Progress - Innovation & Strategy newsletter
Issue 8 - December 2018
Hello there!

Hope you're having a great time before Christmas!

Here are the topics for the December issue:
1. The new typical (digital) customer journey
2. Delivering deep work
3. Can Black Friday be ethical?


What's Progress? Every month or so, I like to share interesting things about strategy and innovation. I hope you will like this issue and learn something new and useful.

PS: You know someone who would like this newsletter? Just forward it or send them this link.

1. Marketing & Strategy 🚀

The "Search" journey

AISDA: This is the model of a typical customer journey. It stands for:
> Awareness
> Interest
> Search
> Desire
> Action

The “Search” stage: Google published an interesting page that zooms in on the “Search” stage of the customer journey. (Click here to see all the visuals.)

Interesting takeaway: As consumers, we spend a lot of time researching products and services, from various angle (comparing, reading reviews, etc.), on different platforms (mobile search, YouTube, blogs...).

What it means: Obviously, Google is preaching its “search” church. BUT, there’s a real benefit at understanding the “Search” part of the customer journey. The ability to show up and educate prospects at the moment where they demonstrate intent can make a real difference in terms of sales.

2. High Performance Teams & Personal Growth 🐝

The science behind doing "deep work"

Deep work = Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities. These efforts allow us to perform at our best to create new things.

As opposed to shallow work = Non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted.
  • Quote 1: "To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction."
  • Quote 2: "Put another way, the type of work that optimizes your performance is deep work. If you’re not comfortable going deep for extended periods of time, it’ll be difficult to get your performance to the peak levels of quality and quantity increasingly necessary to thrive professionally."
Takeaway 1: Distraction kills our ability to perform well, i.e. deliver deep, meaningful work.

Takeaway 2: Being in the state of constantly doing things (busyness) isn’t a good proxy for measuring performance. As knowledge workers, we need to set better metrics such as effectiveness (getting the right things done) and quantifying meaningful achievements.

Dig more into it: The quote is an extract of the book Deep Work. It's a great read for those who are annoyed that every day feels scattered and full of distraction.
  • One last quote: “[Great creative minds] think like artists but work like accountants.”
  • Which means: Successful knowledge workers need to be both inspired and disciplined.

3. Innovation & Sustainable Development 🌱

Ethical capitalism or PR stunt?

Context: Black Friday is the archetype of consumerism—especially when it happens in countries that don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving on the day before.

The renegades: For a few years, some brands have been championing another kind of Black Friday using this day as a way to promote social and environmental sustainability.
  • Example 1: The American outdoor retailer, REI, closed its 143 stores on Black Friday and granted a day off to more than 12,000 employees to let them spend it with family.
  • Example 2: Everlane donated $13 for every order placed that day. Their goal: funding beach cleanups to keep over 9,000 kg of plastic out of the ocean.
  • Example 3: The tea brand Pukka Herbs pledged to donate 100% of the profits it made on the day to the charity TreeSisters to support reforestation initiatives across the world.
What is means: More meaningful capitalism or carefully tailored PR stunt?
  1. More meaningful? There’s a real trend of companies that are redefining capitalism. They adopt more sustainable models and call themselves "mission-led businesses".
  2. PR stunt? At the end of the day, business is business. Being meaningful and ethical is trendy. It generates PR, awareness, positive branding, and so.. more sales. But whatever, as long as this helps make the world a better place?
Dig more: If you're interested in the topic, you can read How to Reform Capitalism. It's a great book written to provoke ideas for making capitalism more ethical and more sustainable–i.e. more contemporary.

My take on it: At Blackwood, we believe in implementing sustainability into the business model. This is why we use only eco-friendly plant-based material. A great Christmas gift! Check out our card holder.
Blackwood: Ultra slim card holder made using cork leather
See you next month!

And have fun!

More of my projects:

- GoudronBlanc: High-quality T-shirts for men
- Blackwood: Eco-friendly card holders
- The Value Mix: Book about creating meaningful products
- Reflections about innovation
What this is: Progress is a monthly newsletter about strategy and innovation.
It's sharp. I try to keep it as thought-provoking and concrete as possible.
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