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Messages - Mrittika Shil

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196
Most of what the average person reads about entrepreneurship sustains the mystique. We revere the outstanding successes achieved by extreme entrepreneurs -- everyone from Edison to Jobs. Yet, reading about these giants colors our perception of entrepreneurship. We admire their achievements but consider them beyond reach. Their stories often sustain misleading myths about entrepreneurship that keep capable people from embracing an entrepreneurial career. People begin to believe that to travel down the entrepreneurial path, a person must be born with a particular mindset, take reckless risks to achieve high rewards, work all day, everyday and must fail to succeed. Don’t let these misconceptions scare you off. They couldn’t be further from the truth.

Below are those misconceptions debunked:

Entrepreneurship can be taught, it should be taught and it is being taught
. After 50 years of a flawed model focused on churning out executives for large corporations, colleges and universities have turned their attention to promoting and encouraging entrepreneurship. These schools are focusing on teaching the entrepreneurial lifestyle; one focused on both the mindset and the skillset required to become an entrepreneur. Everything from university incubators to mentor programs and pitch sessions are being offered.

Entrepreneurship is not about the risk you take, but the results that you achieve It’s a startling paradox
. Too many good opportunities die prematurely because so many potential entrepreneurs are risk averse. At the same time businesses are failing because of absurd risks fostered by the idea that being an entrepreneur is nothing more than a gamble. Entrepreneurs succeed through determination -- not by taking unwarranted risk. Managing risk as you embrace it is critical. Not all ideas are opportunities and every opportunity is not viable.  Managed risk is inherent in the lean startup focused on getting valuable feedback from potential end users before jumping into a full-scale operation.


Entrepreneurs need to find work-life balance
. Having a strong work ethic and being willing to put in extended days when required is critical. During your startup phase and later when you encounter bumps in the road, you will work long hours with great satisfaction. But as things progress you need to find balance by building your team, easing control and empowering your staff. You must recharge your batteries to persevere. Never forget: You are your most valuable human resource. Without balance your performance will suffer, your business will be restrained and your personal life will be sacrificed unnecessarily.   

Failure is not essential. Entrepreneurs manage their risk and avoid failure. Describing failure as an essential part of success is rational, but many entrepreneurs are motivated more by the fear of failure than the rewards of success.  Failure only happens when we either quit or are forced to give up. Mistakes are part of the learning curve. We learn from them because we take the time to analyze them. Success is elating and can mask our faults. Continually improve by understanding what you do right and correcting what you do wrong in good times and in bad. If you do experience failure, you can and will bounce back.

Being an entrepreneur is within your reach.
You can become a problem solver who is determined to find a way to make things happen. It is important to understand, we can’t all be innovators but for every innovation there will be thousands of entrepreneurs finding applications that solve everyday problems, while producing jobs and gaining independence.

Believe in your own ability. You can establish the mindset of an entrepreneur by eliminating the word can’t from your vocabulary. You can approach problems by skipping right over the question if it can be solved and moving directly to the question of how it will be solved. You can find opportunity and you can analyze to make sure that opportunity is viable.  All of this can be done within the context of the traditional economy, and you don’t have to be a tech genius to do it. We are entering a new era of entrepreneurship, which means it is an option for almost anyone.

FRED DAWKINS
Entrepreneur/Author
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232347

197
We find that a lot of people who have never tried living the life of an entrepreneur yearn for the supposed utopian existence that can only be found through working for oneself. Unfortunately it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and many entrepreneurs are unsuccessful simply because they have unrealistic expectations of the entrepreneurial life. So before you storm into your boss’s office and call him or her everything but a child of God, you might want to consider these myths associated with entrepreneurship:

1. I will be my own boss.
Many people go into business expecting that ownership will confer magical powers that will allow them to tell the world to go to…well elsewhere. The truth of the matter is you will need business more than the average customer needs you. And while you can yell “no soup for you” and bar a person from your establishment, you can’t really convince all your competitors to do the same (every time you bar someone from your business you lose a customer and give them to the competition.) The reality is, owning your own business is a humbling experience where you find yourself working for EVERYONE.


2. I’ll get rich quick.
The biggest determinate between getting rich quick and eking out a subsistence living is luck, so if you’re looking to get rich quick, my advice is to buy lottery tickets. Building a clientele takes time and patience and is much harder than many people think. You can do everything right by a customer 99 times and then screw it up once and have them drop you like a hot potato.



3. It will be easy.
Perhaps the biggest misconception about owning your own business is that it will be easy. I know many people who retire and decide to realize their dreams of owning a bar or a restaurant. After all, they love to cook and seriously, how hard can it be? Even someone who has spent most of their lives working in a given business seldom masters ALL aspects of the business, and in most cases they learn about their deficiencies too late.



4. All I need is a million-dollar idea.
The world is full of people with great ideas, but to be a successful entrepreneur takes far more than a “can’t lose” idea. Some great ideas take decades to catch on while other never earn the entrepreneur nickel one. Ideas without action are really just wishes.


5. I will set my own hours.
Customers need you to keep regular hours - no one wants to get a recorded message that their plumber has decided to take a two-week vacation when they have raw sewage seeping up through the basement carpet. This is not to say that you can never take a vacation or close early, but whenever you do you had better provide your customers with a viable option or they may stop being your customers and you will end up having more free time than you can afford.

Source: www.entrepreneur.com
PHIL LA DUKE
CONTRIBUTOR

198
Business Administration / The 4 Pillars of Stellar Video Marketing
« on: March 01, 2017, 07:40:04 PM »
In his book Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars, Mitch Myerson introduces you to 22 innovators who have redefined the developing landscape of online marketing. Learn how to master proven strategies, avoid costly mistakes and grow your business. In this edited excerpt, contributing author and video marketing consultant Lou Bortone offers an expert's view on what it takes to create videos that attract your target market.

Video marketing is a powerful tool for getting more visibility more quickly, so you can get your message out, attract your ideal clients, make more money, and have more impact. It’s been reported that your chances of getting a page-one listing on Google search increase by 53 times when you use video.

Video marketing is relationship marketing: crucial for connecting, building loyalty and developing the "know, like, and trust" factor which is so important when doing business online.

To be effective with video, the emphasis needs to be on your marketing strategy. You must ask: What's the goal of the video? What business objective will it accomplish? Who will be viewing the video, and what do you want the viewer to do after they watch it? Think strategy first, and tools, equipment and technology later.

Use the “Four Pillars” formula to be sure you’ve got a solid structure for your video:

1. Purpose. Think strategically about the business goals for your video. You can use it for creating awareness, increasing your visibility, building trust and credibility, generating leads, launching a product, growing your list, driving web traffic, selling a service—the list is almost endless. Understanding your objectives up front will determine your message, platform and distribution.

2. Premise. The second pillar for your video plan is to determine your message, script or story. Your premise is how you'll communicate your message and move your viewer to action. What do you want your viewer to do when the video is over?

When developing your message or writing your script, keep in mind the very limited attention span of online viewers. Be clear, concise, and direct. Get to the point quickly and keep your video as short as possible. The vast majority of YouTube videos are under three minutes in length. (Obvious exceptions include training videos, webinars, and other long-form videos.)

3. Platform. While you could argue that there are only really two types of videos—on-camera or off-camera—there are actually many different styles and options. Video has evolved into much more than the traditional “talking head” format. You’ll want to find the platform that best fits your needs and personal style.

Most video creators default to the tried-and-true on-camera video, which can include the direct-to-camera video, a video interview with two or more participants, a video tips series, or a live webcast. On-camera videos are usually best for when you want to make a more engaging connection with your viewers, or when you’re promoting a more personal service and you wish to create more trust and credibility.

Off-camera videos, on the other hand, don’t require you to be on camera, which can be a big benefit to the more camera-shy among us. Off-camera videos can be extremely effective when sharing a lot of information, such as during a video webinar or training video.

4. Promotion. The fourth pillar is promotion, or how and where you'll distribute, share, and market your video online. Determine where your target market is, and share your video there. Once your video is on YouTube, you can set up one-click sharing to Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. You can also use the embed code that YouTube provides to get the video on your website or blog. In addition, YouTube will provide a link to your video so you can send it out in an email to your list.

Be sure to consider other social media sites that accept video, such as Pinterest, Instagram (15-second limit), SlideShare, and other video hosting sites such as Viddler or Vimeo. The more you distribute your video, the better chance viewers have to find it and watch it.

Being consistent with video marketing
Video marketing, like any marketing, isn't a one-time event -- your video efforts need to be consistent and ongoing to get the most impact. Unless you want to succumb to the dreaded “one and done” syndrome, you'll want to create a plan for using video regularly in your business. Here are some ideas for maintaining your video momentum:

Create an “expert tips” series to share your expertise. Short, one- to two-minute how-to videos increase your credibility and expand your influence. You can record these all in one session, then post your tips video to YouTube once or twice per week. A tips series provides some consistency and gives you added visibility on the web.

If you have a blog, add a videoblog post every couple of weeks. The search engines love video, and your readers will be treated to a dynamic change of pace from your traditional, written blog posts. Spice up your regular blog posts with video to make your blog more engaging.

Get some face time. Use a personal video message or video email to go “face to face” with your clients or prospects. Sending a video greeting, birthday wishes or a thank-you video have much more impact than yet another regular email. Video email services like MailVu, Vsnap and Eyejot make it point-and-click easy to record your video.

Make it an event. Whether you’re promoting a webinar or launching a new product, nothing makes a bold statement like video. Adding video to your promotional plans makes your webinar or launch look more like a special event. It’s the best way to break through the online clutter and make sure your message gets noticed.

Go live. You can do a live webcast or offer a “Q&A” video session using free platforms such as Livestream, Ustream.tv or even Google Hangouts. These web resources make it easy to fire up your webcam and go live whenever you want. A live webcast is dynamic, engaging, and highly interactive.

However you decide to use video, it will put your marketing on overdrive and accelerate your results. The secret is consistency and strategy. Anyone can make one video. The real winners online will be those who make online video a regular part of their marketing efforts.

Source: www.entrepreneur.com
Written by
MITCH MEYERSON
CONTRIBUTOR
Speaker, Consultant, and Author

199
Advertising is quickly shifting away from textual-only content and moving toward video. And the growth of social-media platforms is partly responsible for this change, as these platforms are optimized for creating and sharing videos.

Now, it’s up to content creators to deliver quality ad content that can be consumed in this new age of video marketing.

However, many brands and influencers aren’t prepared for the incoming wave of video marketing. That’s why services like The Draw Shop now exist, to provide storytellers and companies with a platform to create easily digestible, authentic video content. They’re designed to make it simple to create top-notch explainer videos that will reach all sorts of customers, from individuals to startups to Fortune 500 companies.

Video marketing is taking over the content world. You don't want to miss out. Here are five things you should know so you can build a winning video-marketing campaign:

1. Creativity is key.
Consumers today are overloaded with content. As a marketer, you need to realize that your message is just one of thousands flooding into the average person’s life.

That’s why it’s crucial that you use creativity as a means of differentiation. Traditional advertising has saturated the marketplace, and consumers are sick and tired of seeing the same types of advertisements over and over.

You should look for alternatives that will make your message really pop, like those whiteboard videos from The Draw Shop. While what you say in your video is certainly important, a creative presentation will make it stand out from the crowd.

2. Easy to consume
It used to be a real challenge for consumers to watch videos, especially from their mobile devices. They had to wait for the content to load and buffer, long before they could even hear the message.

Luckily, with the advance of technology, those days of low-quality video are long gone. Today, consumers are able to stream high-quality HD content from their mobile devices. But, it’s also important to remember that neither they nor you have to create movie-length video for it to be effective.

“For your video content, stick to the sweet-spot of two-to-three minutes,” advises Alex Charfen, co-founder and CEO of Charfen, a training and membership organization helping visionary entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses. “Attention spans are getting shorter, but you still want to be able to provide value. So, if you can keep your message short and to the point -- and ideally stick to only one point -- you’ll have greater success connecting with your audience.”

Content creators should take full advantage of advanced consumer technology and deliver video that is easy to view, understand and consume.


3. Authentic

Another easy and actionable way to differentiate your message is to be 100 percent authentic and genuine. Most of the advertisements in today’s consumer ecosystem are jam-packed with blatant lies and hyperbole, often presented in bolded typefaces sprinkled with exclamation marks. You can stand out by taking a genuine approach. Your customers want content that they can relate to, specifically catering to their tastes.

“I’m a big fan of shooting when you’ve got something to say, not trying to make everything perfect,” says Charfen, “Your audience responds to your transparency and your real reactions to what’s going on in their world. So, when you have something to say, say it.”

Create something that people will want to watch; and be genuine. You’ll have a much easier time getting your message across.

4. Achieves high conversion rates

The great thing about users who watch your video is that if they are attracted to the content, they'll be very likely to click through and subscribe to your services or buy your product.

Animated marketing videos have an incredible effect on customers. This is because they transfer information in a way that makes it easier for consumers to understand, instead of confusing the customer with nonsensical ads. They provide you with the tools you need, to teach your customers why they need your service, and to do so in a nonaggressive way.

5. Optimized for sharing
One of the best ways to grow your audience is through social-media channels. Video and unique content is great, but they’re worthless if no one can share them with their friends.

That’s why you should invest in optimizing your content so it can be shared on both mobile and desktop. Make sure it runs on screens of all sizes so that no one is getting cut out of your potential viewer list. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, ensure your content goes viral through sharing.

Video is here to stay. Social platforms are making it ever easy to consume video content, and live-streaming continues to boom. To remain a major player in the digital world, recognize that video is no longer a luxury, but a requirement.

Source: www.entrepreneur.com
CALVIN WAYMAN
CONTRIBUTOR
Author, Speaker, Social Media Entrepreneur

200
From artificial intelligence, to precision agriculture, to the internet of things, emerging technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way food is consumed, handled and produced. But which technologies could most powerfully transform the lives of smallholder farmers? These, after all, are the people who produce as much as 80% of the food consumed in some parts of the developing world, yet make up a majority of the world’s undernourished population.

As CEO of the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), I endeavour to give voice particularly to smallholder farmers, who produce food on less than two hectares of land with limited assets. Here in Africa, over 80% of our farmers are smallholders and they produce 70% of the continent’s food.

These five technologies have the potential to connect smallholder farmers to new resources, information, knowledge and markets. The good news is that many of these innovations already exist; the challenge lies in scaling them up in ways that are inclusive, while navigating the inevitable challenges that will accompany their uptake.

1. Improved access to electricity to increase efficiency and reduce food loss

Electricity is hardly a new innovation, but there are still many people – almost two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africa, for example – who lack access. Even where energy infrastructure exists, cost can often be a barrier.

Access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy enables smallholders to improve efficiencies in land preparation, planting, irrigation and harvesting. It also allows them to use certain methods for storing, cooling and preserving goods. The ability of smallholder farmers to participate in global food systems depends on their access to electricity.

2. Increased internet connectivity to access information and knowledge to improve productivity on their farms

For many of us, the internet is a fundamental part of everyday life. But over 4 billion people – more than 55% of the world’s population – remain unconnected to the web.

The vast majority of smallholder farmers live in remote areas, where good, fast internet connectivity reaches less than 30% of the population. Women constitute almost half of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, yet they are less likely to access the internet than men in the same communities.

If this “digital divide” were closed, smallholder farmers could access information and knowledge-related to weather, rainfall or market demand, allowing them to grow and harvest food more efficiently. Timing has increasingly become a key source of competitiveness, and access to real-time information is crucial. To be truly transformational, internet access must be reliable, affordable and secure.

3. Mobile devices and platforms connect smallholder farmers to markets

Connectivity is not only about access to information – it is also about access to services. For example, mobile banking can give smallholder farmers access to formal financial services such as banking and loans, which they all too often lack. Take the example of Trringo: this smartphone app is being hailed the Uber for tractors thanks to how it has disrupted India’s farm equipment renting process.

Another example comes from my own organization, SACAU, where we have successfully piloted a digital aggregation platform akin to a “virtual cooperative”. Farmers can use the mobile platform for aggregation, and then leverage the volume to negotiate better prices with suppliers. This platform, designed by farmers and for farmers, also includes a host of other features. It has since been transformed into a digital highway through which services and products will flow between suppliers and farmers.

I know from the smallholder farmers we work with how important this is to them. Investing in a mobile phone as an agricultural tool has perhaps become the single most strategic decision by a smallholder farmer, and we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to facilitate such smart investments.

4. Unique identifiers improve data about farmers, for farmers

Unique identifiers are commonly used in the developed world. When you log on to Amazon or Netflix, the site knows who you are and makes personalized recommendations based on what you have purchased or viewed before. But data about smallholder farmers in developing economies is largely based on samples and extrapolations, and is thus unreliable or incomplete.

With unique identifiers, businesses could offer tailored services, policy-makers could make more informed decisions, and knowledge institutions could make better assessments of farmers’ circumstances.

For example, the eWallet system in Nigeria has allowed the government to identify and deliver input subsidies directly to farmers based on personal and biometric information provided by smallholder farmers. As with all innovations, this technology is not a silver bullet. For unique identifiers to improve farmers’ lives, data systems must be able to guarantee that data remains anonymous for the privacy and security of individuals.

5. Geospatial analysis to help farmers make informed decisions

Geospatial technologies can help both policy-makers and individual farmers assess, monitor and plan the use of their natural resources. If smallholder farmers had access to foundational technologies – like electricity, the internet and mobile phones – then they too could use geospatial analysis to make decisions about the management of their farms and other assets. In this realm, FAO and Google are partnering to make geospatial tracking and mapping products more accessible.

If geospatial technologies were easy to download and use, a smallholder in Colombia could discover the distance to the nearest river, or a farmer in Malawi could use sensors to more efficiently manage their farm.

Some of the technologies we’ve discussed here are hardly new, so it might seem odd to see them on a list of innovations that could transform the lives of smallholders. But for these farmers, access and adoption of technology is not automatic.

It is therefore our duty to ensure smallholder farmers are not left behind in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Strong digital infrastructure is crucial for smallholders to access and create tools that empower them to make decisions about their farms and businesses. As innovation evolves, let’s continue to question how the benefits of technology are being shared and how these benefits can nurture the smallholder farmers who feed the world.

Written by
Ishmael Sunga
Chief Executive Officer, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU)

201
The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social innovation defines social innovation as “the application of innovative, practical, sustainable, market-based approaches to benefit society in general, and low-income or under-served populations in particular”.

Traditionally associated with social entrepreneurs, this tool is increasingly being adopted by business. This is a trend to be welcomed, supported and replicated as companies - big or small, multinational or national - can contribute to taking the practice of social innovation to a significantly larger scale.

While philanthropy, social responsibility and corporate governance all already play a role, we will probably see more powerful contributions when companies embed social innovation into their core business strategies and operations. For the World Economic Forum’s new report on Social Innovation, we spoke to over 30 companies about their experiences of pursuing such initiatives within their business, and below are 5 key lessons:

1. Identify how social innovation can create business value

For companies, social innovation is not just a good thing to do. There is a business case for pursuing social innovation. Our interviews revealed a number of measurable business benefits – reduced costs, increased profits, strengthened supply chains, more innovation, new revenues, legitimised license to operate.

For some companies, it is a tool to respond to risks that will affect their business in the visible future. For example, as experts predict a shortage of cocoa by the year 2020, many chocolate manufacturers are working with social enterprises and NGOs to make cocoa farming more economically attractive to farmers, including smallholders.

For others, it is a “long tail” investment in developing business with future consumers, including low income populations currently not served by their products or services. Micro-insurance products, LED lamps, micro-nutrient fortified food products, cashless payment systems, affordable health devices – companies are exploring a range of innovation opportunities. Social innovation can also be a means to build relationships with local governments or strengthen their “license to operate” in society. While specific opportunities and benefits will depend on the company, its core assets and capabilities and the industries and geographies in which it operates, below are some generic opportunities and benefits.


2. Guide from the top; mobilise across the company

Not surprisingly, CEOs and senior leaders are best placed to chart the vision and mobilise a company’s resources. In the companies we studied, CEOs played critical roles - integrating social goals into the company’s vision and business plans, empowering and challenging their teams to come up with social innovation ideas and supporting intrapreneurs who came to them with great ideas.

The support of the CEO and senior management is critical to ensure that social innovation initiatives take centre stage and do not remain “one-off projects”, are closely linked to company strategy and are able to mobilise support from across the company.

At MasterCard, for instance, when CEO Ajay Banga made financial inclusion a top corporate priority, related targets were included in the company’s 10 strategic objectives. The company also made a public commitment to connect an additional 500 million people, including millions of small merchants, to the formal financial system by 2020. As a result, teams around the company started identifying new opportunities to use existing business capabilities to serve financially excluded customer segments. Senior leaders can also lead the way in implementation – when Royal DSM started its change management work on innovation and sustainability, CEO Feike Sijbesma and other board members assumed key roles in the process as Chairs or Sponsors of internal and external initiatives.

3. Support social innovation “intrapreneurs”

“If you are the CFO or HR head of a company, you know exactly who your peer is in another company. If you work on social innovation initiatives that is not the case,” said one of our interviewees. Social innovation ideas often struggle to find clear owners within a company. While we did hear stories where individuals were able to turn their ideas into a success, individual efforts can only go so far.

Not unlike other business ideas, successful initiatives managed to secure collaboration across the house – including from business units, innovation and strategy teams and corporate responsibility or corporate affairs teams. The key lesson for companies is to sensitise teams across the house to identify ideas, challenge them to make them viable and business relevant and support them to implement. Development programmes, competitions, awards, internal communication tools, innovation budgets, intrapreneurship workshops can all be tools to support “intrapreneurs”. SAB Miller for instance, created the Mackay Awards, an internal recognition for initiatives that grow the business while generating clear social and environmental benefits. Centrica took advantage of an internal talent development program to create a social innovation challenge for its high-potential professionals and subsequently implemented the winning proposal: IGNITE, United Kingdom’s first corporate impact fund investing in energy enterprises. IGNITE investees are improving access and lowering energy cost for communities by finding new ways of generating, supplying, using and saving energy.

4. Incubate ideas with patience and rigour

In many ways, coming up with social innovation ideas is the easy bit. What’s harder is converting them into feasible concepts, prototypes or business models and more importantly, scaling them to a point where the business benefits are clear and measurable. They pose unfamiliar design challenges. They often take longer to get to market and to reach profitability. And often, as recognised by Phillips, they can get stuck in conventional structures and information flows.

In 2013, the company found that its Africa sales teams were generating numerous inclusive innovation ideas aimed at marginalized communities including LED lights with solar panels and medical devices for villages with few resources. Though these ideas were passed on to business units, the latter were not picking it up as their existing retailers responded that they would be of no interest to their existing higher-income customers. In 2014, the company created a new structure - the Africa Innovation Hub, which went to market with a “pay-as-you-go” model that works outside of its existing distribution chain and rents out LED lights to low-income households for a daily fee (thus helping customers who struggle with a large upfront payment).

Like in the case of Phillips, social innovation initiatives may need new structures, specialised funding to support experimentation, and performance thresholds and timeframes that may be different from other ideas. At the same time, if they are seen as too “special”, it will be harder for executives to understand, implement and improve as part of their day-to-day business processes. It is important that the idea is relevant to front-line businesses and has the future potential to achieve performance metrics that are desired by business units. Experiment, evaluate performance through tailored metrics and do not hesitate to stop the ones that don’t show potential so you can spend more time supporting the ones that do.

5. Work with others, especially those closer to social issues

Almost every company we studied found partners to work with – civil society organisations, social entrepreneurs, academic organisations and local experts. Partners can bring in complementary skillsets, trusted relationships and a sense of what works and doesn’t in that local context. In 2014, Merck developed a new, reliable, easy-to-use method to help with the clinical management of HIV patients in partnership with the University of Yaoundé in Cameroon. The partners ran field tests for two years until the system could withstand extreme heat and humidity, was compatible with variable power systems, and was impeccably easy to use – product specifications that presented new challenges for Merck’s product developers. Companies should invest time to be close to the customers and partners when pursuing social innovation. Foster a culture of ongoing interactions with people from other sectors – the recently launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide an opportune framework for companies to explore such partnerships.

Social innovation, especially in an established company, may call for significant change management. While the logic, capabilities or processes needed may not be very different from “business as usual”, using them with the explicit intent to solve a societal challenge is.

202
Business Administration / What is the true business of business?
« on: March 01, 2017, 03:57:55 PM »
In an article in the New York Times in 1970, Milton Friedman wrote about “the social responsibility of business.” Having expounded his view that the only social responsibility of business was “to increase its profits” he described those who took a contrary view as “puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society” and their opinions as a “fundamentally subversive doctrine.”

Friedman’s views on monetary economics dominated the last quarter of the 20th Century and it would not be an exaggeration to say that in most countries of the developed world they are still a critical driver of economic policy.

His views on the social responsibility of corporations, however, appear to have fared less well. Today over 90% of major businesses have specific programs dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Most CEOs talk about their organisation’s commitment to a wide range of philanthropic, employee engagement and other benevolent activities at almost every possible opportunity.

The limits of altruism alone

While this development is undoubtedly a positive one it is also true that as Friedman also noted “the business of business is business”. CSR is a good thing as far as it goes but the greater opportunity for the business community is to find ways to leverage their networks, their capital, their people and their technology to help create practical, sustainable, market based approaches that help benefit society in general and low income or underserved populations in particular.

As long as CSR stays fundamentally altruistic in its motivation it is unlikely ever to be considered as being core to business and is unlikely ever to scale or to provide lasting solutions to critical social challenges.

Finding those practical, sustainable and market-based approaches is at the heart of Corporate Social Innovation. They should not be a distraction from the business of making money, but rather a complement to it. They are not an example of corporate altruism. They look at key questions of company strategy, such as how can we find new markets, develop new products and expand sales? How can we strengthen and increase the resiliency of our supply chains? How can we find new sources of talent? How can we leverage our access to capital? How can we forge new partnerships outside of our established networks to help us better reach a broader client base?

The greatest challenge for the modern CEO is not whether or not to try to use the company assets and resources to develop opportunities for social innovation. The evidence is overwhelming that all their key stakeholders see it as a key part of corporate stewardship. Talent, especially millennium talent, want to work at companies that care about social and environmental challenges, customers want to buy from those companies, governments want to create regulatory and tax structures that incentivise them, and even shareholders now recognise that building brands and minimising non-financial risk are critical contributors to maximising shareholder value. The key challenge is therefore not whether to embrace corporate social innovation but rather how to do it.

How to make it happen

The World Economic Forum’s new report “Social Innovation: A guide to achieving corporate and societal value” studies a range of different companies and focuses not on the why question but rather on the how. The results and case studies give a fascinating view of a whole range of real life examples of corporate social innovation. They address questions like how are opportunities identified? How should the organisation arrange itself to ensure success and increase the possibility of scale? What is the learning loop? How can success be measured? What role do partnerships play?


One of the most obvious ways of approaching CSI is to think more broadly about how companies leverage their access to capital. I have spent the last five years working in the UK Social Finance industry. I have seen first-hand how the creative use of investment capital can allow large companies to stimulate innovation that is both socially valuable and also highly profitable. They can invest in areas which are directly relevant for their day to day business. Like any good venture capitalist, they can also use core competencies, networks and people to increase the chances of financial success from their investees.

One great example is the Telefonica accelerator known as Wayra. Originally established to invest in innovative mobile or digital solutions that serve the company’s existing or future customer base the scheme was expanded in 2013 to develop the growth of socially innovative start-up ventures. Known as Wayra UnLtd the partnership offered seed funding, coaching and mentoring and perhaps most importantly access to Telefonica’s global network of more than 600 start-ups and 60 partnerships across 17 countries.

Solving a social problem was the key criteria for acceptance to the program. Investees have addressed key issues such as how do you improve road safety and reduce the biggest killer of young children in the UK, how do you help parents find the best local educational opportunities for their kids, how do you develop accessible technology for the blind and visually impaired. Following the initial support from Telefonica many investees have gone on to raise substantial amounts of incremental capital, the company has benefited from new ideas and new insights and in many cases their financials have outperformed those from the traditional commercial Wayra accelerator.

Centrica is another great example. In 2011 their then CEO challenged some of their high potential professionals to come up with ways of taking their traditional CSR activities to a higher and more strategic level. The result was the launch of IGNITE, a social investment fund focused on investing in energy enterprises which offer innovative approaches to the sourcing and generation, supply and servicing of power particularly to those who struggle with bills.

A third example is Barclays. In 2012 they launched the Social Innovation Facility to catalyse social innovation across the company’s different units. Recognising that it is sometimes difficult for individual business lines to prioritise social innovation the facility provides additional funding alongside each line of business to provide additional incentive to focus on ideas and innovation that provide social as well as financial value. The existence of the facility has allowed Barclays to support initiatives as diverse as removing financial barriers to healthcare access in Zambia, providing more support to financially disadvantaged students in the US and partnering with Grameen and Care International to provide easier access to mobile banking for communities in Uganda.

What all these examples illustrate is that whatever industry you compete in – telecommunications, energy, banking or any other – there exist opportunities for companies to leverage capital and expertise to make a difference. These are strategic opportunities not altruistic ones. They are not philanthropy. They are the investment of capital. The results are not just impacting the bottom lines of the company; they are impacting the lives of neediest in our communities.

So while Friedman may have been right when he said the business of business is business there are multiple different companies around the world demonstrating that that belief is not necessarily inconsistent with investing in Corporate Social Innovation. Indeed they are showing that this is not some “fundamentally subversive doctrine” but rather an approach to doing business that can satisfy both the commercial and social aspirations of all their stakeholders.

Written by
Nick O’Donohoe
World Economic Forum

203
Business Administration / Emotional intelligence: do you have it?
« on: March 01, 2017, 03:52:15 PM »
When emotional intelligence (EQ) first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into the broadly held assumption that IQ was the sole source of success.

Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as being the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. The connection is so strong that 90% of top performers have high emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.

Despite the significance of EQ, its intangible nature makes it very difficult to know how much you have and what you can do to improve if you’re lacking. You can always take a scientifically validated test, such as the one that comes with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book.

Unfortunately, quality (scientifically valid) EQ tests aren’t free. So, I’ve analyzed the data from the million-plus people TalentSmart has tested in order to identify the behaviors that are the hallmarks of a low EQ. These are the behaviors that you want to eliminate from your repertoire.

You get stressed easily. When you stuff your feelings, they quickly build into the uncomfortable sensations of tension, stress, and anxiety. Unaddressed emotions strain the mind and body. Your emotional intelligence skills help make stress more manageable by enabling you to spot and tackle tough situations before things escalate.

People who fail to use their emotional intelligence skills are more likely to turn to other, less effective means of managing their mood. They are twice as likely to experience anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and even thoughts of suicide.

You have difficulty asserting yourself. People with high EQs balance good manners, empathy, and kindness with the ability to assert themselves and establish boundaries. This tactful combination is ideal for handling conflict. When most people are crossed, they default to passive or aggressive behavior. Emotionally intelligent people remain balanced and assertive by steering themselves away from unfiltered emotional reactions. This enables them to neutralize difficult and toxic people without creating enemies.

You have a limited emotional vocabulary. All people experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur. Our research shows that only 36% of people can do this, which is problematic because unlabeled emotions often go misunderstood, which leads to irrational choices and counterproductive actions. People with high EQs master their emotions because they understand them, and they use an extensive vocabulary of feelings to do so. While many people might describe themselves as simply feeling “bad,” emotionally intelligent people can pinpoint whether they feel “irritable,” “frustrated,” “downtrodden,” or “anxious.” The more specific your word choice, the better insight you have into exactly how you are feeling, what caused it, and what you should do about it.

You make assumptions quickly and defend them vehemently. People who lack EQ form an opinion quickly and then succumb to confirmation bias, meaning they gather evidence that supports their opinion and ignore any evidence to the contrary. More often than not, they argue, ad nauseam, to support it. This is especially dangerous for leaders, as their under-thought-out ideas become the entire team’s strategy. Emotionally intelligent people let their thoughts marinate, because they know that initial reactions are driven by emotions. They give their thoughts time to develop and consider the possible consequences and counter-arguments. Then, they communicate their developed idea in the most effective way possible, taking into account the needs and opinions of their audience.

You hold grudges. The negative emotions that come with holding on to a grudge are actually a stress response. Just thinking about the event sends your body into fight-or-flight mode, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. When a threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival, but when a threat is ancient history, holding on to that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time. In fact, researchers at Emory University have shown that holding on to stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding on to a grudge means you’re holding on to stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs. Letting go of a grudge not only makes you feel better now but can also improve your health.

You don’t let go of mistakes. Emotionally intelligent people distance themselves from their mistakes, but they do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success. It takes refined self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. Dwelling too long on your mistakes makes you anxious and gun shy, while forgetting about them completely makes you bound to repeat them. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures into nuggets of improvement. This creates the tendency to get right back up every time you fall down.

You often feel misunderstood. When you lack emotional intelligence, it’s hard to understand how you come across to others. You feel misunderstood because you don’t deliver your message in a way that people can understand. Even with practice, emotionally intelligent people know that they don’t communicate every idea perfectly. They catch on when people don’t understand what they are saying, adjust their approach, and re-communicate their idea in a way that can be understood.

You don’t know your triggers. Everyone has triggers—situations and people that push their buttons and cause them to act impulsively. Emotionally intelligent people study their triggers and use this knowledge to sidestep situations and people before they get the best of them.

You don’t get angry. Emotional intelligence is not about being nice; it’s about managing your emotions to achieve the best possible outcomes. Sometimes this means showing people that you’re upset, sad, or frustrated. Constantly masking your emotions with happiness and positivity isn’t genuine or productive. Emotionally intelligent people employ negative and positive emotions intentionally in the appropriate situations.

You blame other people for how they make you feel. Emotions come from within. It’s tempting to attribute how you feel to the actions of others, but youmust take responsibility for your emotions. No one can make you feel anything that you don’t want to. Thinking otherwise only holds you back.

You’re easily offended. If you have a firm grasp of who you are, it’s difficult for someone to say or do something that gets your goat. Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident and open-minded, which create a pretty thick skin. You may even poke fun at yourself or let other people make jokes about you because you are able to mentally draw the line between humor and degradation.

Bringing It All Together

Unlike your IQ, your EQ is highly malleable. As you train your brain by repeatedly practicing new emotionally intelligent behaviors, it builds the pathways needed to make them into habits. As your brain reinforces the use of these new behaviors, the connections supporting old, destructive behaviors die off. Before long, you begin responding to your surroundings with emotional intelligence without even having to think about it.
Written by
Dr Travis Bradberry
World Economic Forum

204
Business & Entrepreneurship / OPPORTUNITIES FOR INVESTMENT IN AGRIBUSINESS
« on: February 27, 2017, 04:02:44 PM »
Bangladesh has been lauded by the World Bank's 2010 Report as being one of the top ten reformers, owing to substantive regulatory reforms and enhancing the investment climate in the country. With Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growing steadily by 6% per annum in the last decade, it has emerged as one of the promising countries to invest in South Asia. The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows and the country exports have grown progressively over the years. Agriculture is a key component of the Bangladesh economy with more than 47.5% of the population dependant on agriculture for livelihood. The country produces a wide range of crops, given its favourable climate and resources. Although, Bangladesh’s agriculture production and processing is gaining impetus,  the country is an importer of many essential agricultural commodities and  processed  food  products.  Progressive  agricultural  practices,  improved marketing technique and modern processing facilities would enable agriculture and the processing industry to improve the quality of food produced, expand production  levels  significantly  and  enhance  the  food  processing  sector. The Government of Bangladesh has identified agriculture as its thrust sector and provides wide range of unique incentives to encourage and protect investments and establish profitable agri-business in Bangladesh. It has been ranked by World Bank ahead of many South Asian countries for ‘starting a business’.

With   growing   GDP,   FDI   and   exports,   unique   policy   reforms,   favourable agro-climatic conditions, industrious workforce, competitive human resource and key geographic location near key markets like India and China, Bangladesh presents a profitable offering for setting up an agro-based business.

INVESTMENT INCENTIVES

BANGLADESH OFFERS COMPETITIVE FISCAL AND NON FISCAL INCENTIVES

• No FDI Cap-100% foreign equity is allowed (Except for defence, nuclear energy, currency and forest plantations)
• Tax Incentives
   Tax holidays: For 5-7 years (Location and industry dependent)
   Tax exemption on royalties and technical know how fees
   Tax exemption on capital gains from the transfer of shares of public limited companies
• Cash Incentives
   Electricity consumption special rebate of 20% to agro-processing sector including poultry
   Cash Incentives and export subsidies are granted on the FOB  value of selected exports products ranging from 5% to 20%
• Tari -free access to the European Union (through EU’s Generalized System of Preferences, GSP), Canada, Australia and Japan
• Accelerated Depreciation Allowance at the rate 50%, 30% and 20% in the 1st, 2nd and
3rd year of commercial production on cost of plant and machinery (Applicable for
industrial undertakings not enjoying  tax holidays)
• Agricultural and Rural Credit Policy and Programme of Bangladesh Bank states that
   All private banks will have to disburse at least 2.5 per cent of their total loan disbursement to the agriculture and rural sector
   Loan disbursement target in agriculture for all the state owned and private banks is USD
2 billion
   Maximum interest rate for agricultural term-loan is 13%
• Concessionary duty on imported capital machinery at 5% ad valorem on capital machinery. No import duty for 100% export oriented companies.
• Foreign Technicians- Income tax exemption for 3 years
• Local bank’s full working loans are available to foreign investors
• Foreigners employed in Bangladesh entitled to remit up to 50% of their salary
 
Industries eligible for tax holidays include
agro-processing textiles, jute goods, agri-input industry, agriculture machinery.

Bangladesh is a signatory to
• MIGA
• OPIC
• ICSID
• WIPO
 
• Foreigners employed in Bangladesh enjoy full repartriation of their saving and retirement benefits
• Portfolio investments in Bangladesh stock exchanges allowed by non-resident institution / investor
• Facilities for repatriation of invested capital, profits and dividends
• Special facilities and venture capital support will be provided to export-oriented industries under "Thrust sectors". According to industrial policy order 2010 issued by Ministry of Industries,
‘Agriculture’ has been identified as the Thrust sector
• International Agreements: Bangladesh has concluded bilateral agreements for avoidance of double taxation and investment treaties for promotion and protection of investment


FOOD PROCESSING
• The US$ 2.2 billion Food processing industry that is industry grew at an average 7.7 % per annum  between scal years 2004-05 and 2010-11.
• The beverage  industry more than doubled  during the same period to US $29 million, showing an average growth rate exceeding 8 % per annum.
• Opportunity for food processing
 The demand for processed foods and beverages is growing with growing middle class population of over 30 million.
 Government policies supporting agro and food processing industries.
 30-35% of wastage in agriculture produce, fruits and vegetables.
 Rice and Potato surplus production.

Opportunities of investment in Food processing
 
• Edible Oil
• Rice
• Wheat
• Sugarcane-Sugar and Confectionaries
• Potato- Chips, Flakes, Starch
• Fruits & Vegetables -Jams, Jellys, pickles, Canning, pulp, juices, Sauces and Ketchups
Spices- Processing and curing, Masala
 
Agri-input sector
• Seed
• Fertiliser
• Pesticide
• Irrigation
• Farm Machinery

Seed industry in Bangladesh is growing significantly due to crop diversification,Crops for Seed Industry realisation of better yields and incomes, better dealer and awareness. Also,  the  country  has  recently  ventured  into  GM  crops  and  has  tested  the performance of BT Brinjal. The scope for investments in seed sector with hybrid varieties having traits like higher yields, flood tolerance, drought tolerance etc is immense.
Crops for Seed Industry
Rice, Wheat, Maize ,Potato, Jute,Oilseeds, Vegetables ,Spice seeds.
Total Seed Requirement 1.25 million Tonnes,
Seed supply Government: 66% Private: 34%
Companies involved: 100
Registered Dealer: 18000
Seed industry Estimated to be more than US$ 500million
Growth in Seed demand since 2007
Maize- 77% Jute- 29% Vegetable- 67% Potato- 69%
Popular use of Farmer’s Seed & Open Pollinated Varieties



Fertiliser
The National Agriculture Policy envisages promotion of organic manures, bio fertilisers and composts
• Awareness campaign to promote Balanced Plant Nutrition is being extensively undertaken
• The annual fertiliser consump- tion of Bangladesh is about 3.2 million   tonnes.
• The production and supply of traditional fertilisers is regulated by government.

Opportunities for investment
•  Micronutrients
•  Bio fertilisers
•  Organic fertilisers
•  Vermiculture
•  Compost
Irrigation
The area under irrigation has significantly expanding from
3.45 million hectares in 2001-02 to 5.1 million hectares in
2012-13
• Government provides irrigation facilities to more than 0.5
million ha through deep tube wells, shallow tube wells floating pumps and low lift pumps as well as re-excavation of canals etc.
• Use of Mirco-irrigation techniques including drip & sprinkler irrigation are new and awareness is growing .

Opportunities for investment
•  Irrigation Pipes, Pumps
& Tubewells
•  Drip Irrigation
•  Sprinkler irrigation
Farm Machinery
Farm machinery is utilised mainly for tilling, ploughing, spraying threshing etc.
• The use of tractors, power tillers, threshers, weeders has increased rapidly.
• Mechanisation in Bangladesh has been a challenge with decreasing farm size from 0.81 ha during 1980’s to 0.61 ha. The energy available is 1.17 kW/ha.
• About 0.7 million power tillers, more than 35000 tractors and agri-machines like 14, 50,000 sprayers , 1,80,000 open drum threshers are available for use and hire testifies the huge market for farm machinery in Bangladesh (BARI).

POST HARVEST INFRASTRUCTURE
Cold chains

•  The cold chain is a temperature controlled supply chain that includes pre-cooling, cold storage and refrigerated transport.
•  Bangladesh has about 393 cold storages across the country having average capacity of 2500 tonnes with a capacity of 4 million tonnes of potatoes and potato seeds.
•  The capacity of refrigerated warehouse in the country stands to about 8 million cubic meters (‘Global Cold Storage
Capacity Report’ by International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses)
•  Almost all the cold storages in Bangladesh are primarily used for storing potatoes and are inadequate for storing high value items like fruits and vegetables.


Food Parks

•  A Food Park is a large cluster based facility to provide modern infrastructure for the food processing sector along the value chain from the farm to the market.
•  Includes cold storages, creation of processing infrastructure near the farm, transportation, logistics and centralized processing centres.
•  Such facility will provide food processors with cheaper, assured and better quality services, in turn reducing the post-harvest losses and creation of efficient supply chain

DAIRY PROCESSING

Milk production is one of the important economic activities, providing 3.6 million households with supplementary income.
Bangladesh requires approx. 12.8 million metric tons of milk; about 1 million ton of this demand is ful lled domestically
• The demand for milk and dairy products is growing by 10% per annum whereas the local production is expected to grow little over 7%.
• The per-capita milk consumption is considerably lower than neighbouring countries. It is therefore a potential industry for development of value chain in local markets.
• For modern dairy industry to take shape, investments are needed in diary clusters, e cient cold chains, processing and use of high quality inputs.

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN DAIRY
•  Cold Chains
•  Milk and Milk Powder
•  Processed products
 Ghee, Butter
 Cheese
 Whey
 Flavoured Milk
 Ice Creams
•  Cattle feed
AQUA

• Bangladesh has a 720 Km long coast line and total marine water area of 166,000 sq. km. Also, the country has more than
200 rivers.
• Brackish and freshwater aquaculture in Bangladesh is growing due to unique aqua-friendly landscape, climate and culture

Aqua sector is worth US$1.5bn
8% population directly engaged in  shing
Export earnings in 2009-10 were as much as US$ 437.40 million
190,000 registered shrimp farms mostly located in Khulna Division
Bangladesh exports shrimps to more than 40 countries all over the world

POULTRY

• Commercial poultry farming is patronised by private players by distributing commercial broilers and layer day old hybrid chicks.
• With about 130,000 farmers mainly small and medium farmers are engaged with flock size of 500 birds. Poultry clusters also exist in the country with Gazhipur and Savar districts being hubs of cluster poultry.
• It is estimated that poultry production is growing by 4% every year.
• The feed is major component of cost of production accounting for 65%. Special mills supply about half of the feed while farmers themselves mix the rest


 
 










205
When emotional intelligence first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into what many people had always assumed was the sole source of success—IQ.  Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack.

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. Emotional intelligence is made up of four core skills that pair up under two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence.

Personal competence comprises your self-awareness and self-management skills, which focus more on you individually than on your interactions with other people. Personal competence is your ability to stay aware of your emotions and manage your behavior and tendencies.

- Self-Awareness is your ability to accurately perceive your emotions and stay aware of them as they happen.


- Self-Management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and positively direct your behavior.
 
Social competence is made up of your social awareness and relationship management skills; social competence is your ability to understand other people’s moods, behavior, and motives in order to respond effectively and improve the quality of your relationships.

- Social Awareness is your ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is really going on.


- Relationship Management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions and the others’ emotions to manage interactions successfully.

Emotional Intelligence, IQ, and Personality Are Different

Emotional intelligence taps into a fundamental element of human behavior that is distinct from your intellect. There is no known connection between IQ and emotional intelligence; you simply can’t predict emotional intelligence based on how smart someone is. Intelligence is your ability to learn, and it’s the same at age 15 as it is at age 50. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. Although some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, you can develop high emotional intelligence even if you aren’t born with it.Personality is the final piece of the puzzle. It’s the stable “style” that defines each of us. Personality is the result of hard-wired preferences, such as the inclination toward introversion or extroversion. However, like IQ, personality can’t be used to predict emotional intelligence. Also like IQ, personality is stable over a lifetime and doesn’t change. IQ, emotional intelligence, and personality each cover unique ground and help to explain what makes a person tick.

Emotional Intelligence Predicts Performance

How much of an impact does emotional intelligence have on your professional success?  The short answer is: a lot! It’s a powerful way to focus your energy in one direction with a tremendous result. TalentSmart tested emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important
workplace skills, and found that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs.

Your emotional intelligence is the foundation for a host of critical skills—it impacts most everything you do and say each day.Of all the people we’ve studied at work, we've found that 90% of top performers are also high in emotional intelligence. On the flip side, just
20% of bottom performers are high in emotional intelligence. You can be a top performer without emotional intelligence, but the chances are slim.Naturally, people with a high degree of emotional intelligence make more money—an  average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence. The link between emotional intelligence and earnings is so direct that every point increase in emotional intelligence adds $1,300 to an annual salary. These findings hold true for people in all industries, at all levels, in every region of the world. We haven’t yet been able to find a job in which performance and pay aren’t tied closely to emotional intelligence.

You Can Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

The communication between your emotional and rational “brains” is the physical source of emotional intelligence. The pathway for emotional intelligence starts in the brain, at the spinal cord. Your primary senses enter here and must travel to the front of your brain before you can think rationally about your experience. However, first they travel through the limbic system, the place where emotions are generated. So, we have an emotional reaction to events before our rational mind is able to engage. Emotional intelligence requires effective communication between the rational and emotional centers of the brain.

 
Written by

Travis Bradberry, President, TalentSmart
World Economic Forum

207
Leadership & Teamwork / Emotional Intelligence
« on: January 27, 2017, 01:55:37 PM »


Emotional intelligence as a “touchy-feely” soft skill. The importance of characteristics like empathy and self-awareness is understood, sure. But intelligence and technical capability are seen as the real drivers of professional success. After all, a bit of coaching can help you navigate difficult conversations. And isn’t interpersonal friction simply part of organizational life?
But evidence suggests quite the opposite: that high emotional intelligence (EI) is a stronger predictor of success. In fact, high EI bolsters the hard skills, helping us think more creatively about how best to leverage our technical chops.


In fact, emotional intelligence—the ability to, for instance, understand your effect on others and manage yourself accordingly—accounts for nearly 90 percent of what moves people up the ladder when IQ and technical skills are roughly similar (see "What Makes a Leader" in the Harvard Business Review, January 2004).

Research has also demonstrated that emotional intelligence has a strong impact on organizational performance. Sanofi, the French pharmaceutical company, focused on the emotional intelligence skills of its sales force, which boosted annual performance by 12 percent (see the research by S. Jennings and B.R. Palmer in “Sales Performance Through Emotional Intelligence Development,” Organizations and People, 2007). After Motorola provided EI training for staff in a manufacturing plant, the productivity of more than 90 percent of those trained went up (Bruce Cryer, Rollin McCraty, and Doc Childre: “Pull the Plug on Stress,” Harvard Business Review, July 2003).

Emotional intelligence increases corporate performance for a number of reasons. But perhaps the most important is the ability of managers and leaders to inspire discretionary effort—the extent to which employees and team members go above and beyond the call of duty.

The core of high EI is self-awareness: if you don't understand your own motivations and behaviors, it's nearly impossible to develop an understanding of others. A lack of self-awareness can also thwart your ability to think rationally and apply technical capabilities.
Individuals are much more inclined to go the extra mile when asked by an empathetic person they respect and admire. Although discretionary effort isn’t endless, managers with low emotional intelligence will have much less to draw on. If an organization has a cadre of emotionally intelligent leaders, such discretionary efforts multiply.

THE BEDROCK OF EI: SELF-AWARENESS

The ability to be an emotionally intelligent leader is based on 19 competencies in four areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

The core of high EI is self-awareness: if you don't understand your own motivations and behaviors, it's nearly impossible to develop an understanding of others. A lack of self-awareness can also thwart your ability to think rationally and apply technical capabilities.

Two parts of the brain are constantly fighting for control. The neocortex is the cognitive center, where our IQ and working memory reside. On average, in a normal emotional state, the neocortex can process a factorial of four variables, which is 24 possible interrelationships.

3 Effective Strategies to Manage Workplace Conflict
Learn to improve dynamics for yourself and your team—and together you can deliver the results you strive for.

Want to Be a Stronger Leader? Challenge Your Assumptions

The key to becoming a successful leader lies in asking a lot of questions.
Adeptly handling multiple variables is central to performing important tasks such as developing a strategy, improving a complicated process, setting priorities, understanding consequences, and gleaning keen insights from data and information.
The amygdala is the feeling side of the brain, our emotional center. As the part of our brain concerned with our survival, it responds 100 times faster than the neocortex. Such responsiveness is particularly useful when confronted with a potentially threatening situation.

But because it can be triggered by both real and perceived threats, we can fall into the trap of imagining the worst before we have all the facts. How many of us, when faced with a rumor of layoffs, are quick to envision the worst-case scenario before we learn the truth?

WHEN EMOTIONS HIJACK OUR ABILITY TO REASON
When the feeling side or our brain is triggered, it hijacks our cognitive system. With the slightest provocation, our ability to apply reason and logic can drop by 75 percent. Thus, instead of handling 24 interrelationships, we may suddenly be able to cope with only two. We may start to see only in black and white, in binary frameworks like yes or no, right or wrong, and win or lose.

Using questions instead of statements can also help managers and leaders avoid triggering emotional hijacks in others. Our feeling mind wants to sense that we are included, autonomous, competent, valued, respected, and safe.
Throughout a work day, there are numerous emotional triggers: an e-mail from a superior saying “We need to talk,” a comment made by a colleague with a hidden agenda, even a funny look from someone important in the office.

It can take us nearly 20 minutes to recover from an emotional encounter. If the feelings are frequently retriggered, we can end up spending significant amounts of time with little ability to leverage our technical capability and inherent intelligence.

FOCUS ON UNDERSTANDING RATHER THAN JUDGMENT
So how can we speed up our recovery? It’s important to stop and turn our attention from the emotional to the physical. Physical activity such as taking a walk or going for a drink of water reduces the amount of adrenaline and cortisol flowing through the body.

Once the body is calmed physically, we need to seek information and determine if the threat is real and, if so, what we can do to address it. Ask yourself whether an issue will matter in six minutes, six days, six weeks, six months, or six years. Questions engage your curiosity—your neocortex. Statements, however, imply judgment, triggering the feeling side of the brain.

If someone is habitually late to meetings, for example, asking yourself why that is the case will lead to a more productive conversation about the issue than stewing on the statement: “I can’t stand the fact that he is always late.”

It is easy to consign emotional intelligence to the periphery of work life and concentrate on smarts and know-how. However, such a focus will likely hamper success.
Using questions instead of statements can also help managers avoid triggering emotional hijacks in others. Our feeling mind wants to sense that we are included, autonomous, competent, valued, respected, and safe. Something as simple as asking, “Can you tell me more about how you came to that conclusion?” or “What information would be helpful for you?” is far less likely to trigger an emotional hijack than statements such as, “I don’t completely agree” or “I’m worried about what is happening.”

It is easy to consign emotional intelligence to the periphery of work life and concentrate on smarts and know-how. But such a focus will likely hamper success. It can leave us without the most important differentiator for our personal brands. And an inability to manage ourselves severely constrains our capacity to use hard skills such as the technical competence that we have worked so hard to master.

By the same token, a command of emotional intelligence is a proven differentiator in the competitive climb up the corporate ladder. By inspiring others, emotionally intelligent leaders can ignite discretionary effort on the part of their teams to boost productivity and spur higher levels of employee engagement that comes from a strong company morale

https://www.extension.harvard.edu/professional-development/blog/emotional-intelligence-no-soft-skill

208
If only half of startups survive more than five years and only one-third make it to 10, what’s the one thing you could do to ensure your company is sustainable? The answer is to create a growth strategy for your business, of course.

A growth strategy involves more than simply envisioning long-term success. If you don’t have a tangible plan, you’re actually losing business -- or you’re increasing the chance of losing business to competitors.

Related: 5 Core Lessons for Expanding Your Growing Company

The key with any growth strategy is to be deliberate. Figure out the rate-limiting step in your growth, and pour as much fuel on the fire as possible. But for this to be beneficial, you need to take the following steps:

1. Establish a value proposition.
For your business to sustain long-term growth, you must understand what sets it apart from the competition. Identify why customers come to you for a product or service. What makes you relevant, differentiated and credible? Use your answer to explain to other consumers why they should do business with you.

For example, some companies compete on “authority” -- Whole Foods Market is the definitive place to buy healthy, organic foods. Others, such as Walmart, compete on price. Figure out what special benefit only you can provide, and forget everything else. If you stray from this proposition, you’ll only run the risk of devaluing your business.

2. Identify your ideal customer.
You got into business to solve a problem for a certain audience. Who is that audience? Is that audience your ideal customer? If not, who are you serving? Nail down your ideal customer, and revert back to this audience as you adjust business to stimulate growth.

3. Define your key indicators.
Changes must be measurable. If you’re unable to measure a change, you have no way of knowing whether it’s effective. Identify which key indicators affect the growth of your business, then dedicate time and money to those areas. Also, A/B test properly -- making changes over time and comparing historical and current results isn’t valid.

4. Verify your revenue streams.
What are your current revenue streams? What revenue streams could you add to make your business more profitable? Once you identify the potential for new revenue streams, ask yourself if they’re sustainable in the long run. Some great ideas or cool products don’t necessarily have revenue streams attached. Be careful to isolate and understand the difference.

Related: 5 Mistakes Successful Entrepreneurs Don't Make Twice

5. Look to your competition.
No matter your industry, your competition is likely excelling at something that your company is struggling with. Look toward similar businesses that are growing in new, unique ways to inform your growth strategy. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Ask yourself why your competitors have made alternate choices. Are they wrong? Or are your businesses positioned differently? The assumption that you’re smarter is rarely correct.

6. Focus on your strengths.
Sometimes, focusing on your strengths -- rather than trying to improve your weaknesses -- can help you establish growth strategies. Reorient the playing field to suit your strengths, and build upon them to grow your business.

7. Invest in talent.
Your employees have direct contact with your customers, so you need to hire people who are motivated and inspired by your company’s value proposition. Be cheap with office furniture, marketing budgets and holiday parties. Hire few employees, but pay them a ton. The best ones will usually stick around if you need to cut back their compensation during a slow period.

Developing a growth strategy isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. In fact, due to changing market conditions, making strategic decisions based on someone else’s successes would be foolish. That’s not to say that you can’t learn from another company, but blindly implementing a cookie-cutter plan won’t create sustainable growth.

You need to adapt your plan to smooth out your business’s inefficiencies, refine its strengths and better suit your customers -- who could be completely different than those from a vague, one-size-fits-all strategy.

Your company’s data should lend itself to all your strategic decisions. Specifically, you can use the data from your key indicators and revenue streams to create a personalized growth plan. That way, you’ll better understand your business and your customers’ nuances, which will naturally lead to growth.

A one-size-fits-all strategy implies vague indicators. But a specific plan is a successful plan. When you tailor your growth strategy to your business and customers, you’ll keep your customers happy and fulfill their wants and needs, which will keep them coming back.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240853

209
Business & Entrepreneurship / Content Strategies for Customer Engagement
« on: January 27, 2017, 01:21:27 PM »
The most fundamental modern-marketing skill is copywriting. Content marketing has, therefore, become a key business strategy in 2016 and will continue to be so in 2017. This post will give you a closer look into how you can use content to grow your business.

It has never been easier for brands and customers to interact and engage with one another. This heightened access that brands have to their customers (and vice versa) would make you think that companies are selling more than ever before. But most are not skipping, hopping and jumping their way to the bank. Why?

As a result of this hyper-connected world we live in, customers are no longer interested in being sold to. Instead, they want to engage with their favorite brands and experience their respective brand culture in ways that weren’t previously possible.

Achieving this level of engagement with customers requires a content strategy that is built upon a foundation of obsessing over them and imparting the greatest value to them. This value is not dollars and cents; it is not offering them the best deals, but rather the best experience, whether that is through creating a superb end-to-end customer journey, helpful and insightful blog content, strong customer support or other means.

You are going the extra mile and providing them with experiences that move the customer-brand relationship beyond simply buyer and seller. In fact, 38 percent of millennial consumers report that they are more loyal to brands that focus more on the consumer than the brand itself. In other words, you aren’t trying to extract revenue or get them to buy; you are just connecting and communicating with them as a brand.

Customer engagement creates revenue without direct sell


Again, customer engagement is not about directly extracting revenue. But before you go jumping ship with the notion that your company cannot afford to invest in a strategy that does not create revenue, consider a few things first.

Perhaps the most compelling case for why businesses need to be immediately concerned with developing a content strategy to bolster their customer engagement (assuming they do not already have one) is a statistic offered by a recent study by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. This study found that approximately 80 percent of consumers look for companies that offer the best customer service, before looking at the price or quality of that company’s goods and services. In order to offer quality service, you have to engage with your customers.  Hence the need for a content strategy that actually makes the customer feel like they are engaging with the brand and those who represent it. 

The key to developing this sense of loyalty really boils down to first impressions. Statistics show that 48 percent of consumers base loyalty on first impressions. So, you need to make sure that you are offering a solid first impression, and in a digital world, you do this with engaging content. Again, quality engagement with potential customers will offer the customers that sense of assurance they desire.

A content strategy that encourages customer engagement will benefit you, because consumers who hold you in a higher regard are willing to pay more than they typically would for a product, because they feel personally connected to your brand. That connection breeds loyalty-regardless of price.

While this may seem backwards from the traditional school of thought that price and quality trumps all, this new customer-centric attitude makes a lot of sense. In fact, studies show that humanized brands have considerably superior price elasticity than their non-humanized competitors. From a consumer point of view, wouldn’t you rather buy from a friend or trusted source over one of their competitors, even if that meant spending a little more? While consumers are far from thinking of their preferred brands as “friends,” there is certainly something to be said about the brands that are able to humanize themselves and connect to consumers on a personal and social level.

This type of connection allows the consumer to feel that the brand understands their individual needs, wants and desires. When a customer can feel valuable, despite just being one in a sea of many, they are going to remain a loyal customer. And, in the end, it is your most loyal customers that will become your greatest source of revenue.

Engaging content strategies for brands


Demonstrating your value to customers and engaging with them in a way that resonates can be difficult. While brands like Nike, Forever 21, Craftsman and many others are easily relatable to consumers and have a fun time engaging with their audiences, other brands don’t have it as easy.

If your company is much more conservative or deals strictly in the B2B realm, then creating “fun” content is probably not what you are after. However, that doesn’t mean your company isn’t capable of engaging and expressing value to your target audiences.

To help get your creative wheels turning, here are some ways you can immediately begin boosting your customer engagement through content creation.

1. Develop a brand identity and personality
Chances are, no matter how seemingly unengaging and drab your business appears, there is someone in your ranks that thinks the opposite. This natural communicator always remains positive and is passionately involved in the future success of the organization. While their over-enthusiastic nature can sometimes be a distraction, harnessing that attitude and putting it towards customer engagement can produce great results.

Not only are you creating an outlet for this high-spirited individual (and every company has at least one of these people) to share his or her passion and positive energy, but you are also grooming him or her to become a thought leader for your company and brand.

This puts a trusted face and voice at the front of your customer engagement platform, which helps humanize your brand and make it more relatable and personal to audiences.

It is also likely that they will be more than happy to have the opportunity to create content for the company. Common ways to develop your thought leader’s voice and recognition is through regularly scheduled blog posts on the website. Alternatively, they can guest blog on other industry-focused sites. This is especially advantageous for B2B companies.

Video blogging is a particularly strong content strategy towards humanizing a business and is quickly becoming more popular. In a recent study about the future of branding, reports show that 53 percent of consumers are now expecting the instant gratification provided by video. Other strategies to further help cultivate this thought leader could be organizing webinars, public speaking opportunities and publishing e-books.

2. Create engaging and valuable social media content
The tactics that businesses use to engage on social media channels have become more sophisticated and more creative. This is largely due to social media no longer being looked at as a phenomenon or passing trend, but as a vital component of the marketing mix.

Today’s social media content has to achieve a high level of engagement, while also providing some type of value. Again, value doesn’t always mean offering your target audiences deals and savings; value can also be obtained in other ways. Even a humorous tweet imparts some value to viewers; it gives them a laugh and something they can share with others.

And humor isn’t the only way to impart value to your customers. If your brand is more conservative and being entertaining isn’t going to resonate with customers, be educational. A lot of organizations have found that producing content that helps audiences understand new trends, complex industry topics and the company’s products is an ideal content strategy for customer engagement. It helps a business stand out as a great source of expert industry knowledge. Posting How-To videos, guides and informational blog articles on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube allows you to demonstrate tremendous value to customers, while engaging with them.

Again, there is a large percentage of the population that prefers watching to reading.  If you want to engage those customers who are not interested in sitting down and reading a blog post (especially when it’s educational and not entertaining), videos are one way to reach this crowd. Just look at TED talks. Businesses are beginning to see the value in this educational and informative way of connecting with consumers. In fact, in May of 2016, 69 percent of companies reported that they’ve increased their video marketing budget because they are seeing the value in video marketing.

3. Understand the ideal channels and content for your posts
This point is especially important for social media content. When you begin planning and creating the editorial calendar of your engaging content strategy, it is important to consider not only which channels your target audiences are on, but which pieces of content are best used on each channel.

The reason this is particularly difficult for social media content is because there are so many different social media channels to begin with. If a single customer follows you on several accounts and you post the identical content on each, the oversaturation could have a negative impact on that customer’s experience with your brand.

That said, you can always repurpose content later down the road. For example, you can pull a few key lines from an informative blog post and turn them into an engaging, valuable tweet or Facebook post. Or, turn what was once a seminar into a series of YouTube vlogs (video blogs).

Resurrecting old content and giving it a fresh spin is a great way to get people to engage with content they may already have been exposed to previously.  As a matter of fact, 63 percent of industry experts acknowledge that this strategy is both an effective and affordable way of creating appealing content. This is also extra advantageous if you are a small business or lack the time or other resources necessary to continuously produce fresh content.

Remember, great content will continue to be engaging and valuable to consumers even when you reuse it.

Conclusion
Your content strategy can accomplish many things, but customer engagement should always be at the top of that list. Readily, you may think of engagement as simply getting consumers to act (clicking, buying, subscribing) and, on some level, it is. After all, if the consumer doesn’t click on your video, or blog article link, then you really haven’t engaged them.

That said, however, the overarching mission for your content strategy should be providing an experience to customers. You can achieve this by humanizing your brand with videos, by utilizing the right social media channels, and by offering valuable and engaging content to your consumers. Ultimately, by interacting you are forging a relationship with your customers that will keep them loyal to you. As we all know, customer acquisition is five times more expensive than customer retention. So you need to cater to their changing needs.

When you are able to deliver on this type of experience for your target audiences, you ultimately generate a more loyal customer base that will be more likely to choose you over competitors. Sometimes, this preference is solely because they like ‘you’ more, or rather the cultivated brand persona you project for your company
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/288239

210
Business & Entrepreneurship / Content Strategies for Customer Engagement
« on: January 27, 2017, 01:19:38 PM »
The most fundamental modern-marketing skill is copywriting. Content marketing has, therefore, become a key business strategy in 2016 and will continue to be so in 2017. This post will give you a closer look into how you can use content to grow your business.

It has never been easier for brands and customers to interact and engage with one another. This heightened access that brands have to their customers (and vice versa) would make you think that companies are selling more than ever before. But most are not skipping, hopping and jumping their way to the bank. Why?

As a result of this hyper-connected world we live in, customers are no longer interested in being sold to. Instead, they want to engage with their favorite brands and experience their respective brand culture in ways that weren’t previously possible.

Achieving this level of engagement with customers requires a content strategy that is built upon a foundation of obsessing over them and imparting the greatest value to them. This value is not dollars and cents; it is not offering them the best deals, but rather the best experience, whether that is through creating a superb end-to-end customer journey, helpful and insightful blog content, strong customer support or other means.

You are going the extra mile and providing them with experiences that move the customer-brand relationship beyond simply buyer and seller. In fact, 38 percent of millennial consumers report that they are more loyal to brands that focus more on the consumer than the brand itself. In other words, you aren’t trying to extract revenue or get them to buy; you are just connecting and communicating with them as a brand.

Customer engagement creates revenue without direct sell


Again, customer engagement is not about directly extracting revenue. But before you go jumping ship with the notion that your company cannot afford to invest in a strategy that does not create revenue, consider a few things first.

Perhaps the most compelling case for why businesses need to be immediately concerned with developing a content strategy to bolster their customer engagement (assuming they do not already have one) is a statistic offered by a recent study by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. This study found that approximately 80 percent of consumers look for companies that offer the best customer service, before looking at the price or quality of that company’s goods and services. In order to offer quality service, you have to engage with your customers.  Hence the need for a content strategy that actually makes the customer feel like they are engaging with the brand and those who represent it. 

The key to developing this sense of loyalty really boils down to first impressions. Statistics show that 48 percent of consumers base loyalty on first impressions. So, you need to make sure that you are offering a solid first impression, and in a digital world, you do this with engaging content. Again, quality engagement with potential customers will offer the customers that sense of assurance they desire.

A content strategy that encourages customer engagement will benefit you, because consumers who hold you in a higher regard are willing to pay more than they typically would for a product, because they feel personally connected to your brand. That connection breeds loyalty-regardless of price.

While this may seem backwards from the traditional school of thought that price and quality trumps all, this new customer-centric attitude makes a lot of sense. In fact, studies show that humanized brands have considerably superior price elasticity than their non-humanized competitors. From a consumer point of view, wouldn’t you rather buy from a friend or trusted source over one of their competitors, even if that meant spending a little more? While consumers are far from thinking of their preferred brands as “friends,” there is certainly something to be said about the brands that are able to humanize themselves and connect to consumers on a personal and social level.

This type of connection allows the consumer to feel that the brand understands their individual needs, wants and desires. When a customer can feel valuable, despite just being one in a sea of many, they are going to remain a loyal customer. And, in the end, it is your most loyal customers that will become your greatest source of revenue.

Engaging content strategies for brands


Demonstrating your value to customers and engaging with them in a way that resonates can be difficult. While brands like Nike, Forever 21, Craftsman and many others are easily relatable to consumers and have a fun time engaging with their audiences, other brands don’t have it as easy.

If your company is much more conservative or deals strictly in the B2B realm, then creating “fun” content is probably not what you are after. However, that doesn’t mean your company isn’t capable of engaging and expressing value to your target audiences.

To help get your creative wheels turning, here are some ways you can immediately begin boosting your customer engagement through content creation.

1. Develop a brand identity and personality
Chances are, no matter how seemingly unengaging and drab your business appears, there is someone in your ranks that thinks the opposite. This natural communicator always remains positive and is passionately involved in the future success of the organization. While their over-enthusiastic nature can sometimes be a distraction, harnessing that attitude and putting it towards customer engagement can produce great results.

Not only are you creating an outlet for this high-spirited individual (and every company has at least one of these people) to share his or her passion and positive energy, but you are also grooming him or her to become a thought leader for your company and brand.

This puts a trusted face and voice at the front of your customer engagement platform, which helps humanize your brand and make it more relatable and personal to audiences.

It is also likely that they will be more than happy to have the opportunity to create content for the company. Common ways to develop your thought leader’s voice and recognition is through regularly scheduled blog posts on the website. Alternatively, they can guest blog on other industry-focused sites. This is especially advantageous for B2B companies.

Video blogging is a particularly strong content strategy towards humanizing a business and is quickly becoming more popular. In a recent study about the future of branding, reports show that 53 percent of consumers are now expecting the instant gratification provided by video. Other strategies to further help cultivate this thought leader could be organizing webinars, public speaking opportunities and publishing e-books.

2. Create engaging and valuable social media content
The tactics that businesses use to engage on social media channels have become more sophisticated and more creative. This is largely due to social media no longer being looked at as a phenomenon or passing trend, but as a vital component of the marketing mix.

Today’s social media content has to achieve a high level of engagement, while also providing some type of value. Again, value doesn’t always mean offering your target audiences deals and savings; value can also be obtained in other ways. Even a humorous tweet imparts some value to viewers; it gives them a laugh and something they can share with others.

And humor isn’t the only way to impart value to your customers. If your brand is more conservative and being entertaining isn’t going to resonate with customers, be educational. A lot of organizations have found that producing content that helps audiences understand new trends, complex industry topics and the company’s products is an ideal content strategy for customer engagement. It helps a business stand out as a great source of expert industry knowledge. Posting How-To videos, guides and informational blog articles on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube allows you to demonstrate tremendous value to customers, while engaging with them.

Again, there is a large percentage of the population that prefers watching to reading.  If you want to engage those customers who are not interested in sitting down and reading a blog post (especially when it’s educational and not entertaining), videos are one way to reach this crowd. Just look at TED talks. Businesses are beginning to see the value in this educational and informative way of connecting with consumers. In fact, in May of 2016, 69 percent of companies reported that they’ve increased their video marketing budget because they are seeing the value in video marketing.

3. Understand the ideal channels and content for your posts
This point is especially important for social media content. When you begin planning and creating the editorial calendar of your engaging content strategy, it is important to consider not only which channels your target audiences are on, but which pieces of content are best used on each channel.

The reason this is particularly difficult for social media content is because there are so many different social media channels to begin with. If a single customer follows you on several accounts and you post the identical content on each, the oversaturation could have a negative impact on that customer’s experience with your brand.

That said, you can always repurpose content later down the road. For example, you can pull a few key lines from an informative blog post and turn them into an engaging, valuable tweet or Facebook post. Or, turn what was once a seminar into a series of YouTube vlogs (video blogs).

Resurrecting old content and giving it a fresh spin is a great way to get people to engage with content they may already have been exposed to previously.  As a matter of fact, 63 percent of industry experts acknowledge that this strategy is both an effective and affordable way of creating appealing content. This is also extra advantageous if you are a small business or lack the time or other resources necessary to continuously produce fresh content.

Remember, great content will continue to be engaging and valuable to consumers even when you reuse it.

Conclusion
Your content strategy can accomplish many things, but customer engagement should always be at the top of that list. Readily, you may think of engagement as simply getting consumers to act (clicking, buying, subscribing) and, on some level, it is. After all, if the consumer doesn’t click on your video, or blog article link, then you really haven’t engaged them.

That said, however, the overarching mission for your content strategy should be providing an experience to customers. You can achieve this by humanizing your brand with videos, by utilizing the right social media channels, and by offering valuable and engaging content to your consumers. Ultimately, by interacting you are forging a relationship with your customers that will keep them loyal to you. As we all know, customer acquisition is five times more expensive than customer retention. So you need to cater to their changing needs.

When you are able to deliver on this type of experience for your target audiences, you ultimately generate a more loyal customer base that will be more likely to choose you over competitors. Sometimes, this preference is solely because they like ‘you’ more, or rather the cultivated brand persona you project for your company.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/288239

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