always on our minds

How marketers learned to sell more lettuce and why it matters

January 21, 2015 By: Heather Ward

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a talk at the Harvard Business School given by Ranjay

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a talk at the Harvard Business School given by Ranjay Gulati, and I learned something about marketing that I’ve never forgotten. Gulati’s research at the time focused on the difference between an outside-in (customer-centric) approach and an inside-out (product-centric) approach. In order to explain his case for the outside-in approach, he used the example of lettuce manufacturers who kept trying to improve their product by asking about where people would prefer to buy it or how much they’d pay for it. One day, they took a step back and asked their customers about how making and consuming salad fit in with their busy lives. By shifting the question away from the product and understanding the larger context of people’s lives, they discovered that people wanted to eat more salad but...

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A Dang Good Rallying Cry

July 28, 2014 By: Holly Monacelli

Last week while my husband and I puttered around Puerto Rico, we happened upon a local smoothie shop in a

Last week while my husband and I puttered around Puerto Rico, we happened upon a local smoothie shop in a remote part of Rincon called Banana Dang! As if the name wasn’t awesome enough, the logo is a smiling banana. But more importantly, in this small surfer town, it’s a rallying cry. An excited, affirmative answer for the sea-soaked and sunburned and water-weary. Want a delicious mango and acai berry smoothie? Homemade banana bread? Strong Puerto Rican coffee? BANANA DANG, I do! Finding a rallying cry may not be as easy as it was for Banana Dang! co-owner Than Than Dang, who was born with part of it. And the idea of the store was born in 2007, the Year of the Monkey — and those guys just happen to love the main ingredient of every smoothie made here: bananas....

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Why Your Mission Matters

June 18, 2014 By: Rob Waldeck

Old friend Mike Troiano moderated a panel at the Bostinno State of Innovation conference last week with entrepreneurs who have

Old friend Mike Troiano moderated a panel at the Bostinno State of Innovation conference last week with entrepreneurs who have built $1billion companies in Massachusetts. Participants included Barbara Messing, CMO of TripAdvisor, Brad Rinklin, CMO at Akamai, Colin Angle, CEO at iRobot, Steve Conine, co-founder of Wayfair, and Jit Saxeena, Chairman of Neteeza. He asked them to rank the impact of 6 factors in the success of their businesses: Size of Market, Quality of Team, Quality of Product, Insight of Strategy, Quality of Execution and Luck. The details can be found here. Among that crew the consensus Number 1 driver in achieving $billion-scale was the Quality of Team. “If you get [the team] right, they’ll figure out all the rest,” said Jit Saxeena, Founder of Applix/Neteeza. But of course building a great team is easier said than done. To attract...

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Content that Moves People

June 17, 2014 By: Renee Bolz

According to this report by branding firm Wolff Olins, we’ve gone from 7% of people creating online content in 2006 to 77%

According to this report by branding firm Wolff Olins, we’ve gone from 7% of people creating online content in 2006 to 77% in 2013. That’s a lot of people, and a lot of content. Imagine that you run a news organization — a legitimate one that’s been objectively reporting on important global issues for more than 100 years. And all of a sudden, people are creating and reading content all over the place. Accessing news and views instantaneously from wherever they are. Often not paying attention to the source or finishing what they start. Do they still need you? Want you? Even know who you are? How can you possibly break through? When we started working with The Christian Science Monitor in 2012 it was at the height of frenzy in the world of news media, with mobile usage exploding and people reading more news than...

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It isn’t always easy to do the right thing

February 21, 2014 By: Heather Ward

It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong in a disagreement or to tell a restaurant that unfortunately they’ve under-charged you

It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong in a disagreement or to tell a restaurant that unfortunately they’ve under-charged you for your bill. But at the end of the day, you can feel pretty good about yourself. And it’s likely that the people in your life will respect you too. Brands today are expected to be more human and more transparent than they’ve ever been. And like the person who lies to your face, a brand that doesn’t live up to its promise will struggle to earn your respect.  Successful brands are no longer just telling you their stories; they’re living them. And their stories are less about what they do and how they do it—the ones who stand out most know why they do it. Their “why” serves as their mission, which clearly informs their brand values and their decisions. CVS Caremark’s decision to stop selling tobacco...

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