Have you assembled a stack of “must-read books” left over from your summer vacation? With summer over and the winter holidays quickly approaching, it’s time to catch up on some fall reading. I highly recommend that you add these five leadership, branding, and customer marketing books to your reading list.
THE ENGAGED LEADER: A STRATEGY FOR YOUR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
Author and business analyst Charlene Li defines an engaged leader “as someone who uses digital, mobile, and social tools strategically to achieve established goals as they relate to leading people and managing organizations…The openness required is unprecedented, and the trust and transparency are mind numbing for many top leaders who are accustomed to maintaining control and proceeding in an orderly and predictable fashion.”
According to Li, there are three actions necessary for leaders to become engaged: listen, share, and engage. “Listening is the way leaders determine what individuals need from them to enhance the relationship and deepen the connection. Sharing is how leaders use stories and other tools to develop mutual understanding and share people’s mind-sets and thus the actions they take. And engagement is a two-way dialogue that motivates and mobilizes followers to act in concert toward a common purpose.”
Consider using Li’s digital leadership development worksheet from the book:
VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER MARKETING: A REVOLUTIONARY FIVE-STEP PROCESS TO CREATE CUSTOMERS WHO CARE, SPEND, AND STAY
This book written by Ernan Roman has been called “the definitive playbook for the new customer-driven era.” Roman defines Voice of the Customer (VOC) as the term “to describe the process of capturing critical details regarding the desires, needs and requirements of a given prospect, customer, or target group…VOC yields an in-depth understanding of customer and prospect preferences and actions…and is what allows us to give customers what they really want most from us – and avoid the annoyance and alienation that results from offering them what they don’t want.”
Customers want to know that their voices are heard. Once this happens, according to Roman, they look forward to engaging with and doing business with brands. Here are the five steps that all brands should follow:
 Conduct and apply VOC relationship research – achieve greater Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), which is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer – the most straightforward way to calculate CLV is to take the revenue you earn from a customer and subtract the money spent on acquiring and serving him/her.
 Create VOC-driven opt-in relationship strategies – focus on the relationship rather than the first contact or first sale. [To see some innovative business-to-customer opt-in strategies, check out what Disney Vacations does: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com.]
 Create a VOC-driven multichannel mix – your brand’s messaging might include search engine optimization/online advertising, email, print catalog, billboard advertising, in-store advertising, social media, and word-of-mouth marketing.
 Create a VOC-driven social media presence – create a presence on the social platforms where your audiences assemble and engage with them with compelling content (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram/IGTV, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, etc.).
 Invest in an excellent customer service experience – reduce complaints and increase number of repeat customers.
Perhaps, the best way to define voice of the customer marketing in a nutshell: when a business is proactive in its interactions or touch points with a customer.
THE BIRTH OF A BRAND: LAUNCHING YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL PASSION AND SOUL
In the words of author Brian Smith, the founder of casual comfort brand UGG, “Building a brand, like any natural process, is a gradual, organic, and wildly unpredictable experience.” While many of us have ideas that we think may have the potential to become a national or international brand, the reality is, we don’t. But Smith did, and it’s hard to walk on any street without seeing someone walking in an UGG sheepskin boot. The book shares a myriad of entrepreneurial tips with Smith’s story of bringing UGG footwear to life.
BE BAD FIRST: GET GOOD AT THINGS FAST TO STAY READY FOR THE FUTURE
Leadership author, coach, and trainer Erika Andersen challenges readers to become significantly better learners by the end of the book. Based on her research in writing the book, most people don’t like to look dumb if they ask questions or demonstrate a lack of knowledge or understanding. However, “it’s okay to be bad at those parts of your job that you haven’t yet had the opportunity to learn.”
Here was a great example of being bad: “The first time you’re running a meeting and someone who works for you says something you don’t understand, and you take a deep breath and say, “I’m not sure I’m following you – could you explain that in a different way?” it’s going to feel awkward and even a little scary. But then the person will stop and say, “Oh sure…” You’ll listen and understand; the other person will feel important and helpful; and the trust and openness on your team will tick up a few micro-points. In other words, nothing bad will happen…This will make it much easier to “be bad” the next time. Word will get around that you’re really interested in your folks and good to work for, better conversations will happen, and your employees will start to ask curious questions of their own in meetings.”
Be sure to check out the self-talk about “being bad” and the supportive (and more accurate) alternatives on page 172 of the book.
CRACK THE C-SUITE CODE: HOW SUCCESSFUL LEADERS MAKE IT TO THE TOP
Author Cassandra Frangos has been called “the executive whisperer” by Diversity Women magazine, and her consulting expertise focuses on succession planning, leadership development, and team effectiveness. Her book answers the question, “How can I reach the C-Suite?” by providing an array of insights about the four core paths to the C-Suite:
 The tenured executive: internal appointment
Questions to ask: Am I a fit with the culture? Am I passionate about the purpose? Can I change with the organization? Can I create my own opportunities?
 The free agent: externally recruited
Questions to ask: Am I a good fit in my present company? What will I do if I am passed over? How fast is my career clock ticking? What is my strategic career plan? Where is my next growth opportunity?
 The leapfrog leader: internal or external candidate
Questions to ask: Can I fill a gap in the leadership pipeline? Is the culture stuck, and can I help get it unstuck? Is my functional area of expertise in flux? Are the hiring managers open-minded? Is organizational change imminent?
 The founder: new venture creator
Questions to ask: Am I having the impact I want? What problem will I solve? Who are my co-founders? Am I staked financially? Do I have the personal support I need? What will I do if I fail?
In addition to these traditional pathways, there are also the nontraditional pathways: going from consulting to the C-Suite, going to the C-Suite following a merger or acquisition, going from a spinoff to the C-Suite, going from a Board position to CEO, going from COO/CFO/CMO/CSO to CEO, and going from founder/CEO to C-Suite of a different organization.
Bottom line, no two pathways to the C-Suite are the same – they are as different as the leaders who travel them.
What business book is a must-read on your end-of-the-year list? Please chime in and share.
Image Credit: Debbie Laskey’s library.
Follow these accounts on Twitter:
Charlene Li: @charleneli with hashtag #EngagedLeader
Ernan Roman: @ernanroman
Brian Smith: @briansmithugg
Erika Andersen: @erikaandersen
Cassandra Frangos: @c_frangos
Wharton Digital Press: @WhartonDigital
Welcome to Debbie Laskey's commentary about BRANDING, MARKETING, LEADERSHIP, SOCIAL MEDIA, EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT, and CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES. Debbie has worked in high-tech, the Consumer Marketing Department at Disneyland Paris in France, nonprofits, and insurance. Expertise includes strategic planning, brand development, marketing plans and audits, competitive positioning, websites, corporate communications, public relations, employee engagement, customer experiences, and social media marketing.
Friday, October 12, 2018
Fall Reading Recap: Leadership, Branding, and Voice of the Customer Marketing
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Post a Comment
Thank you for your comment!