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Archive for February, 2015

Looking to make an impact with global audiences? It might be time to think mobile first.

2014 marked a milestone for mobile. Giving credence to Mary Meeker’s somewhat shocking 2008 prediction (“mobile to overtake fixed internet access by 2014”), Americans used smartphones and tablets for more than half of their internet usage, surpassing PCs for the first time. A majority of that usage was app-based. And this trend is not limited to the United States, or even to developed economies.

Consider this: In India, there are 120 million smartphone users. That number is double what it was less than two years ago. In South Africa, which has an unbanked population estimated as high as 67%87% of individuals own mobile phones—36% of those being smart phones.

The proof points for devoting time and resources toward a mobile friendly, if not mobile first, strategy are stacking up. Organizations looking to reach, engage and compete at the global level need to take note.

According to Forrester Research Inc., merely owning or having access to technology, such as a mobile device or tablet, will inherently change behavior patterns and preferences. As more and more people are exposed to mobile devices and tablets, whether through personal choice, work use, gifting or lack of other options, the less they rely on traditional devices like laptops, desktops, digital cameras, print media and television.

For companies looking to grow, it’s time to move beyond the “think global and act local” theme of a decade ago. Today, organizations need to not only think mobile, but actively be mobile.

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The Evolving Landscape of TV is Eerily Similar to Desktop Computing

What do Blockbuster Video and Netflix, CDs and iTunes, PCs and tablets have in common? The former in each grouping either is or will become obsolete in the coming years. This is certainly true with respect to Blockbuster and CDs. Given the incredibly quick proliferation of mobile technology, is there reason to believe that the PC won’t go the same way or at least become less relevant in the near future?

The age of mobile digital consumption is upon us.

Earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, DishTV announced a new Internet TV service called Sling TV. The premise behind Sling is that millennials are cutting the cord on traditional cable and only want to watch (and pay for) those programs they watch most. The new offering allows DishTV to offer a streaming service similar to the likes of Hulu Plus and HBO Go for mobile devices. DishTV understands the changing dynamic of the television consumer and that they now are demanding that the content they consume – whether it be movies, music, documents or other work information – be delivered to them in a format that is user friendly and that can be obtained anywhere and at any time. And this means mobile!

We have every reason to believe that apps are to the PC as Sling TV is to regular TV. It will be very interesting to watch how both of these sectors continue to evolve and enable businesses and consumers to take advantage of cloud and mobile technology. Companies that don’t embrace the mobile paradigm may soon find themselves in the same situation as Blockbuster Video and CDs. Beware ABC, CBS and NBC!

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Communicating strategy – Not just a “one and done”

For most companies, the first of the year is a time to rally the troops – a time to get laser focused on the company’s strategy and a natural time to communicate annual goals and the role individuals, teams and organizations play in bringing that strategy to life.

Sound familiar? I hope so. In fact, I love the sense of systems and renewal within the seasons society has engrained in us. Every January feels like a fresh start – an opportunity to hover up to the ‘big picture’ and set a roadmap for the year ahead.

That said, all too often the “big push” for strategy communications comes early and often in the beginning of the year – the email from the CEO outlining the strategy, the brand-new intranet page with the supporting detail, and the cascading of performance goals and measures throughout the organization.  While these activities are mission-critical for setting the baseline, communicating company strategy is an evolving, engaging, and multi-channeled experience – more like a constant and consistent conversation vs. a “one and done” approach.

Once the strategy is rolled out and the goals are set, it’s about tending the fire and making it real. Along the way, you have to help people see themselves in the strategy – empowering them to contribute to the whole, trusting their intelligence, and highlighting proof points in a consistent and multi-dimensional way.

How? Keep these guiding principles in mind:

Leverage social and mobile to keep the conversation alive. Many companies are moving towards social and mobile-first intranets and applications – allowing instant communication outside the clutter of day-to-day email. Mobile-first applications can also provide leaders and communicators a curated experience (e.g., targeting by role, function or location) and guide them toward parts of a strategy or a conversation that are most relevant for them.

Think in terms of big “C” and little “c” communications. Big “C” communications – the all-hands meetings, the formal organizational announcements – are critical, but they aren’t the only way to communicate strategy. There is real power in the small, day-to-day conversations (i.e., little “c” communications) that help individuals and teams gain understanding and meaning for themselves.

Communicate strategy with an agile approach. This software development approach is based on a few key principles: small teams, iterative and incremental changes, room for experimentation and interpretation, face-to-face communication and quick feedback cycles. Applying this same mindset to strategy communication can give individuals and teams an opportunity to engage with the strategy vs. just being told what it is. Engaging teams in two-way dialogues, holding regular Q&A sessions with leaders and amplifying examples of how individuals or small teams are adding real value can have a powerful effect on how quickly a company can actualize a global strategy.

Communicating strategy can’t be a ‘one and done activity’ – it’s a conversation, a lifestyle, a muscle that must be built with intention and rigor. Here’s to keeping your company’s strategy alive, purposeful and thriving all year long!

 

Caitlin Strauss Corda is a consultant at Blue Beyond Consulting. In her role she helps organizations, teams and leaders thrive in times of change. To connect with her or the Blue Beyond Team, visit www.bluebeyondconsulting.com

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