Will Lego be the Next Blockbuster?

Billund, Denmark. It was autumn 2010 when the head of innovation at Lego stepped into Jørgen Vig Knudstorp’s office, CEO at Lego Group. He discovered an emerging Swedish studio, Mojang, that was basically making a virtual construction platform (note the term platform vs. game). The first platform of the kind was released more than 15 years ago (with the Doom WADs), so this was nothing new. Even Lego had produced their own “sandbox” in 1998, the Lego Creator. But this new game had something else, a community of contributors, almost unlimited user generated content, some secret rules for object crafting that were not directly exposed by the studio in any tutorial, and the ability of playing online within the same world between users. Oh, yes, and some skeletons, monsters, spiders and zombies wandering around. Read the rest of this entry »


Tasks vs. Responsibilities: 5 Tips for Improving Team Management.

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Since I was a very little boy, every new year’s day I remember two things on the only TV at home: The Garmisch Partenkirchen ski jump competition and the new year concert from Vienna. Being totally unaware about how an orchestra works, I always wondered what was the role of the orchestra director, since all the musicians perfectly knew their scores. Moving the baton graciously didn’t seem to be a tough job, compared to playing the violin or the flute. Every musician had a responsibility, and once rehearsed into the ground (the true job of the orchestra director), they simply did their job, autonomously, but perfectly coordinated. Read the rest of this entry »


7 Reasons Why Shopper Marketing is Not Enough.

“Shopper Marketing is the elephant in the room that nobody sees the same way.”
[Markus Stahlberg]

And what an Elephant! Every single client I’ve been lately working with is renaming their trade marketing departments to Shopper Marketing, which is something much more appealing and finally puts their activities at least at the same level that the “traditional” marketing departments. We can find as many definitions of shopper marketing as gurus trying to sell their Shopper Marketing Books, but one I particularly like is the usage of insights in order to target shoppers for creating experiences focusing on business results.

In the past years I have been analyzing the path to purchase and decision journeys of many clients in a decent number of categories, from cars to beauty or energy drinks, and, although there are differences, we can find common patterns in consumers/shoppers behaviors, because at the end, the same shopper buys beers and deodorant in the same purchase. Before listing them, it’s important to understand that in many categories consumers are the same people than shoppers (some call them Shopsumers), and, when it’s not the case (e.g. pet food) the “traditional” marketing is also impacting them (but probably with different values, e.g. kids stuff).

What behaviors are the most common across categories?

Consumers are distrustful towards the brands. Even if the awareness and consideration levels are high, the impact of massive channels is limited for making them try. They use other inputs for getting informed and check the brand proposition veracity.

The impact of other’s opinions is huge. They know a brand, they consider it, but they will always go online to look for the product and get the right answers to conform their opinion. Most people don’t browse the brand website (except they’re on site with their smartphone), nor their social networks, and if they do, they do not give them much relevance. They mostly go for opinions in trusted sites (from retailers such as Amazon or Tripadvisor), blogs and forums, or YouTube when they want to see the product experience.

Employees matter. In those categories where there is a person in the process, it plays a very influential recommendation role, if he or she is well trained. When comparing different retailers, we do see important differences, that can only be explained by the different levels of training and consumer orientation.

Offers and promotions will affect decision, within a choice set. If the brand is not in the choice set, offers will hardly make it get in the circle. If you’re entering the category, leverage on other values.

Working on occasions is a good way to foster trial. Working from the consumer to the product will show how to tackle this occasions, quantifying and twisting your communication towards them, choosing your channels accordingly.

But focus on very specific consumption occasions in the long run will limit growth. Most consumers see a barrier of purchase the fact that the product is not for the occasion, and sometimes it could be with the appropriate change of perspective.

Mobile is everywhere. When asking friends and relatives for opinions, or checking for prices. In fact, a recent study we ran for Geometry Global says 60% of consumers use their mobile device when visiting a physical store looking for prices or additional information.

Ok, good enough. Let’s go back to Shopper Marketing. Just review the seven behaviors and find where typical Trade Marketing, sorry, Shopper Marketing department will make an impact………. yes you’re right, in the point of sales. And the rest? Most of the influences are occurring outside the store. It’s amazing to see how Shopper Marketing is gathering very powerful consumer/shopper insights (business oriented) covering a myriad of touch points which responsibles are dispersed in different departments. Maybe it’s time of a little bit of consumer centricity, don’t you think?

Shopper marketing is not enough, or then everything should be shopper marketing, an elephant in the room is just an elephant, it’s your consumer, and everybody in the company should see it the same way. Who will bell the cat (or the elephant)?

This post was originally posted here.


Is your career happiness driven? Please, don’t become a happiness junkie.

While it seems we’re leaving this crisis behind, everybody agrees things are far to be as they were, and it’s going to take years, even decades, to reacquire pre-crisis growth levels. Some are even wondering if growth would ever be the economic paradigm again. In the middle of this crisis new generations have to surface, Millenials in the first line.

Much has been written about generation Y, or Millenials, since they started to get into work. The oldest ones will be 30 years old next year, enough to start looking back over their careers, if they were lucky enough to have one. They suffered very competitive environments, as they parents invested in them and expected a return, but also family structures where freedom was part of their lives, because parents couldn’t micro manage them enough, probably trying to work hard, as they have been taught to. Millenials are very well adapted to constant change, they are hyper connected, but also more immediate happiness oriented. They want to do things they satisfy them, and they want them now, and if they don’t, they switch as it’s much effortless for them. Obviously, when getting to “traditional” professional environments, they usually crash against corporate cultures that are rigid, hierarchical, and not very fulfilling, not making them happy.

A generation’s behavior can’t be such consistent because the generation itself, but most likely because their parents, and the context around. Don’t blame Millenials for what they are, because in part, they’re a product of their parents, us. My kid will be ten in a month, and I’m frankly scared of the kind of challenges he will face in a context where technology will literally be reshaping our brains.When the future is unpredictable, it’s obvious we have to go back to the basics, values that, whatever happens are there for supporting us as individuals, and help you in the good and bad moments of your life.

I’ve lately been discussing with some parents about the importance of teaching our kids to chose their path looking for their own happiness. And I partially agreed. I agree we need to teach our kids about understanding their emotions, and work with them in order to have a richer personal life. But your life, and particularly your professional life, can’t be a continuous race looking for the next happiness dose, or you’ll become a happiness junkie, which will undeniably push you to make decisions not building into some values that have to be somehow consistent. In this constant changing world, we need some fix points in the firmament, like the North Star. Be careful, kid, you should look for happiness inside you, not in your work, or it’ll be too late and you won’t get neither (happiness nor a career). For your career, son, let me give you some advice:

1. Happiness is a temporary state of mind. Happiness is like vacations, they never last forever, or they wouldn’t be such. Don’t rely on your job as unique source of happiness. Take some time to evaluate situations before making decisions, analyze consequences in every aspect of your life. Every job is leaving you something, at least recognizing what you don’t want to do. Most of the times you acknowledge how good or bad a professional situation has been after some time and perspective. Don’t loose perspective.

2. Don’t stop learning. Respect your boss, he’s your boss for a reason, learn from him, learn from your colleagues, learn from your subordinates. Listen twice before you speak. If you feel you shouldn’t have a boss, that you should be your own boss, go for it, but know the consequences. Its harder, but also better to fail when you are your own boss. Don’t fear to fail. Learn from failure.

3. Embrace change. Change is what will define your future, get used to that. Its distressing not knowing what will be your future in two years time, but that is also a chance to forge your own destiny. Always think how to use changes for your own advantage, if you can. Be sure you’re getting yourself out of the bad moments knowing that change is coming somewhere, somehow. Analyze the situations and make your move, but before doing so, read again #1 and #2.

4. Your playground is the world. Somewhere, there is a place where you can be the best of yourself. Happiness has no boundaries (because it’s in you). It makes me sad to think you will be several thousand miles away from me, but there is where you’ll probably be for a while. Thanks God there is Skype.

5. Freedom implies responsibility. Happiness is often associated with freedom. People tend to think that freedom will give them happiness, and it’s not true (although it helps, like love, health and money). Freedom is good, look for freedom, but understand it has responsibilities associated, for you and for your loved ones. Take care of them and they will take care of you. Build your happiness together.

Hope it helps.

With love,

Dad.

P.S. It seems my son will be part of Generation Z. You can read a bunch of interesting things here.