Strategic planning

Couldn’t have put it better myself.  Here at watchmethink we’re all about making things simpler, about getting things done, not just talking about them, about making it easier to understand your customer, easier to get at insight about your customer, easier to digest this insight, making it fun to digest this insight. Accessible, simple, insight.

That you can DO things with.

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Great people

Where are you all?

Small people. Not interested

Average people. What things? We definitely want to talk to you.

Great people. You will want to be with us. Because if you’ll talk about them, we’ll listen to them, and make sure the right people are listening too.

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What consumers want

The title of a piece by the team at Made by Many. So many think things to quote from this one. Firstly, ‘what I do know is that in agency-land ‘customer focus’ is too often merely rhetoric. Sometimes it’s not even known who the real customers are (!).’

If this is true, and we believe it is, then it’s great news for watchmethink. This is the who we plan to satisfy, this is who we plan to help.

I’m shamelessly borrowed the sketch that Made by Many sketched showing where they see ‘customer obsession’ sitting in the whole development process. They say ‘The problem is the relative absence of customer obsession. Sure it’s occasionally present in the creative process, and generally likely to be somewhere in a good product development process, but neither focuses squarely on the question of ‘what customers want?’. Instead it tends to get danced around.’

Watch out for watchmethink…

Maybe we should speak to YCombinator and get some funding so we can get one of their t-shirts which read “I built something people want.” Because that’s exactly what we are doing, and by doing so, enabling our clients to do that as well.

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The importance of global

We’ve heard that before. But it’s going to be even more important in the next decade, according to Niklas Zennstrom (co-founder Skype, recently sold for $3.1bn), in the most recent edition of Wired magazine. Zennstrom (who invests in almost 30 other start ups through his London based Atomico fund (which by the way recently raised $165m – he’s good isn’t he?) says ‘if you think globally from the start you’re better off’.

Playfish‘s Kristian Segerstrale adds to this by pointing to the advantage of a London (though one assumes this is more ‘non-US’) based start up being that they have to think globally from the start because the UK market ‘simply isn’t big enough’. He adds ‘these days it doesn’t matter for consumer internet firms where you are physically’.

The US has a great tradition of investing early in start ups, instead of offering up the statement ‘come back to us when you’ve got a million in revenue’. Something Europe could learn from? Combine that with the ‘forced global’ approach and that has to put Europe at a massive competitive advantage. As one entrepreneur in the Wired article puts it, ‘a million in revenue doesn’t sound like a start up to me’.

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Brand communities

Over at we are social, Nathan McDonald has been allowed to reproduce a piece he wrote on Brand Communities for Contagious Magazine. He says that ideas from these brand communities ‘can contribute to the evolution and innovation of products or simply be a way to test new features, flavours or functionality’.

It’s an interesting area – extremely interesting. The question is, where will the this stop? It’s unlikely we’ll reach a point when brand (or product) communities take over the direction and development of the brand (or product). Brand development is of course different to product development and whilst the latter can involve communities heavily, the former has more complexity.

But they are the ultimate brand ambassadors, the users, the consumers, the people that live that brand that companies spend so much money trying to research and understand.

With so much unregulated power being passed back to the communities, that will only (you’d think) become more powerful with time, what’s next? Companies must be listening  (they always have been) but they’re getting them more listening posts (see what I did there?). They can’t control what gets written, what videos get made, what ideas get the most support, but they can use them.

In the long run, correctly harnessed, could this actually save companies money by reducing the need to invest in long term innovation and ideation programmes?

How much control can, should or will be given?

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Cultivate relationships, not transactions

Over at the complete innovator, a fantastic site where they consistently come up with high quality editorial, they recently published a piece on secrets to corporate authenticity. It gives a real insight into how companies should operate. For a business in its infancy (as watchmethink is) this is a ‘must read’ piece.

For us here at watchmethink, we’re about to take points 4 and 5 to the extreme.

Point 4 – be transparent. Treat your social world as if they’re an integral part of your company. Let them know early when good news is underway, and apologize early when you screw up.  Open up to your community and they’ll reward you with understanding, forgiveness, and loyalty.

Point 5 – cultivate relationships, not transactions – treat the communities you interact with as if they were integral partners in your company’s success and not just simply a transaction source. Care about them, ensure they get value out of the relationship then have with you, and make sure the flow of information and value goes both ways.

Our focus is on making our community our company… and not just via lip service (which is so often the case), but genuinely. They will feel part of the company, they will feel part of a tribe and as such their interaction with us will be a true partnership.

More on this later, but our set up combines all the facets of community that everyone has been reading about for months – we’ve acted upon it, and we’re hoping to create a period of change and huge excitement as we prepare to take this to market for 2011.

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Don’t assume the obvious

Great post over at futurelab about what yogurt can teach marketers. In it they assess what part of the consumption of a yogurt is most engaging to the brain. Surprisingly (or not if you consider how enjoyable it is opening a present) it’s the opening of the lid that engages the most.

They make an interesting point ‘product marketers shouldn’t assume that the obvious product characteristics are the only important ones’. This couldn’t be more true. There are many ways that people can assess the importance of product characteristics – the most obvious is observation. Seeing your consumer consume. You might learn something.

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