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marketing researchWe found a great piece in the the Harvard Business Review by the ever-brilliant John Quelch, and knew that it was worthy of reprint here on Synergyblog.

Dr. Quelch outlines seven steps for CMOs to take during the recession to mitigate the reduction in consumer spending.

It’s a great article, and as marketing research practitioners, we at Synergy Marketing Strategy & Research, Inc. are pleased to see an increase in spending with some of our clients.

We believe companies who listen well to consumers, employees, and stakeholders, execute often on fulfilling their brand promise, and continue to produce excellent goods and services without compromise of quality and value will exceed during this recession.  Enjoy. Thrive. Trust and be Trusted!

Recession-challenged consumers are buying less, looking for deals, or switching to different brands, product categories, or stores. Some are even changing long-held attitudes toward consumption. To many folks, filling the home with more stuff or keeping up with the Joneses is no longer appealing.

As a result, the degree of uncertainty in business and consumer markets has soared. Yet, to conserve cash, most firms are reducing spending on the market research that would help manage that uncertainty. In the U.S., spending on market research has dipped for four consecutive quarters, and chief marketing officers don’t expect the situation to turn around soon. Most big consumer marketers are seeking to shave 10 to 20% off of research budgets.

In flush times, a rising tide of consumption can compensate for less than optimal branding, positioning, pricing, or segmentation. That is certainly not the case now. At the same time that marketers must pare down research expenditures, they face added pressure to secure high-quality data and insights. Continue Reading »

business relationships

SynergyBlog has found a great post regarding the importance of corporate reputation – how to earn it and how to maintain it.

Referencing the demise of many corporate reputations, according Edleman Trust Barometer, a number of Britain’s most admired leaders sat down to discuss the maintenance of a good name…

The full transcript of the panel can be found in Management Today. Enjoy the post!

A recent trust survey confirmed that management has lost public respect. It’s not just individual businesses in the firing line, but business itself. MT brought together Most Admired leaders and other practitioners to debate the issue of how to hang onto your good name…

MATTHEW GWYTHER – Where better to start on a discussion of reputation than with Shakespeare? Iago may be a thoroughly disreputable character, but he has some sound words (Othello, III.3) on the value of character:

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,

Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.

The concept of reputation or honour was around for thousands of years before Fred Goodwin. But nowadays it has moved from the individual to the corporate realm, to the point where it is one of the most important things that faces business organisations.

We’re interested in corporate reputation today – not only of individual businesses but of business generally and how this may have been affected by the downturn. Certainly, inasmuch as it is aligned to the subject of trust in business, it has taken a battering – as a recent Edelman Barometer of Trust survey confirmed. Continue Reading »

The Storyteller, 1874 (oil on canvas)We just love Seth Godin around here. He’s one of those guys in “marketing” (whatever that is anymore) who make us proud to also be part of the “marketing” world (still, whatever that is).

Seth pulled out a piece today which both discusses the importance of telling a compelling story and the need for that story to be true, authentic, and TRUSTED.

He says that “TRUST IS THE SCARCEST RESOURE WE’VE GOT LEFT.” Yet, he aknowledges we can’t be very successful without it.

I hope you love this peice as much as we do. And check out Seth’s Blog as often as is humanly possible!

Ode: How to tell a great story by Seth Godin

Chris Fralic reminded me of this piece I wrote for Ode.

Great stories succeed because they are able to capture the imagination of large or important audiences.

A great story is true. Not necessarily because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. Consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on.

Great stories make a promise. They promise fun, safety or a shortcut. The promise needs to be bold and audacious. It’s either exceptional or it’s not worth listening to.

Great stories are trusted. Trust is the scarcest resource we’ve got left. No one trusts anyone. People don’t trust the beautiful women ordering vodka at the corner bar (they’re getting paid by the liquor company). People don’t trust the spokespeople on commercials (who exactly is Rula Lenska?). And they certainly don’t trust the companies that make pharmaceuticals (Vioxx, apparently, can kill you). As a result, no marketer succeeds in telling a story unless he has earned the credibility to tell that story. Continue Reading »

TRUSTThis is a piece from the Academy Leadership that SynergyBlog feels they could have written themselves. It’s that good.

We’ll not pontificate. Please read, and in doing so, may your organizations and relationships thrive.

Enjoy. Trust… and be Trusted!

From the Academy Leadership: In its simplest form, trust can be described as the belief that those on whom we depend will meet our positive expectations of them. While this may sound the same as confidence, they are different. Trust is not always rooted in past experience with others, whereas confidence generally results from specific experiences with people and is built on reason and fact. In contrast, trust is based in part on faith. We sometimes give our trust in spite of evidence that suggests we should feel some caution, if not outright suspicion, about relying on another.

Business realities now require that more power be given to those with close contacts with very discriminating consumers. No longer can the few powerful people at the top make all decisions and take all actions. Most companies now realize that they must provide people at lower levels increasing latitude in order to react promptly to demanding market forces and to progress and prosper. Thus, they must trust people to do the right thing. To do otherwise could well spell disaster for the future. Leaders can lead only to the extent that they are allowed to lead by their followers. When people believe that they are not trusted, or lack trust in their leaders, they will actively or passively resist what the team is trying to accomplish. Thus, a leader’s options are limited by excessive and ongoing mistrust among employees. Continue Reading »

SynergyBlog has found a guest blog post from our friends at MarketingProfs that we think is extremely valuable for corporations and nonprofits interested in building trusted brands. The key is to remain as close to your consumer as possible. To engage in interactive and intelligent dialogue that moves both the organization and the consumer forward.

Len Kendal does a terrific job of sharing what corporations can learn from President Obama. We think he’s right…

by Len Kendall

Depending on how you look at it, the U.S. Government is one of the largest companies in the world. On March 24th, the “CEO” of this “company” utilized a Digg-Like voting system to address the most common questions that American’s had on their minds.

More than 13,000 different questions were submitted and 400,000 votes were cast to help filter the most pressing to the top. Clearly, there was no shortage of opportunity. By implementing this system, Obama used the will of the crowd to:

1) Shape the topics of discussion when addressing the nation
2) Show the crowd that the oval office is acknowledging their importance in driving the country’s success.
3) Illustrate transparency and democratization of modern government Continue Reading »

Women Giving Back

giving backSynergy is very proud to have been honored in March 2009 Launch Notes as an exemplar of “Women Giving Back.”

 Synergy will be featured among women-owned corporations who value both excellence in their products and service, and corporate social responsibility.

 

Thank you, Launch Notes, for the honor! Listen here for full interview.

 

TRUST: EssentialAmerican consumers and stakeholders find reasons to distrust business, political, and civic leaders every time they tune into CNN or other news outlets.

However, there’s been an unintended consequence: The diminishment of integrity in leaders has given voice to the presence of integrity in the rest of us!

Despite the global financial challenges that we face, there are reasons for optimism.

SynergyBlog is pleased that trust in leadership and trust in each other is becoming an integral part of the daily business discourse.

Today, like so many other days, I witnessed incredible sensitivity, tremendous integrity, and a spirit of giving we never hear about in the news… all in the context of commerce.

I witnessed corporations interested in sustainable practices; companies really interested in consumer needs and desires; organizations interested in the bottom line – and so much more. These virtues all demonstrated by business and civic leaders!

When we look around, it’s easy to point out the violations of trust – they’re everywhere. Perhaps we should sometimes do the harder thing and pay attention when colleagues, leaders, and everyday people do the right thing.

There’s a great peice on brand trust in Forbes by leadership guru Ken Blanchard and author and consultant Terry Waghorn that speaks to this. See the full article here:

How do you keep people trusting you at a time like this? Trust is essential in our lives, and it has been since the beginning of our country. Our dollar bills say In God We Trust. Yet today trust is all but vanishing, especially trust in our business leaders, whose greed and short-term selfishness seem to have been a major cause of our economic crisis. With negativity running amok, it is no small wonder that trust within the organizational context is slipping.

Yet that need not be the case. “Managed properly, trust can actually grow in such adverse conditions,” says Shawna O’Grady, associate professor of management at Queens School of Business, in Kingston, Ontario. “Taking this point to the extreme, consider the bonds forged between comrades-in-arms in a theater of war.”

The key to building trust in both good and bad times is to realize that none of us is as smart as all of us. There are companies that have embraced this simple truth and used it to maintain trust before, during and, we’re sure, after this economic downturn. All these companies seem to have two characteristics in common. Continue Reading »

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