Posts Tagged ‘strategy’



3 Questions You Should Answer Before Launching a Website

“We have a technology problem.” Words I often hear from a client or potential client. While that might be a valid concern, most of the time it’s not the technology problem that’s causing the issue, but a communication one. My company, The A Group, has a technology division where we have developed a sophisticated platform for media-rich tools as well as a powerful and easy-to-use content management system. While I’m happy to sell our products to anyone who needs faster, easier, and overall better technology, I’m always careful to make sure people understand the it’s the communication strategy that drives the technology and not the other way around. This might sound simplistic to some, but I can tell you from personal experience that many churches, businesses, and not-for-profits believe that a shiny new website, a powerful digital media tool, or an iPhone app will cure their communication problems. They won’t.…

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Why Your Organization’s First Impression Matters

First impressions matter, whether you like it or not. They matter not only on a personal level but also on a business and even more so when it comes to a church. Our first impression of a business, store or venue sets our expectations for the type of product or experience we perceive we are about to get. The implications of your first impression are huge.  Starting at a deficit. If you don’t “present well” someone’s first encounter with your organization, then you will automatically go into a “deficit” standing. Starting here means you have to work harder to overcome the initial perception of your product, whether it be consumer goods, services or an experience. Basically you’re saying, “we’re better than what you think we are” and then you’ll need to spend time and equity to get your audience to see in a better light. Unfortunately, you often do not…

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4 Gauges Every Entrepreneur Should Monitor

As a business owner, I’m never “off.” The mind of an entrepreneur is always working on opportunities, challenges and next steps. Of all the many thoughts that go through my mind on any given time, there are 4 areas of business that I’m constantly monitoring because I have learned that if they begin to deteriorate, so does my business. The Brand. That’s the promise every company makes to those it serves. Whether you sell widgets, services or an experience, your brand promise needs to be monitored. The A Group is a high-end marketing, technology and branding firm. Everything we do is based on strategy and best practices. I’m always monitoring the output of both products as well as services. Are we delivering on our promises? The Model. Is the current business structure a sustainable one? You’d be surprised by the number of busy businesses that end up failing. I remember…

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My New Stranger Strategy

What would it happen if I made a habit of walking up to a complete strangers and introducing myself? In the past few months I have tried to be intentional about doing just that.  I have done it in airports, at the gym, and restaurants. I had no idea of what to expect. Would people be annoyed? Would they look at me with the you-are-creeping-me-out stare? Would they dismiss or ignore me? Not really. People’s reactions have surprised me.  The great majority of people seem genuinely glad to have a brief personal dialogue with a perfect stranger. I believe human beings are created to be part of a shared existence, part of community. It’s easy to be in the middle of a room filled with people and to be alone, go to work everyday and not connect with anyone, walk around a large gym, see the same people for months…

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Social Digital Fraud: A Failed Social Media Campaign

I was recently reminded of a failed social media campaign that started with a lot of promise but went nowhere. For all practical purposes the campaign is still going because there are “posts” being created everyday. As I reflect what went wrong, here’s my assessment: Blog content is never fresh. It is re purposed from old material. It’s edited, sanitized and packaged but it lacks soul and relevance. There are no personal posts in the blog, twitter or Facebook. And the reason why there are no personal posts is because the author delegated his entire campaign to someone else. The few people who began following early on quickly figured that the author was not the one posting and stopped following. Readers were ignored. Early on when people commented on posts, they were ignored. So they stop commenting, and eventually reading it. Posts are monologues. There are no questions, no interactivity,…

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Apple’s New Game Changing Content Strategy

Yesterday Apple laid out a new subscription service and broad rules for digital content sold through the iPhone and iPad. Apple wants to make sure all app purchases and subscriptions, such as content from Amazon’s Kindle or Nextflix streaming, only happen inside the Apple Store, it also wants to make sure publishers’ subscriptions outside the Apple Store is never less than what’s offer within an app. But the most significant move might be Apple’s decision to allow customers the option to provide their name, email and zip code to the content providers, as oppose to require them to pass that information on. Running subscription restriction and pricing restrictions will create better margins and cement Apples’ dominance as a content provider. The fact that Apple is betting most of us will choose not to give our personal information to the content providers, (and who would?), is a total game changer. I…

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How Strategic Are Your Friendships?

It sounds self serving, but should our friendships be strategic? Somehow the words friendship and strategy should never appear together, right? Before you dismiss the concept altogether, consider that a strategy is an intentional pursuit of a goal. I have key strategic friendships in my life. These are not self-serving, one-way relationships. That’s not a friendship. But relationships that are two-way conversations. They are shared story lines that intercept in time and create a common narratives for two people. I have strategic friendships because I need the perspective, input and companionship of friends who help me grow in the areas I’m most deficient. However, I pray that I can give more to my friend than what I get from them. I have friends who challenge and guide me spiritually. I can always count on them to probe deeper and hold me accountable to my personal spiritual growth. I have friends…

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How I Get My Creativity Back

Creativity is not just for people in the arts. Creative people come up with all kinds of  solutions: from math problems, engineer dilemmas, financing options to book titles, video concepts and logo designs. Creatives make things happen when others can’t. I have made a career of helping my clients to think innovatively. But I get stuck from time to time–nothing fresh comes to mind. Sometimes nothing at all comes to mind, not even a bad idea. Here’s a few strategies I have used over the years to re-start my creativity. Leave. The longer I sit and stare or try to think harder the worse it gets. I just cannot will my mind to be creative when it’s tired or at an impasse. My best option is to leave the situation and find something else to do for a while. Sleep. I cannot tell you how refreshing a good night’s sleep…

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Your Boring Meeting Is Costing You a Lot of Money

Every meeting has costs and benefits. Successful organizations realize that while meetings are important, they can also be a waste of time and with it, a waste of money. Sometimes a lot of money. Not long ago I found myself in an all-day meeting with a group of 10 senior staff members of a church. We were together for almost 8 hours. That was not necessary. The meeting should have lasted 3 hours, and they only needed 4 of the 10 people there. Then I did something I had never done before, even in all my years of ministry. I tried to figure out just how much that meeting had cost the church in salaries alone. By my estimates those 8 hours cost around $4,000, not including my fees as well as lunch. How would we conduct meetings if we had a “money clock” running with a total cost for…

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What Should The Church Do With Boomers?

As the first of 77 million baby boomers reach retirement age, their annual spending power is estimated at 2 trillion dollars. Businesses are working hard at creating Boomer-centric products from cars to ovens while marketers are coming up with innovated ways to sell these products and services to the most affluent generation ever to walk on earth. But what’s the church strategy to reach, engage and deploy this generation? Mostly a seat on a church board. While this is not a scientific or even researched post, I speak from the perspective of someone who gets to visit a lot of churches and happens to be very at the very tail end of the Boomer generation.  Most of the funding for new buildings, capital expenditures and programs come from the 45-65 year olds. It makes sense; we have been in the work force longer and have accumulated more discretionary wealth, and…

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