Author: admin

reframing failure

Reframing Failure

Fear of failure is a topic that Leticia Gonçalves, president of Monsanto Europe, is passionate about. She faced such fears years ago while working for Monsanto in her home country of Brazil. In 2006, Gonçalves was asked to take on a management job at corporate headquarters in St. Louis, but she balked. “I didn’t think I was competent enough,” she recalls. Sleepless nights, butterflies in the stomach, and long talks with her husband, a lawyer who would have to give up his practice, finally yielded a decision to say yes. Now Gonçalves, her husband, and their two American-born children are living in Switzerland, where she moved two years ago to head up Monsanto’s European operations. She has a few words of encouragement for others facing equally difficult choices: “We are afraid of what we don’t know. Fear of failure is not really based on facts. It’s emotional. If you can overcome that emotional barrier, you can do a lot.” Such encouragement is sorely needed. “Even among people who are outwardly successful,” says Kristi Hedges, a Chicago-based executive coach, “there is a fear of either not measuring up, letting people down, or letting themselves down.” Hedges says the topic comes up “all the time” in her coaching to professionals at the highest levels of organizations. (Apparently, only in an intimate setting can many executives admit to such fears.) The need to succeed is ingrained in our culture, and the indoctrination starts early. Even in the classroom, “you want to have the right answer and get good grades,” Hedges says. The emphasis is on getting the answer correct, not how you got there or learning from an incorrect answer. And despite the lip service that some companies pay to creating a safe environment for failure in order to nurture innovation, that clear line of thinking that divides success stories from failures follows most of us all the way up to the C-suite. And while the corporate world is more dynamic and creative today than at any other time in history, it is also more demanding. Disruptive technologies, global competition, and incessant investor demands, to name a...

organic keywords

Do organic keyword rankings matter anymore?

High keyword rankings are the most sought-after achievement in the world of search engine optimization (SEO). Small businesses and brands alike strive to obtain the first organic listing in search results because of the lucrative traffic and lead opportunities that are associated with this position. But with the evolution of paid advertising and expansion of universal search, as well as Google’s continuous efforts to provide consumers with content that resolves their demands directly in search results, the opportunities attached to traditional keyword rankings are diminishing at an alarming rate. In today’s search landscape, SEOs and digital marketing specialists have to consider whether it’s worth the amount of time and resources it takes to achieve premier organic rankings, considering the click-through rates (CTR) associated with organic rankings that are positioned under PLAs, local results and other forms of content. Keyword rankings aren’t the only way to connect to online customers There was a time not too long ago when achieving the first organic position on Google was one of the only ways to attract new online customers to a website without having to invest in paid advertising or e-mail marketing. Ten years ago, the world was just warming up to the power of social media and its influence on the World Wide Web. Back then, most consumers were just starting to become aware of YouTube’s marketing power, Facebook was starting to open itself up to audiences outside of college students, and blogging was just starting to become mainstream, as everyone from CNN to Mashable began investing in new, niche content in the form of top lists and how-to articles. Because of this boom in social connectivity, businesses and brands suddenly had access to free channels that were viable for attracting new business to their websites. In 2017, there are thousands of social media platforms to join, millions of user-generated content forums, and approximately 320 million blogs around the world (up from 260 million in 2015). Today, it’s rare to find a local business or brand that isn’t connected to an established directory host like Yelp or TripAdvisor, whose own online credibility is so impressive that it allows their less...

corporate responsibility

What Is The Future Of Corporate Responsibility

Corban Addison, author, attorney, activist, traveler and humanitarian, explains the lasting impact the world's most powerful companies have had by committing themselves to global good. As an author and a lawyer, I’m an outsider to the business of retail. But as a consumer, I pour money into its coffers every day. Until a couple of years ago, I gave little thought to the people who make the products I buy or the environments in which they are made. Without knowing it, I participated in the vast illusion upon which the consumer economy is based—that the things we love to buy and wear magically appear in stores and online all bright and ribbon-tied, waiting for us to take them home. It’s a convenient slight-of-hand. It lets all of us off the hook—consumers, investors, brands, and governments. But the consequences of that illusion—as I have seen with my own eyes—are neither inviting nor pretty. Right now, in dozens of countries across the world, millions of factory workers fulfilling orders for the world’s great consumer-facing brands are laboring under conditions that no decent person would consider dignified. Many are working 80 to 100 hours a week in unsanitary, poorly maintained sweatshops where fires and structural issues proliferate and sexual harassment is common. Others are victims of forced labor, lured by the fraudulent promises of unscrupulous labor brokers into debt bondage that siphons off their earnings for years. Some are the children of home workers who sew beads and sequins on Western clothing at night and sleep during the day instead of going to school. Others have bosses who shirk on paying overtime and fire them for getting pregnant. All of these workers are people like you and me, with children to feed and families to support. I met some of them when I was researching my new novel, A Harvest of Thorns, about the underside of the global fashion industry. Yet unlike workers in the West, where labor laws and workplace protections are plentiful and enforced by regulators with bureaus and budgets, workers in Bangladesh and Malaysia, Honduras and Madagascar, and so many others places, live...

7 Under-The-Radar Retail Strategy Trends For 2017

Trends, like rainstorms, can be fairly easy to predict. You look at the current conditions on the radar screen, consider their proximity and can pretty much nail where and when the rain will fall. This goes for retail events as well as the weather. Consumers increasingly use their mobile devices in the shopping process. They expect more personalized, relevant shopping experiences. They research online and purchase in-store. These practices and preferences have been steadily advancing, so it is easy to predict and prepare for the continuing trends. However, it’s those events that are just under the radar, those freak storms that come from nowhere, that tend to have a more lasting effect. These under-the-radar trends are also occurring in retail, but with less notice. So I asked the retail experts: What do you predict will be the stealth trends of 2017? From artificial intelligence to increased spending among men, they shared small but notable activities of today that will influence retail in 2017. Following are seven under-the-radar trends provided by several retail industry experts. The Menaissance: “We will continue to see men take the lead in spend(ing). Already, for the first time ever, men are outspending women by 13% and early indicators predict that the menswear market will expand 8.3% next year (“The Boutique@Ogilvy 2016 Men’s Shopping Report”). That’s 1.5 times more than women’s! Expect more struggling retailers to bring menswear front and center.” — Christine Sica, retail analyst and CEO of Mox Group Strategists, Miami, Florida Getting personal, artificially: “The savviest retailers are taking advantage of advancements in machine learning, deep analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) for a more targeted and personalized shopping experience. Customers now have longer digital footprints (shopping histories, social media profiles and interests), giving retailers easy access to offer a tailored selection of products. Brands such as The North Face and 1-800-Flowers.Com are already using AI to provide personalized recommendations.” — Emily Bezzant, head analyst at Edited, a retail analytics company with offices in New York, London and Melbourne Co-shopping means growing carts: “Increasingly, the task of grocery shopping is being divided among various family members. Nearly 60% of households (58%, according...

Why All 4 of Google’s Micro-Moments Are Actually Local

When America’s first star TV chef, Julia Child, demonstrated the use of a wire whisk on her 1960’s cooking show, the city of Pittsburgh sold out of them. Pennsylvanians may well have owned a few of these implements prior to the show’s air date, but probably didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about them. After the show, however, wire whisks were on everyone’s mind and they simply had to have one. Call it a retro micro-moment, and imagine consumers jamming the lines of rotary phones or hoofing it around town in quest of this gleaming gadget … then zoom up to the present and see us all on our mobile devices. I like this anecdote from the pages of culinary history because it encapsulates all four of Google’s stated core micro-moments: I want to know - Consumers were watching a local broadcast of this show in Pittsburgh because they wanted to know how to make an omelet. I want to go - Consumers then scoured the city in search of the proper whisk. I want to buy - Consumers then purchased the implement at a chosen retailer. I want to do - And finally, consumers either referred to the notes they had taken during the show (no DVRs back then) or might have turned to Julia Child’s cookbook to actually beat up their first-ever omelet. Not only does the wire whisk story foreshadow the modern micro-moment, it also provides a roadmap for tying each of the 4 stages to local SEO via current technology. I’ve seen other bloggers pointing to the ‘I want to go’ phase as inherently local, but in this post, I want to demonstrate how your local business can decisively claim all four of these micro-moments as your own, and claim the desirable transactions resulting thereby! Understanding Google’s definition of micro-moments Google whisked up some excitement of their own with the publication of Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile. Some of the statistics in the piece are stunning: 65% of smartphone users look for the most relevant information on their devices regardless of what company provides that information, 90% of them aren’t certain...