambassadorship programs to promote brand values and new behaviors to support customer centricity. Only a third (32%) felt their companies fully embraced this idea. And in comparison to the previous year, 25% believed that their companies will invest less time and money for employee advocacy and brand championship programs. These were startling findings in our opinion.


In addition, we learned that very few companies utilize new tactical techniques for engaging employees such as internal Web 2.0 technology, experiential learning, peer to peer recognition, etc.


Inward defines Brand Ambassadors as "Employees of an organization that embody the brand values, culture and behavior that provide great customer experiences and positive perceptions that exemplify the brand image of the company."


We would appreciate it very much if you would help us spread this survey link to your colleagues and business associates inside and outside your firm (through your contacts and social networks) as well. The questionnaire is relevant to anyone who works in a company. The more people who participate, the better the findings will be. We have high expectations for a great response.


Click Here To Take The Survey Now:

http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e3315kf1gfjz0qqt/start

Lastly, I would like to thank all of our friends, affiliate partners and especially our clients for your continued support and enthusiasm over the last 12 years. We have been fortunate to work with the great clients who have become close friends and sources of numerous referrals. Our first client was Sapient, and we grew to serve many others such as Jordan's Furniture, BD, Pitney Bowes, Campbell's, Patni, Ontario Power Generation, Oxfam, Fidelity Investments, McKinsey, Ericsson, Zurich Financial Insurance, L&T Infotech in India, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Keystone Partners and HP just to mention a few. Thank you all so much for your continued support and referrals. We appreciate you all every day!


Thank you for taking our survey and helping celebrate our 12 year anniversary.


Sincerely,


Allan Steinmetz


CEO



Thursday, August 19, 2010

Post Recession Marketing Theory and Practice


Recently, I came across an interesting research report by Accenture. They completed a study and issued a report called "Onward and Up - How marketers are refocusing the front office for growth. It grabbed my attention for different reasons.


New Market Reality

The research was conducted with over 400 front line CMO's - the findings postulate an idea that customers are weary of traditional marketing channels as a result of the recent economic downturn. They further suggest that as a result of slashed budgets, plus the demand for products and services have been altered as well. To reverse this trend, marketers will need to rethink their communications to address these changes, often with limited or declining budgets. Now that's a challenge! Let me summarize, less loyal consumers, shopping in new ways (getting opinions on line by experts, more comparative shopping, seeking advice from trusted advisors from bloggers, no risk free shipping/no fault returns) seeking more value and quality with fewer marketing dollars to create demand and change perceptions.

Accenture suggests that companies need to address these challenges and must "fundamentally change the structure, skills, practices and approaches of their marketing organization to meet these changing needs - within the same budget parameters or with less." The report continues, for the companies that grew revenue, they described themselves as having stronger abilities in four specific areas; 47% invested in ROI and productivity, 68% achieved above average performance in analytics, 64% achieved above average innovation capabilities and 41% reported effective use of digital channels.


What does that all mean for you?

  • Customers have changed, whether they were BtoB or BtoC channels, as a result there is a greater need to know and understand who they are and what motivates their buying habits and needs. Don't take your current customer understanding for granted. That means you need to do new research. But with limited marketing budgets - you should consider new types of methods of research, like triads instead of focus groups, conducting studies with fan and customer social communities like LinkedIn and Facebook, relying on digital research channels and panels to gather findings and derive insights.
  • Seek out best practices and success stories within pockets of your own company and leverage the innovations and broaden the scope to other parts of the company. Never rest on the laurels of the past - but seek out new ways to learn about the customer and adapt new messages/channels to influence their thinking. Share the best practices with the staff through effective internal brand communications and internal social networks. Innovation and fresh ideas can come from anywhere within the company, but it has to be encouraged and rewarded by positive recognition.
  • Rely of new channels of social media. Overcome the fear that customers might say something negatives about your products and brands. Use the communities to learn, populate fresh ideas on how to think about and use your brands. Understand the role the opinion leaders and influencers and how they can make the difference between having a brand that shines or fails. Recognize the power of bloggers, know who are the ones that follow your business category. Monitor what they say and start a transparent dialogue with them.
  • Odds are that your budgets will continue to stay the same or shrink some more. Therefore, be proactive and initiate productivity improvement efforts within marketing. Examine organizational redesign within research, brand management, headcount redundancies, brand consolidations, retiring old non-performing brands and their investments. Take the savings and reinvest the money in efforts that have the highest ROI and leverage your limited funds!
  • Consider new technologies and platforms especially in the area of shopper marketing and wireless applications where marketers can offer instant promotions and incentives to their shoppers when they are actually in the store or online. Macy launched a program this week called Shopkick - They are offering instant rewards to their shoppers on their cell phones for simply walking into their store. Amazing.
  • Re-evaluate your people and vendors to insure that you are getting the highest levels productivity at the lowest cost. In this economy, people and vendors are tuned on to work harder, smarter and longer than in the past. Are your people and vendors carrying their weight and adding value? If not, consider replacing them with new talent who are hungry, smarter and more ambitious than the ones that serve you today.

If you have additional ideas and thoughts on how to address the new marketing economy, please share them with me. I would love to hear them.

Now that I have challenged you are wondering where and how to start, give us a call. We would love to have a productive conversation with you regarding these ideas and some of the challenges your company or organization is facing. We can share some of the work we have done for our clients to help them be more productive. One thing is for sure, based on this research; branding and marketing as a discipline is going to continue to be challenging and difficult with more pressure put on it. Marketers need to rethink what they are doing, be innovative, be more productive and challenge the status quo. Let's talk soon.


Allan Steinmetz

CEO

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Register For Inward's Free Webinar: Transforming Zurich Financial Services Into a Customer Centric Organization

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zurich banner 1

Thursday, March 18th @ 11:30am - 1:00pm EST

Register Now!


Dear YASH,

The financial markets globally have changed forever. In the last year, we have witnessed the decline of confidence on Wall Street, governments taking over institutions, bank failures and insurance company bailouts. It is imperative to get back to basics and demonstrate customer value and re-build trust.

Even before the global financial crises, Zurich Financial Services had already started to transform itself and drive customer-centricity as the core of a successful business model.

We invite you attend our complimentary Inward Webinar with Zurich Financial Services and Femi Macaulay, Group Head of Marketing Operations who will share his thoughts on "Transforming Zurich into a Customer-Centric Organization" and share how a company-wide effort is creating genuine differentiation in the insurance industry.

In his talk Femi will discuss the following topics:

  • How they embarked on an ambitious research project to understand what drives customer behavior with the goal of understanding how they could shift consumers from merely accepting their insurance firm, to proactively recommending Zurich.
  • How they arrived at a compelling brand concept building on Zurich's existing differentiated values.
  • How they launched the most extensive global campaign in Zurich's history in the midst of one of the worst financial meltdowns of all time.
  • How "Zurich HelpPoint" has become a transformative global communications platform aimed at treating each customer as an individual, not just a policy number, and making it clear that "help is on the way" by delivering when it really matters most.
  • How Zurich motivated, inspired and enrolled their employees to get behind the program and embrace customer centricity.
  • Share tangible examples of how Zurich employees deliver HelpPoint when customers need support the most.

About the Speaker:

Femi is an international business and marketing professional with 25 years experience at senior levels in insurance and financial services. He is currently Group Head of Marketing Operations at Zurich Financial Services, a position he has held since 2007. He has two key responsibilities:

  • Developing and executing a strategy to drive customer-centric transformation within Zurich.
  • Designing and implementing a Target Operating Model to create a globally aligned marketing organization that helps to deliver the desired customer experience and drive profitable growth.

Previously, Femi was Director of Brand Management at HSBC North America Holdings Inc for 4 years. He worked extensively on leading the implementation of marketing programs to raise awareness of the HSBC brand in North America and drive growth. Femi played a key role in implementing "Your Point of View" and "The world's local bank" HSBC brand campaigns in the US, led the strategic airport brand advertising program and the re-branding of Household International, a major strategic acquisition by HSBC.

Please join us for the free exclusive webinar, where you are assured of learning new and exciting tactical ideas and have a question and answer period with an industry innovator.



Moderated By Allan Steinmetz
CEO, Inward Strategic Consulting

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Join me online at The Conference Board's Webcast: Conference KeyNotes: Extending Your Brand to Employees Energizing Employees to “Own” the Brand

Conference KeyNotes: Extending Your Brand to Employees
Energizing Employees to “Own” the Brand

Date: February 24, 2010
Time: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET Time Zone Converter

This Conference KeyNotes Webcast will provide highlights of The 2009 Extending Your Brand to Employees Conference (November, 2009). Video footage of two headline presentations will set context for live questions and answers with the presenters.

This webcast will discuss:

  • Building a brand wise organization at Prudential
  • Engaging employees in the entire Prudential brand experience
  • How McDonald’s developed and implemented a global employee value proposition

Panelists:

Carol Robbins, Chief Branding Officer, Prudential Financial, Inc.

Brian Ray, Senior Director, Global HR Design Group, McDonald’s Corporation

Moderator:

Allan Steinmetz,CEO, Inward Strategic Consulting Inc.

Who Should Attend:

Senior executives responsible for branding, brand management, employee engagement, talent management, and employer branding.

Pre-Qualifications to Attend the Webcast:

No prior knowledge is needed to participate in this webcast.

For more information and to register visit:
http://www.conference-board.org/webcasts/upcomingWebcast.cfm?id=2101

Monday, January 25, 2010

10 FREE RESOURCES for your Journey with Social Media in the Enterprise and Employee Engagement

From PollyPearson.com:

My friend Allan Steinmetz of Inward Strategic Consulting and I just finished a Webcast featuring EMC's story on building an employment brand and engaging employees by leveraging web 2.0 and social media behaviors /tools.

Deck ebranding jan 2010

I discussed how the body of work started, our strategic approach, how the brand was built out across multiple mediums and social properties, and how along the way organic brand ambassadors emerged and started making real magic happen.

This topic always draws a large audience and today was no exception.

For those who want to start the social media/Web 2.0 behavior and tool movement at your company, I thought I'd share a few resources which could help:

  • 1st: This white paper, "A Journey in Social Media," by EMC VP and Marketing CTO Chuck Hollis. Chuck was instrumental in this movement at EMC and kindly dedicated his personal cycles to pulling some of our strategic inflection points, key learnings, and approaches together in this white paper. The white paper is marked "draft" and his promises likely typos within it -- no matter, this is GOLD for anyone about to start the journey. It is a superb documentation which should save you a ton of headaches and unnecessary consultant fees. It is also filled with the type of frankness you just don't seen enough in businesss. Like this, which addresses the likely request for a business case, an ROI justification, or another means to counter the concerns of your Chief-Bummer-Executive.

One of our most effective justification techniques tended to be slightly manipulative given our corporate culture. We frequently pointed out to people that -- due to the extremely competitive nature of EMC and our business -- we would not want to be in a situation where our competitors had a significant competitive advantage through social media proficiency that we did not have. People tended to understand that concept in a very visceral manner. ----> I love that explanation! It is very "real world."

  • 2nd: The blog, "Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang." Jeremiah is the top rated analyst in the social media and the enterprise space. He has the top blog on the subject, has been named the top (and most trusted) analyst on Twitter ... and puts out non-stop gems via his Twitter feed and blog.
  • 3rd: The blog, a Journey in Social Media. Chuck Hollis documented EMC's journey over the first year or so on this blog. He doesn't post any longer, but the content is awesome and could answer lots of questions for those companies of this FORTUNE 500-size.
  • 4th: The blog, "Confessions of an eBiz Junkie." It is written by EMC's Web Master -- the guy behind those .com, and Knowledge Management Platforms of the '90s ... which are morphing into the social platforms of the 21st Century. Len has been the guy getting his hands dirty in this technical stuff from the beginning -- and today serves as our head Social Media Strategist as well. Check out his tag cloud on this blog -- that will give you a feel for what he writes about all the time. I think you'll enjoy following his work.
  • 5th: The blog, "Social Media Musings." It is written by EMC's Jamie Pappas, Len's parter in social media strategy and the woman who was chief community manager and chief Road Show Pitch Person at every staff meeting at EMCin the early 2.0 days doing show & tell on how this social network thing worked. Jamie is in the top professional organizations and can give you the inside scoop on worthy and waste-of-time things to consider as you move forward.
  • 6th: My blog, "Building and Branding Careers, Culture and Cool." Hardly a post goes by here where I don't reference the positive transformation evidence at play in cultures, careers, brands, and business strategy as a result of the behavior models and tools in our 2.0 world. This blog provides case studies and stories, along with strategy and reports on our latest thinking with regard to engaging people and building brands.

And for those individuals who are still on the journey of understanding how this all works and getting personally comfortable with the tools and the career benefits, I recommend these resources:

  • 7th: The blog, "Community and Social Media," by Chris Brogan. Chris offers a ton of free eBooks, a free newsletter and a very friendly blogging style which taught me a lot. Now he's a top consultant, and author in this area as well.
  • 8th: The "blog roll" of every one of the above blogs. This is generally a list, listed on the right or left rail of the blog, of the favorite blogs these authors read. Poke around in there. See who these people are following.
  • 9th: Twitter. Sign up and then leverage Twitter Lists or Twitter Search and type in words like "Social Media." Follow the pre-populated lists of people who write about that subject. Save Twitter, or a more robust version like "Tweet Deck" on your desktop. Visit it a couple times a day -- like when you need a stretch from email. See what content the gurus in this space are attaching, forwarding, and talking about. You'll be up-to-the minute in no time!
  • 10th: Google Reader. This is your new daily newspaper and on-line mentor for how this world works. You pop all these blogs onto this one space, set it as your home page, and experience the learning start to happen! If you have an internet-enabled mobile device, be sure to bookmark your Google reader so you can have your "newspaper" with you where ever you go!

Okay, that's 10 Free Resources that will get you smart in no time. I'm talking about 30-60 days if you dedicate just a little bit of time each day on your Google Reader (it will also suggest blogs to you as well, based on who and what you show an interest in!), and on your Tweet Deck. You'll learn even faster if you join the discussions, post a comment and -- horrors -- start a blog.

For those who have a decent Gen Y dynamic at play in your company, here's a bonus:

  • #11: Personal Branding Blog. Get in the head of the 2.0 movement via this blog's 20-something leader, author, speaker, and career counselor, Dan Schawbel. Dan has been my reverse mentor and chief cheerleader in gaining a hands-on experience in this space. I encourage you to get a reverse mentor of your own (someone of any age or rank who gets excited about this subject and clearly seems to 'get it.') Until you get that person, subscribe to Dan's blog. It is loaded with fresh research and insights and shows you how this 2.0 world can put a brand, including a personal brand, on steroids.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

EMC Free Webinar - Social Media and Employee Engagement



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Webinar Registration Image

Friday, January 22nd @ 2:00 pm - 3:15pm EST

Register Now!


Learn How to Use Social Networks to Build an Internal Brand:

EMC, one the world's leading IT products and services firm has successfully tackled the challenge of creating an employee platform using social media and leverage their internal brand and culture.

Hear first hand how EMC:

  • Transformed internal branding and employee engagement while reducing costs and improving effectiveness
  • Drove culture change and built a social/business collaboration among employees
  • Influenced of purchasing decisions in all markets
  • Provided early warning system for negative and positive opportunities
  • Provided market intelligence and barriers to entry from competitive threats
  • Demonstration of the EMC brand in action

In my opinion, EMC has created one of the BEST INTERNAL EMPLOYEE SOCIAL WEBSITES I have come across called Global/One. We are fortunate to hear from EMC's VP of Employee Brand & Strategy Engagement, Polly Pearson who will share her journey of development and companywide acceptance.

  • Their goal was to build relationships on a one-to one "personal reference" level amongst staff and the corporation with virtually zero-budget toward branding.
  • Over the last three years it has become the driving force behind a cultural shift in a collaborative environment that is spurring innovation, global collaboration and solutions that solve client's problems.
  • It has created social media "rock stars" within the company who are becoming recognized leaders for their blog writings as the go-to opinion leaders who people respect and follow for their thoughtful ideas and inspiration.

This exclusive presentation as our way of bringing the best and smartest practices to our friends and clients and to start the year off with a positive learning experience.

About the Speaker:

Polly Pearson is a communication and branding leader as well as a professional public speaker. She has applied these skills in several leadership roles relating to corporate image such as investor relations, public relations, corporate marketing, brand, advertising, human resources and as communication counsel to CEOs.

Today she leads the CEO's goal of transforming EMC into a Best Place to Work, and engaging EMC's global workforce with the company's Information Infrastructure strategy and opportunity. She's bringing forward new offerings for employees in the realm of Web 2.0 technologies, flex time, healthy living, mother's programs, career mobility and wealth creation. In addition, she founded and leads the EMC Employment Brand Office which markets EMC as a best employer globally, leveraging compelling messaging, social media and the voice of EMC people.

Please join us for the free exclusive webinar, where you are assured of learning new and exciting tactical ideas and have a question and answer period with an industry innovator.



Moderated By Allan Steinmetz
CEO, Inward Strategic Consulting

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Join Our Mailing List











Thursday, January 7, 2010

Free Webinar:

Social Media & Employee Engagement @ EMC with Polly Pearson, Vice President Employee Brand and Strategy Engagement




EMC Logo Polly Pearson Pic

Friday, January 22nd @ 2:00 pm - 3:15pm EST

Register Now!


Learn how EMC tackled the challenge of creating an employee platform using social media and leverage their internal brand and culture.


Agenda:

Using Social Networks to Build an Internal Brand:

Hear first hand how EM
C:

  • Transformed internal branding and employee engagement while reducing costs and improving effectiveness
  • Drove culture change and built a social/business collaboration among employees
  • Established brand presence on emerging social platforms
  • Built relationships internally on a personal reference level
  • Influenced of purchasing decisions in all markets
  • Provided early warning system for negative and positive opportunities
  • Provided market intelligence and barriers to entry from competitive threats
  • Demonstration of the EMC brand in action
Social media applications are being deployed within corporate cultures as a medium to facilitate effective change/communications to the same degree that Facebook and LinkedIn are having an impact on consumer community building. Corporate social media is now being used to unify, and establish collaboration, create innovation, solve global client problems, establish corporate standards across large multinational corporations and the list goes on and on. In my opinion, one of the BEST I have come across is Global/One @EMC

Here are a few poignant examples of how EMC's Global/One Social Community has made a difference.

  • Their goal was to build relationships on a one-to one "personal reference" level amongst staff and the corporation with virtually zero-budget toward branding.
  • Over the last three years it has become the driving force behind a cultural shift in a collaborative environment that is spurring innovation, global collaboration and solutions that solve client's problems.
  • It has created social media "rock stars" within the company who are becoming recognized leaders for their blog writings as the go-to opinion leaders who people respect and follow for their thoughtful ideas and inspiration.

This exclusive presentation as our way to bring the best and smartest best practices to our friends and clients and to start the year off with a positive learning experience.

About the Speaker:

Polly
Pearson is a communication and branding leader as well as a professional public speaker. She has applied these skills in several leadership roles relating to corporate image such as investor relations, public relations, corporate marketing, brand, advertising, human resources and as communication counsel to CEOs. For more than fifteen years Polly has worked on behalf of EMC Corporation, a B2B high tech company that leads the market category for on-line information management and storage. EMC is a peer to Cisco, Microsoft, Intel and Oracle and is one of the ten most valuable information technology companies in the world.

Polly became the first woman at EMC to be promoted to Vice President at EMC. She has worked directly for two of the company's CEOs and well as working closely with EMC founder and Chairman Emeritus Dick Egan in the realms of global investor and public relations.After more than a decade in investor relations, Polly led the company's corporate marketing functions covering brand, research, globalization, web portal, field publishing and global event management operations for three years. In this role, she launched EMC's Information Lifecycle Management strategy to the marketplace. She also led EMC's brand strategy during a time in which EMC invested nearly four billion dollars to acquire numerous companies including VmWare, Documentum and Legato.Polly joined Human Resources in 2005 to help launch the company's Total Customer Experience program.

Today she leads the CEO's goal of transforming EMC into a Best Place to Work, and engaging EMC's global workforce with the company's Information Infrastructure strategy and opportunity. She's bringing forward new offerings for employees in the realm of Web 2.0 technologies, flex time, healthy living, mother's programs, career mobility and wealth creation. In addition, she founded and leads the EMC Employment Brand Office which markets EMC as a best employer globally, leveraging compelling messaging, social media and the voice of EMC people.

Please join us for the free exclusive webinar, where you are assured of learning new and exciting tactical ideas and have a one on one question and answer period with an industry innovator.



Moderated By Allan Steinmetz
CEO, Inward Strategic Consulting

blog