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All too often, marketing and ad agencies believe they have a monopoly on creativity and ideas for their clients. In reality, the best ideas often are “discovered” through a more collaborative process. Those in the trenches often “spark” the idea that can transform a business.

From Cool News:

More companies are creating “innovation management programs,” reports Rachel Emma Silverman in the Wall Street Journal (10/17/11). For example, Bruce Power, an Ontario nuclear-energy company, encourages employees to “submit ideas through 10 special-purpose kiosks” at its plant. The kiosks, which “look like ATMs” have been in place for three years and give the plant’s workers, many of whom don’t have desks, a way to make suggestions. Other employees then vote on the ideas.

“It’s like the American Idol of ideas,” says Duncan Hawthorne, the company’s chief executive officer. So far, about “11,000 ideas have been submitted” that Duncan says have saved “millions” of dollars. The ideas “have ranged widely from improving efficiency by increasing stocks of tools to creating a dedicated facility for forklift maintenance.” Two years ago, PricewaterhouseCoopers launched iPlace, an ideas-management website that has so far generated some 3,300 new ideas, of which 140 have been implemented. Approximately “60 percent of the firm’s 32,000 US employees have either submitted, commented or voted on ideas.

Are ideas central to your business? Do you have marketing people (and agencies) that embrace ideas or prefer to “control” the process?

When looking for and growing the Zealots for your own brand, don’t look to far. Start first by looking at the employees of your company, those that are representing and living the brand each and every day. Zealotry should start here.

From a feature by Cool News it is easy to see the Four Seasons gets this concept.

“Workers, he says, are vital assets who should be treated accordingly. At most hotel companies, he notes, housekeepers, cooks, bell staff, waiters and clerks are often the lowest paid and ‘the least motivated people.’ But at the Four Seasons, those who might otherwise be considered the most expendable ‘had to come first,’ because they were the ones ‘who could make or break a five-star service reputation’.”

Involving and engaging your employees in your brand – from the lowest to the highest ranks – will ensure without a doubt they are spreading the good word to their peers. Constantly educating, from brand history to the latest news and developments, will empower your people to tell your story both to current guests and to potential guests as well.

Are your employees Zealots? How have you engaged your staff?

Guest Relations Marketing
Transforming Prospects to Guests, and Guests to Zealots

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