Posts Tagged holistic

My 1999 View on Holistic Business Strategy Services

Forgot about this page, but just seeing all the talk about the need for executives to take a more holistic approach to business made me look. This old static html page described the services I was offering in 1999 for my now closed consulting and software development firm called Conversal. It was a bit ahead of its time, and I really never connected with big brands to do this the way I wanted to… but of course this was also inhibited by the crash and my great time working with Palm, Inc.

I have been ahead of my time a few times too often. It seems like now with the rise of social media and the emergence of social business design, many of these ideas need to be dusted off and rewritten. For now, I will just quote it in its old entirety and add to it this weekend…

Holistic Business Strategy Consulting

Holistic – (adj) – taking
a view of the whole rather than focusing on the components;
the fundamental approach executives should take in setting strategy;
also used in holistic medicine, where a practicioner looks at
the whole body to diagnose a health problem and provide the
best solution.

Don’t get us confused with some new
age group wearing purple Nike’s and bringing a bunch of crystals
into the board room though – holistic business strategy is serious
business that will revolutionize your company. The foundation
of each engagement is based on a holistic approach, looking at
the whole of your situation, not just one part of it. For example,
while engaged on a simple web site redesign project with limited
budget, we were able to discuss and radically improve the company’s
positioning strategy and corporate voice. This has lead to a clearer
and more consistent line of communications with customers and
partners that is being affirmed anecdotally and measurably.

With Holistic Business Strategy consulting, Conversal is focused
on helping you to see your entire business in an entirely different
light. While many consultants may offer
you "out of the box" thinking, it is our deeply held
belief that there is no box! Adopting this powerful belief is
the first step in making dramatic improvements in the way you
work, and most importantly, how you feel about the work you do.
This isnt some ra-ra jedi mind trick with a turn of a phrase and
a pumping of the fist. At Conversal, we firmly believe it is fundamental
to operating a successfull organization in the world of today
for you and all of your fellow team members to change your approach
and broaden your situational world view.

Conversal’s ability to contribute dramatically to your bottom
line with a Holistic Business Strategy engagements originates
from these core beliefs:

  1. A successfull business begins with an understanding
    of the value your organization creates today and establishing
    a simply understood set of brand values which define your potential
    offerings and purpose for existence.
  2. Trust must be built between employees, managers,
    partners and customers and constantly nurtured.
  3. Communication across all of the channels must
    be in an authentic voice while remaining consistent, accurate
    and most importantly, honest.
  4. Things don’t always have to be the way they are
    today, change can happen in an instant if the situation can
    be seen clearly.
  5. Management does not equal leadership. Leaders
    earn the respect of their peers and those they lead through
    courage, honesty, right action and through a genuine love for
    everyone with whom they interact.
  6. In order to be effective, leaders need to see
    the forest as well as the trees. The only path to long term
    success is through a holistic understanding of your organization’s
    strategy, its values and its operations.
  7. Technology for the sake of technology is worthless
    – all key initiatives should primarily focus on value creation
    for the stakeholders, which means getting them involved in the
    decisionmaking process before technology is bought or developed.
  8. The knowledge exists within your organization
    today to take you where you need to be tomorrow – you just need
    to find a way to listen and respond better.
  9. We are now living in the knowledge economy, where
    your assetts walk out the door every night, or at the end of
    every shift. Ensuring this knowledge and the people employing
    it constantly grow in their ability to innovate, learn new knowledge
    and constantly improve must be your primary goal.
  10. There is no box. Whether inside or outside
    of a box, people remain to focused on the box itself and what
    it looks like, feels like and is. Without a box, your best assetts
    will be utilized for your best benefit.

If you are curious about what a holistic business
strategy engagement might look like for your company, let’s
and see if we both have a good fit for our mutual success.
If you just have some ideas you would like to share on this topic,
we would be glad to hear from you as well. Regardless, we hope
these thoughts may have contributed in some small way to your
knowledge and ultimately your success.

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Using Display Ads to Drive Search Marketing: Virtuous or Greedy?

This morning at the Search Insider Summit I heard a phrase a few times that struck me as odd – the first 2 times, I missed it, the 3rd time I caught it and the 4th time I GOT IT. And what I got worries me. In fact, talking about this briefly with Bill Flitter and Lee Odden, some of my concerns were alleviated, but my broader concern for this approach, and specifically the intention behind it, remains.

Specifically the issue is that I am afraid some Search Marketers are using this technique of integrating search into display ads and broader marketing activities (such as on product packaging) merely to seize a greater portion of the overall advertising spending. Certainly, I am not arguing with the effectiveness of search marketing over traditional advertising, but I am pointing out that an emphasis on using one form of marketing/advertising to drive people through another point of advertising rather than direct to the marketer has all sorts of upside for those taking the dollars and potentially circumspect value for those spending the dollars.

Let me illustrate through one case study which was mentioned regarding Hellman’s mayonaise and the “Real Foods” campaign. I think it was an excellent campaign executed with good intentions in conjunction with Yahoo. They have connected it with some smart social media content, using a blog and community site around the concept of “In Search of Real Foods” and connecting it with a contest to award travel to some cool restaurants around the country. Really, really great integrated campaign – an exemplary case study displaying the sort of holistic strategy that I would recommend to my clients.

Yahoo! is clearly providing real value here, but the side effects are interesting to note. Look at the search results on Yahoo! and on Google and on MSN Live for “Real Food”. Of course, the increase in awareness on the idea of searching for the term ‘real food’ is increasing the overall search volume around this term – meaning sites like AOL, Amazon, Target and even an “Amazing New Health Drink” are buying the term – naturally, the Hellman’s competitor Kraft Foods is also buying this term. So the use of this strategy, while implemented well on Yahoo! is requiring Hellman’s to spend a lot more money across all of the search engines to maintain a number one result. Of course, this is already happening to a degree in regards to the brand and product names, but this angle has me questioning the broader impact this strategy across the entire marketing communications mix.

Perhaps what this approach is really doing is merely ensuring the value of the display ads is being driven through a measurable funnel, and the cost of being able to make the conversion of interest to intention to transaction is a worthwhile allocation (or reallocation) of dollars. Perhaps this is just the natural consequence of “owning a part of the language” for mind share. There are clear parallels here to the rise in importance of tagging relative to search, but perhaps we have just not seen tag based marketing mature to the point of encountering this issue widely yet.

It clearly costs more money to use display ads to drive more people through search marketing. The question to be determined is whether the intentions behind advocating for this strategic approach is driven by the virtuous idea of increasing effectiveness and the efficient use of dollars, or is it just a greedy land grab trying to increase the overall dollars captured by search marketing? Perhaps it is both…

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