Making Brick & Mortar Stores ” matter in a multi-channel world ” | McKinsey

As the role of the brick-and-mortar store evolves, retailers will continually have to refine how they use their real estate…!!

For decades, the retail industry has followed the same straight forward formula for growth: open new stores. By replicating a proven store format in a new catchment area, retailers could reliably enlarge their customer base and count on healthy increases in sales.

But the world has changed. More than half of consumers now research their retail purchases online, making purely in-store purchase decisions the shrinking minority. In many categories, e-commerce has dramatically lessened the need for physical stores. “Virtual space”—which we define as the floor space that would be required to generate the sales volume that online retail now accounts for, at a sales density equivalent to the industry average—is expanding at a staggering rate. In this new world, what is the role of the brick-and-mortar store?

Many retailers find themselves struggling with the question and saddled with more real estate than they know what to do with. After all, their property departments are geared up for expansion and acquisition. Their finance departments have traditionally focused on reaping investment returns from stores and tend to be jittery about investing in new and unproven technologies. On the flip side, their e-commerce directors are frustrated by this lack of understanding of the pace and mind-set such companies need to become digital winners.

To position themselves for success in a multi-channel world, retailers would do well to take a disciplined approach that begins with a reassessment of the role of the physical store. We recommend a FIVE-step approach we call STORE : starting with a clear vision for the future role of the store, tailoring categories and formats accordingly, optimizing the store portfolio using forward-looking analytics, reinventing the in-store shopping experience, and executing systematically across channels…

The incredible shrinking footprint: 

The effects of online migration in the retail industry are evident in every category. In the United States, apparel retailer Gap closed more than 250 stores in 2013; department-store chain Sears closed almost 200. Walmart’s new stores are about a third smaller than they were five years ago…!!

Online retail has affected more than just physical floor space. Amazon, for one, has put intense pressure on retailers’ top and bottom lines by having key items priced 13 to 20 percent lower than average, an assortment 17 times larger than the average retailer’s, and a cost base that is 3 to 4 percent lower than brick-and-mortar competitors’, all while achieving the highest customer-satisfaction scores in the industry. The combined effects of Amazon and other online retailers have rapidly hurt traditional retailers’ return on invested capital, as fewer sales flow through existing physical assets.

Many retailers’ instinctive response to these headwinds has been to close under-performing stores and to look for operational efficiencies, but these moves only buy time—they can’t fully close the performance gap…“Shrinking to greatness” is not the answer.

A framework for change: 

Shifting from a store-focused approach to a multi-channel mind-set requires retailers to change their traditional frames of reference and ways of working. As consumers increasingly shop across channels, terms like “convenience” and “efficiency” take on new meanings. Customer expectations are rising: for instance, customers now expect price consistency across channels, the ability to buy online and pick up or return in store, and a range of payment options. Price transparency puts pressure on retailers to develop ultra-efficient operating models. The wealth of online information available to consumers raises the bar for in-store service and expertise.

But let’s be clear: the brick-and-mortar store is not dead; it just plays a different role now. In fact, in a multi-channel world, physical stores can provide a competitive advantage… Some multi-channel retailers have seen growth in their online sales and penetration among consumers who live near their stores. In several sectors, “click and collect” is proving a popular and increasingly efficient means of serving the customer. More than 50 percent of Walmart’s online sales and around 40 percent of Best Buy’s already are picked up in stores. Best Buy’s store-within-a-store partnerships with Microsoft, Samsung, and other suppliers capitalize on manufacturers’ need to show off their products in a physical retail environment. Former online pure plays such as Oak Furniture Land and sofa.com have opened physical stores that now generate as much as 60 percent of sales.

Some retailers are now reshaping their store networks in response. One approach is to lead with a handful of flagship stores—which essentially become a marketing and service channel for the online business—supported by numerous smaller outlets that offer convenience and a curated product offering.

In light of rapidly evolving technology and consumer behavior, we believe retailers that take a forward-looking view and heed the following five imperatives can position themselves for multi-channel success.

Start by Redefining the role of the store:

The first question that retailers should ask themselves at the beginning of their store-network transformation journey is, “What role will my brick-and-mortar stores play in a multichannel world?” To answer the question, retailers must find out what their customers truly care about. They need to know which aspects of a store matter most to customers and what purpose a store serves for them:

  • Convenience and proximity.
  • Efficiency
  • Inspiration
  • Instant gratification.
  • Discovery of a solution, information, or service.
  • Entertainment and social interaction.
  • Experiencing brands and products.

 

Economic considerations are important as well. For each of the purposes above, retailers should ask, “How can stores do this profitably?” There may be more than one answer and therefore more than one winning store format. In any case, the agreed-upon role (or roles) of the store should dictate every decision about the store operating model: location, assortment, staffing, supplier funding, employee training, and so on.

Tailor categories and formats accordingly:

Customer priorities and store economics should next become critical inputs into ongoing category reviews, to ensure that assortments and space allocations are continually optimized for a multichannel world.

Format decisions should also be driven by customer needs and priorities. Some retailers are adapting their store formats to the tastes and preferences of certain customer segments. Macy’s, for example, has embarked on a major effort to court millennials: it has launched more than a dozen segment-specific brands and created “destination zones” for millennials in its stores.

Optimize the portfolio using forward-looking analytics:

The next step is to re-evaluate the store portfolio through a multichannel lens. Leading retailers regularly analyze correlations between sales performance and catchment data to identify promising locations for new stores and to figure out the winning formula for top-performing stores; they examine factors such as population density, income, competitor presence, and average tenure of the sales staff. This is a valuable exercise, but in a fast-changing business environment, it’s not enough. Retailers must look ahead: they must extrapolate the impact of macro and industry-wide trends on the store network’s economics and operating model. And they must understand the impact that channels have on one another. One retailer that already had 100 unprofitable stores in its network found that another 100 would be in the red within three years given competitor trends and the shift to e-commerce.

The most forward-thinking retailers use analytical tools and techniques to reshape their entire store networks. They use financial and geospatial modeling to highlight not only where stores should be opened but also which should be closed, resized, or reformatted.

Re-invent the in-store shopping experience:

Creating the store of the future will mean overhauling the in-store customer journey, in part by using new technology to make the shopping experience as seamless and easy as possible. Some retailers simply copy the in-store moves of multichannel champions such as Apple and Burberry or equip sales staff with iPads to give their stores an updated, high-tech look. But cosmetic changes alone won’t result in lasting impact. A multichannel mind-set must be embedded in the store design and in employees’ new ways of working.

Retailers should prioritize the basics: again, focusing on what matters most to their customers and enabling multichannel shopping (for instance, by establishing fast-pickup counters for online orders) while being ruthless about taking costs out of the things that customers don’t care about.

Execute systematically across channels:

Change of this scale is not easy and affects many functions across the organization. Some retailers make the mistake of developing a store-network transformation plan that extends past 2020, by which time parts of the plan will probably be obsolete, or else they embark on a massive change program that will take so long to roll out that it will be out of date before it is halfway done. Retailers are typically better served by developing a detailed plan for the next 12 months and a high-level road map for the next three years.

Pace and flexibility are critical. “Gold plating” an entire store takes too long and tends to be expensive. Retailers should instead test new ideas quickly, and they should pilot individual aspects of store design to figure out specifically what is working and what isn’t.

Of course, capabilities and organizational design, both at headquarters and in individual stores, must evolve as the network evolves. Retailers should ask themselves: Does the organizational structure support the new network size and role? What would it take to shift the mind-sets of the property team away from a focus on opening new stores and toward making better use of existing space, introducing and refreshing store concepts quickly, and even scaling back on real estate? the store of the future should allow shoppers to move seamlessly across channels…Store staff should be well trained and comfortable in directing customers to the right products, both offline and online.

The logistics and store teams should work hand in glove with the online team to ensure that orders are fulfilled efficiently and to get products to consumers quickly….!!

“One Branding” : “Uniting the Employer, Corporate & Product Experience” | BCG

Every day, the Digital-World shines a spotlight on Brand inconsistencies…Employees & potential recruits might get one impression online, customers and partners might have another experience, while investors and influencers might see an altogether different picture…The result is brand confusion or worse : “Brand Conflict ” !!

Consumers today, led by the digitally native Millennial generation (ages 18 to 34), expect much more from brands. They increasingly require a holistic and authentic experience across all the online and offline ways they interact with a company. When we surveyed them, Millennials reported that the number one way that brands can engage them is to have an “authentic purpose.” Many consumers expect to engage more actively in a two-way dialogue with brands—and the Internet gives them a megaphone to express their positive and negative opinions loudly..

The global business environment also demands more from brands. The service sector now makes up approximately 70 percent of most developed economies, and that share is even higher when it includes the many products that have a service component. People have become a critical resource for service-based industries: labor costs are higher than capital costs in many service companies..

Likewise, people have also become an essential component of branding, a field that was once highly product oriented. Brand experiences are now largely shaped by the people on the front lines who interact daily with customers and must meet their rising expectations. Employees have become, in effect, brand ambassadors. Brand management of the future requires, therefore, even fuller and more consistent engagement among the people inside and outside the company—both those who experience the brand and those who represent it..

The problem is that companies too often focus on only one or two aspects of their brand image. Many ignore employees as brand advocates or else narrowly relegate marketing communications for employees and recruits to the human resources department. People often assume that a strong product or corporate brand alone will attract candidates and customers. To become part of its customers’ lives, however, a company’s product and brands will first have to be “lived” by its employees.

To succeed, companies today must elevate employer branding to its rightful place among the other major pillars of corporate, product, and service brand management. At the same time, they must create harmony among customer experiences with the product, the company, and employees. We call this new concept of integrated, employee-powered marketing One Branding...A tight linking of all the aspects of brand management ensures that brands leverage their most significant asset—employees—to create more powerful and relevant brands for today’s changing world. One branding also significantly boosts performance..

THE REWARDS OF ONE BRANDING:

Only the harmonization of corporate, product, and employer branding ensures that everyone involved “pays into” the one-brand account, together raising the brand’s value. We have found that, in many cases, behind this success lies strong employer branding..

Companies that have strong employer brands tend to outperform those that do not. To measure the strength of employer brands, we asked students in MBA programs to rate the attractiveness of prospective employers. A BCG analysis of 39 global companies over the ten-year period from 2003 through 2012 found a positive correlation between the strength of employer brands and the average growth in total shareholder return (TSR)..

We found that the correlation between an employer’s brand and TSR was stronger at companies with a strong employer brand than at those with average or poor ratings. Moving into the top leagues of employer branding is, therefore, worthwhile not only from an HR perspective but also for its medium- to long-term impact on company value..

Not every company must be a leader in all THREE Brand-management disciplines…But all companies must gain a basic command of each, as they discover how to differentiate themselves in the areas important to their business. Only then will they achieve more integrated and consistent brands..

The Power of Employer Branding:

Even though it has become central to how a brand is experienced, employer branding is frequently the missing ingredient in achieving the promise of one branding. Employer branding represents a company’s brand promise to the people who work there, the people who want to work there, and the people the company wants to recruit. HR leaders cite employer branding as a high priority, but not even 10 percent of prospective employees during job interviews know the key elements of an employer’s brand, according to one European survey.

To succeed in today’s complex business environment and deliver a unified experience across all the brand dimensions that are important to future success—especially through its people—every company needs to define its unique advantages for employer branding and then work hard to cultivate these differentiating factors more effectively. (See Exhibit 1.)

To discern how companies are giving employer branding an equal place inside a unified brand, we interviewed executives in the European operations of ten global companies with leading brands. In our work with companies around the world, we have found these leaders’ insights to be broadly applicable to many other regions.

Consider the success of the employer-branding campaign recently launched by the adidas Group, the world’s second-largest manufacturer of sporting goods, with €14.5 billion in sales; 50,700 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $7.5 billion by Interbrand as of 2013.

In 1998, Matthias Malessa, chief HR officer of the adidas Group, established an HR marketing department that focused on its external presentation as an employer. “Today, employer branding is a perception index of people inside the company that projects to the outside and says, ‘Check this out. This is how it looks here. If you think it looks good, join us. If not, we’re not for you”..

For the first time, the features of the campaign were developed with employees on the basis of their experiences working for adidas. The company surveyed employees of all its brands worldwide. Five main branding messages resulted…Each country has the flexibility to highlight the message that has priority for the employees there..

“More and more young employees are demanding that their voices be heard,” says Malessa. “I ask my people, ‘How do you perceive this company?’ Then I build my employer-branding story based on what they say.” For instance, one message involves social and environmental responsibility. The motto “to make the world a better place” connects this message into a unified product-, corporate-, and employer-brand strategy..

The success factor is that employees are free to share their experiences with the adidas culture online. “In the digital age, it’s important to win over your employees as brand ambassadors, but for it to function, there also have to be rules,” says Simone Lendzian, corporate communications manager. Social-media guidelines orient employees to their rights and responsibilities when communicating as brand ambassadors during work hours..

The company had a lot of discussions about whether each brand in the adidas family—which includes Reebok and Rockport in addition to adidas—needed its own employer branding. “We believe it all has to flow into one employer brand that is all-inclusive and covers the entire company,” says Malessa..

Six Guiding Principles for One Branding:

To put one branding into practice, a company must keep in mind six overarching principles about how employer branding relates to its overall brand portfolio.

Credible positioning starts with a well-defined process. At the heart of employer branding lies a convincing employer value proposition (EVP): the promise of value that employers make to their current and future employees. The emphasis should be on the uniqueness of the company. Only with a differentiated strategy can a company achieve competitive advantage.

To ensure that the EVP is relevant and differentiating, it must be based on solid data and integrated into the overall HR strategy process. First, market research compares the internal understanding of the company’s current positioning with the motivations and needs of external target segments. This is translated into a credible brand position and concrete actions and then anchored in the company’s organization structures, roles, and responsibilities. (See Exhibit 2.)

Employee motivations guide Employer Branding – to attract and retain good people, a company must appeal to both logic and emotion. Effective employer branding uses a “double perspective” of internal and external views to discover the elements of the brand experience that drive engagement among existing and prospective employees…Qualitative and quantitative market research can identify motivations that fit the brand, whereas creative techniques can uncover even deeper insights. Rather than simply delegating market research to an outside organization, all internal and external stakeholders should be invited to speak their minds through an active dialogue with the marketing, HR, and strategy departments..

Only a brand that is lived every day can be experienced – Employer branding can be only as strong as the health of the company’s culture.A true standout is the culture of Google, the world’s largest Internet company by market capitalization, with $50.8 billion in revenues; 45,000 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $93.3 billion by Interbrand as of 2013. “Our employer value proposition is the result of our company culture as we live and experience it,” says Frank Kohl­-Boas, Google’s head of HR in northern Europe. “As our motto says, ‘Do cool things that matter.’ I am convinced that you can recruit and retain knowledge workers only if you give them the room they need to think freely and you offer them interesting work. If you do this, candidates and employees will say, ‘I can earn money elsewhere, but where else can I be a part of things, be myself, and grow ? ’”

At Google, responsibility for employer branding resides in HR, because it is understood less as a marketing task than as the management of corporate culture. A core team, under the leadership of a chief culture officer, works with local culture ambassadors who support the topic voluntarily in addition to their core jobs. The goals are to find the right people to hire, to ensure the internal multiplication of knowledge, and to provide the freedom for product discovery and invention..

“We don’t do any big marketing campaigns—neither for recruiting nor for Google as a brand,” says Kohl­-Boas. “Instead, we invest in employees who develop the brand. We trust that a lot of people will come into contact with our products and associate the company with the quality of our products. If users like our products, the customers and shareholders will come.”

Employees are the best brand ambassadors – The most authentic sources of employer branding are employees who can communicate credibly about the company and make its culture tangible..

Consider eBay, well-known as a global leader in online retailing and payments, with $16 billion in revenues; 30,000 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $13.2 billion by Interbrand as of 2013. At eBay, employee referrals are the most important recruiting component by far. “When you shape your employer branding out of the culture and put your people at the center of it, the advantage is that you can motivate them to channel their pride by recommending the company,” says Tobias Hübscher, eBay’s senior manager, European employee communications.

“Referral campaigns save headhunter fees and ad campaign costs and helped us get budget for employer branding and resources for talent acquisition,” he adds. “Basically, we see referrals as being a lot more effective and working better in the recruiting process.”

Social media is only one tool in the toolbox –  Despite all the hype about social-media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, every channel must be closely analyzed for its benefits and risks. If a company does not have confidence that it can present itself authentically and engage in open dialogue with consumers through certain mediums, it should not use them until the advantages outweigh any potential damage.

The social-media strategy is well defined at Heineken International, the world’s third-largest brewing company, with €19.2 billion in revenues; 85,000 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $4.3 billion by Interbrand as of 2013. “When it comes to social media, you have to know exactly what you want,” says Dario Gargiulo, global social-media manager at Heineken International. “A lot of companies do social media only because they think it’s good to have a presence everywhere. Instead, you have to use every social channel differently and with a specific aim. You must take the time to find out which channel should be used for which message.”

Gargiulo recommends focusing on the brand message and consumer attitudes on social media rather than communicating all of the company’s activities. “In social media, you immediately get consumer reactions about what’s important and what’s not,” he says. “It’s about the connection with real life.”

To integrate brand management disciplines tightly, stay loose – The players in one branding are less like a conductor-led orchestra than a leaderless jazz band. In the latter, the optimal combination of players is more important than who leads at any point in time. Well-executed examples of one branding show that there is no universal solution: although HR is often in charge—for instance, at BMW and adidas—several companies we studied maintain an ongoing, constructive conversation among the different components of branding, including marketing, communications, strategy, and HR. The corporate brand often takes the lead when the path forward is not clear.

At eBay, employer branding is jointly managed by the HR, talent acquisition, communications, and marketing departments and covers all eBay brands. Both internal employer culture and external campaigns are steered by communications in the local country unit.

Regardless of the organization design, marketing and HR must work together as equals. Each of the functions has plenty to contribute: HR has the competencies needed for strategic personnel planning and the ongoing development of company culture. And marketing can bring its “detective skills” to the table—by feeling out and establishing a unique positioning for employees and job applicants..

The era of one branding is dawning. Employer, corporate, and product branding will only grow more closely integrated..

Although we see no one-size-fits-all strategy that can address all the challenges ahead, we have observed this about the leaders: one branding works only if executives in charge of HR and the brand disciplines make it their common goal and have the courage and flexibility to work together.

Companies that are willing to cross organization boundaries and experiment with this new approach now will discover the proven benefits of one branding. Those that do not move in this direction risk falling behind their more integrated and nimble competitors..!!

The “State of Strategy Today” : Good strategy is worth doing well | A.T. Kearney

In a study performed, we found a strong correlation between a company’s total shareholder returns (TSR) and its planning horizon…Those with longer horizons saw stronger returns than those with shorter…!!

We were not surprised then when our latest strategy study found a similar correlation. Only this time, the comparisons are between successful and unsuccessful strategies. Of companies with longer strategy cycles—five years or more—85 percent see beneficial results. For companies whose strategy cycles are less than five years, 53 percent are successful. Interestingly, there is little difference between companies that take an ad-hoc approach to strategy (46 percent) and those with planned strategy cycles of less than five years (47 percent)…

This last point is reassuring, as it suggests that a properly executed strategy is worth pursuing. Just 6 percent of companies have strategy cycles of more than 5 years. It can be argued that strategy cycles are more important in today’s competitive environment or, as one study participant says, “To succeed today, we need to innovate, and innovation requires strategy and commitment. So it makes sense that committing to a strategy over time results in success over time”…

Strategy is more difficult now..When working on consulting engagements, our clients sometimes complain that it’s much harder now to craft powerful and easy-to-communicate strategies. “Strategy formulation and deployment is a complex, moving target,” explains one CEO. Another blames the difficulties on what she calls “an ever-changing business environment that requires spending more resources on strategy.” Our study findings reflect the same frustrations: 62 percent of business executives say strategy has become more complicated over the past decade, and 74 percent say complexity forces them to spend more time and effort on strategy formulation. Yet, despite these increased efforts, 46 percent of strategies fail to meet expectations..

Interestingly, C-suite executives are much more optimistic about the effectiveness of their companies’ strategies than those in management…Indeed, 81 percent of executives believe their strategies are meeting or exceeding expectations, while 48 percent of those at the management level are less optimistic (see figure 3). Further, this C-Suite misconception is even greater for companies that are lagging their peers as almost 100 percent of executives believe their strategies are working just fine, while management is much more skeptical..

Agility to the rescue – maybe It is commonly accepted that today’s business environments are fast changing and dynamic, and much more so than just a few decades ago. These tumultuous conditions have caused some executives to question whether strategy is even possible anymore. Isn’t a strategy outdated before it can be implemented? Aren’t we better off to focus on agility in order to capitalize on emerging trends faster than peers? These are some of the questions we heard. We put this thinking to the test with surprising results: More than 80 percent of global executives consider agility as important, or more important, than strategy when it comes to securing a company’s future success. And only a slim 19 percent believe a strategy-induced competitive advantage is still possible (see figure 4). In the minds of business leaders, it appears that strategy is failing…

figure4

However, a deeper dive into the survey data finds that “agility as a substitute for strategy” notion is flawed. We wonder if it isn’t simply a self-fulfilling prophesy :  Those who believe agility is the foundation for success have failing strategies, while those who believe strategy is a source of competitive advantage, have exceptionally successful strategies. The more interesting question, which begs further investigation, is in which direction the causality flows: Do companies have trouble formulating and deploying strategies and so turn to agility? Or, does a focus on agility as the answer to today’s challenges lead to the demise of strategy? Does a string of successful strategies mean strategy is the answer to all that ails an organization ??

What’s to blame for strategy failure?

Judging by the responses of our study participants, strategy failure is an emotional topic. One participant puts it this way : “In large organizations, strategy formulation is too complex and too top-down, leaving the rest of the organization to play catch up. And before they can do so, the next strategy is being rolled out.” Another says: “Strategic planning often takes place in an ivory tower by individuals who haven’t a clue what happens at the implementation level.” These and other comments suggest that the interface—the handover—between strategy formulation and deployment is to blame for failed strategies. Our findings confirm this. When asked to identify the trigger of a failed strategy, 7 percent of executives point to formulation, 6 percent point to deployment, and 86 percent say it is a mix of the two (see figure 5)..

figure5

Strategy formulation: What goes wrong?

If there is ever a need for knowledge, experience, and preparation, it is during strategy formulation. When asked about their strategy formulation failures, most executives complain that it is an insufficiently inspired, unrealistic, impractical, and detached process :

  • Lack of understanding of future trends (88%)
  • Little understanding of internal capabilities (87%)
  • Too much top-down approach (84%)
  • Not enough logical thinking (84%)

One interesting finding is the conflicting perspectives about the role data analysis plays in a failed strategy formulation process. Some blame “too much data analyses” while others say there is “not enough data analyses.” The reasons for the different views depends on the participants’ backgrounds. For example, many in the too-much-data group have firsthand experience in data analyses of the “boiling the ocean” type—in which substantial efforts yield few real insights. The other group is accustomed to formulating strategy using strategy statements that are not backed by sound financial justification or based on quantifiable competitive opportunities..

Several study participants consider secrecy an issue…“The C-suite is afraid competitors will learn our strategy and so do not involve middle-level managers as much as they should in developing the strategy,” explains a manager. “Clearly, keeping our organization as much in the dark as our competitors about our strategy is not a fast lane to success”..

Strategy deployment: What goes wrong?

Many of the reasons for failed strategy formulation are also attributed to failed deployments. For example, a strategy might be too ambitious and broad for the organization, too narrow to cope with the full breadth of changing market conditions, or deployed from an impractical top-down perspective. “Strategy deployment is now our greatest challenge,” explains a CEO. “Market conditions require a more aggressive strategy, but execution has not changed.”

Not surprisingly, reasons for failed deployments have more to do with the handover between strategy formulation and deployment:

  • Lack of internal understanding of the strategy (90%)
  • Lack of internal capabilities to execute the strategy (90%)
  • Lack of ownership (86%)

This makes for bewildered, disenfranchised, overwhelmed, and under-supported deployments. As one manager admits, “We underestimate the combined effects of overlapping initiatives on the same group of people”..

Gauging the future –

Study participants largely agree that a better understanding of future trends is a prerequisite for sound strategy formulation: “Our strategies fail at the development stage because we do not accurately determine where the market is heading in the next three to five years.”

Not surprisingly, over the last decade many companies have increased use of future-focused tools such as fore-sighting, trend analyses, and scenario planning (see figure 6)..

Organizational inclusiveness –

Involving the organization in strategy formulation resolves the handover issue between formulation and deployment. “Strategy that doesn’t make it out of the boardroom isn’t really strategy,” admits an executive. “Attempting to make it purely process-driven overlooks the importance of the ‘goodwill’ factor—the people who actually deploy the strategy because they buy into it, and not just because it is their job to deliver it.” Our findings break down this thinking into a number of distinct points. At the base, is the conviction that involving more people with firsthand experience in dealing with markets, customers, competitors, processes, and suppliers makes for better and more practical strategies.

“Bringing in a general workforce opinion helps management make more informed decisions,” says a manager. “All levels of the organization can contribute to strategy formulation and implementation. Middle management and the workforce provide practical input.” Organizational involvement is also essential for making strategies sufficiently ambitious. As one executive says, “The most important area for innovation in achieving goals and targets are the skills and knowledge of staff. Without these, the top-down approach is doomed to mediocrity.”

Our findings back up these observations : Two thirds of companies that pursue meaningful organizational inclusion in strategy formulation have successful strategies. Yet, involving the workforce doesn’t just make strategies better and more practical, it also lays the groundwork for engaging the right people in strategy deployment: “We involve our people at all levels in strategy development and find that innovation and diversity of ideas are pluses, both in adopting change and in people acting as change agents. An engaged individual is more resourceful than one who is simply employed.”

Organizational involvement is not a panacea. It provides innovation and practicality and, while it does not really affect speed, it does make things more complex (see figure 7). As one CEO says: “Consultation can be a bit of a pain and slow down a good planning operation, but the results following the consultation can make the extra time well worth it”..

figure7

Strategy needs to be led- 

not just decided on Despite the virtues of organizationally inclusive strategy formulation, the complexity that accompanies it can be an issue. For this reason, inclusive strategy requires top-down leadership, with top management establishing the ideas, ground rules, organizational teams, and direction that are critical for middle and lower management. Strategy, at its best, becomes less of a decision and more of a direction to inspire the organization to follow—not once, but on an ongoing basis.

As one CEO says : “Strategy & Leadership go hand-in-hand, you can’t have one without the other”…!!

“11 Leadership Lessons” from “Alexander the Great” | by: Manfred Kets De Vries | INSEAD

Visionary, Team-Builder, Mentor, he shows us some timeless Leadership-Lessons but also some Glaring Failures…!!

Although the “Great Man” Leadership theory belongs to the scrapheap of history, its allure continues to mystify…Underlying this theory is the assumption that if the right man (yes, it is often assumed to be a man) for the job emerges, he will almost magically take control of a situation and lead a group of people into safety or success. While such leaders are rare, there are times when a singular individual steps out from the crowd and serves as a paragon of leadership.

One such individual was Alexander the Great; one of history’s most famous warriors and a legend of almost divine status in his own lifetime. He falls into the elite category of individuals who changed the history of civilisation and shaped the present world as we know it.

From a Leadership perspective, it’s not very difficult to say that Alexander was without peer…He could be magnanimous toward defeated enemies and extremely loyal toward his friends. As a general, he led by example, leading from the front…!

Alexander’s reign illustrates a number of important leadership lessons which remain applicable to business and political chiefs today:

1. Have a compelling vision – Alexander’s actions demonstrate what can be accomplished when a person is totally focused—when he or she has clarity coupled with a ‘magnificent obsession’. Through dramatic gestures and great rhetorical skills, Alexander spoke to the collective imagination of his people and won the commitment of his followers..

2. Be unsurpassed in execution – Alexander not only had a compelling vision, he also knew how to make that vision become reality. By maintaining an excellent information system, he was able to interpret his opponent’s motives and was a master at coordinating all parts of his military machine. No other military leader before him ever used speed and surprise with such dexterity. He knew the true value of the statement “One is either quick or one is dead ” !!

3. Create a well-rounded Executive Team – Alexander also knew how to build a committed team around him and operated in a way that allowed his commanders to build on each other’s’ strengths..

4. Walk the talk – Alexander set the example of excellence with his leadership style; he led his troops quite literally from the front. When his troops went hungry or thirsty, he went hungry and thirsty; when their horses died beneath them and they had to walk, he did the same. This accessibility only changed when he succumbed to the luxury of Persian court life..

5. Encourage “Innovation” – Alexander realised the competitive advantage of strategic innovation. Because of his deft deployment of troops, his support for and reliance on the creativity of his corps of engineers, and his own logistical acumen, his war machine was the most advanced of its time..

6. Foster Group Identification – Alexander created a very astute propaganda machine to keep his people engaged. His oratory skills, based on the simple language of his soldiers, had a hypnotic influence on all who heard him. He made extensive use of powerful cultural symbols which elicited strong emotions. These ‘meaning-management’ actions, combined with his talent for leading by example, fostered strong group identification among his troops, and motivated his men to make exceptional efforts..

7. Encourage and Support Followers – Alexander knew how to encourage his people for their excellence in battle in ways that brought out greater excellence. He routinely singled people out for special attention and recalled acts of bravery performed by former and fallen heroes, making it clear that individual contributions would be recognised. He also had the ability to be a ‘container’ of the emotions of his people through empathetic listening.

8. Invest in Talent Management – Extremely visionary for his time, Alexander spent an extraordinary amount of resources on training and development. He not only trained his present troops but also looked to the future by developing the next generation.

9. Consolidate Gains – Paradoxically, three of Alexander’s most valuable lessons were taught not through his strengths but through his weaknesses. The first of these is the need to consolidate gains. Alexander failed to put the right control systems in place to integrate his empire and thus never really savoured the fruit of his accomplishments. Conquest may be richly rewarding, but a leader who advances without ensuring the stability of his or her gains stands to lose everything..

10. Succession Planning – Another lesson Alexander taught by omission is the need for a viable succession plan. He was so focused on his own role as king and aspiring deity that he could not bring himself to think of the future when he was gone. As a result, political vultures tore his vast empire apart after his death.

11. Create Mechanisms of Organisational Governance – The final lesson that the case of Alexander illustrates (again by omission) is the paramount importance of countervailing powers. Leaders have the responsibility to put proper mechanisms of organisational governance into place, using checks and balances to prevent faulty decision-making and the abuse of power.

Alexander began his reign as an enlightened ruler, encouraging participation by his ‘companions’—Loyal soldiers drawn from the noble families in Macedonia. But like many rulers before him, he became addicted to power. Hubris raised its ugly head. As time passed, Alexander’s behaviour became increasingly domineering and grandiose…

He tolerated nothing but applause from his audience, so his immediate circle kept their reservations to themselves. As a result he lost touch with reality, another factor leading to his failure to consolidate his empire…!!

“Mall Management” – The “New Success Mantra” for Malls In India | Realty Plus

The Indian #RetailMarket, has gone through a prolonged (and sometimes painful) process of transformation…With rapid development across the country, India has witnessed the emergence of a well-entrenched mall culture over the past decade….However, there are several malls in the country which are faring less than well…

Failing Malls – A Growing Problem :

The not insignificant number of under-performing malls in the country definitely gives rise to concern…There is no dearth of instances where #MallDevelopers, have scrapped the entire blueprint and business model and converted their malls into office spaces. The reasons for the lack of success of these malls vary..

Some of the challenges that the developers of these malls have not been able to address are providing for adequate parking and scientific people movement within the malls, coming up with a dynamic plan for upgrading facilities, attracting a suitable tenant mix and proper positioning..

Success Ingredients : 

There is now a distinct need for mall developers to introspect on the factors that contribute to either the success or failure of a mall. For instance, there is an increasing awareness among mall developers that leasing mall spaces as opposed to selling them is the way to go. Malls in which spaces are individually sold (or ‘strata sold’) tend to suffer from the absence of proper mall management – which is now the acknowledged fulcrum for success, regardless of how large or well-conceived the mall is.

There are basic parameters that mall developers must keep in mind at the very conception and design stage of their malls. Location is, of course, a vital ingredient for the success of any mall. Approach and accessibility, especially in terms of proximity to the key centres and ingress and egress of the mall, are equally important..

The mall must have adequate facilities and provide retailers with good accessibility to their stores, space for storage and staff utilities. Very importantly, it must get the parking equation right…

Untangling the Parking Knot :

A mall that does not provide sufficient and properly planned parking in India is headed for disaster. In India, the issue of parking is a challenge to both mall owners and customers. Creating parking facilities when the cost of land is high is a very capital-intensive decision for a mall developer. This is especially true if such measures are attempted to be enhanced in retrospect. As a general guideline, developer must provide parking while keeping the size of the mall in mind. The decision on how much is needed and how much is sufficient is a critical one.

Rotation of parking slots is another important function, as malls experience more footfalls on weekends, during which customers spend more time in malls. Parking must not become an issue in high traffic periods. If a mall cannot provide enough conventional parking, it must have innovative parking facilities such as multi-level and/or automated parking systems.

Since convenience is of prime importance in a mall, the access and exits to car parking is yet another factor besides the parking area itself. The more successful malls even provide valet service to attract more patrons by providing them with more ease of access.

While the future may bring malls that have public transport connectivity, we are not quite there yet. Metros and buses connecting directly to malls can bring down the usage of personal cars, and play a major role in be dealing with challenges such as parking and increased traffic. Until then, mall developers are constrained upon to make the most of existing infrastructure.

The Mall Management Solution :

The baseline philosophy behind the creation of any mall is that it must be a place that continually attracts people into its premises, keeping them engaged and tempting them to stay for longer periods. This cannot be done just by providing a massive number of shops. Today, Indian mall visitors expect various entertainment options and engagement mechanisms, as well. Malls cannot be just shopping complexes – they must be one-stop family destinations. If they fail at this, they invariably fail completely..

With these and other reasons why malls can potentially become under-productive and sub-optimal, mall developers are now discovering that professional mall management can be a catch-all solution. In fact, one of the most common causes for the failure of malls is that they were are not professionally managed and promoted. High-grade mall management is the single-most reason why some malls have managed to perform well even during the worst periods of economic distress..

Professional mall management is about a lot more than just keeping up the facilities in a #ShoppingCentre…It is about strategizing and implementing success formulae that have been specifically tailored to the mall. Often, a professional mall management firm can undo a significant amount of ‘done damage’ by reinventing the mall’s positioning, facilities and operations almost from the ground up..

Significantly, a mall management agency can result in operating costs reducing by between 5-7% in an up-and-running mall, and by up to 10% if it is engaged at the very inception stage. However, the cost-saving element is just one side of the story. With the implementation of professional mall management, even a languishing mall can be realigned into a destination that provides the needed success ingredients – and an overall ‘experience’ for customer..

A #MallManagement Agency can Re-engineer the shopping complex’ parking arrangements, tenant mix and internal customer traffic, and also assume the responsibility of promotional activities. Simultaneously, such an agency will ensure optimal staffing solutions and keep all facilities within the mall running flawlessly..

Not surprisingly, more and more Indian mall developers are now adopting the mall management mantra as a one-stop solution to ensure that their investments reap the best possible returns for them…!!

How to Find “Tomorrow’s Leaders of Innovation” | Chief Executive

Great leaders of innovation see their role not as take-charge direction setters, but primarily as creators of a context in which others are willing and able to make innovation happen…!!

The question this raises is simple and critical : where will today’s organizations find tomorrow’s leaders of innovation ??

Because leaders are more made than born, organizations must iden­tify people with “the right stuff” for leading innovation and provide them with the experiences and resources needed to develop the required mindset and skills. Yet, if today’s high-potential leaders of innovation don’t fit today’s popular conception of a good leader, many of them will be invisible to cur­rent systems for identifying and developing tomorrow’s leaders..

“ Organizations must identify people with “ the Right Stuff ” for leading innovation and provide them with the experiences and resources needed to develop the required mindset and skills…”

WHAT WE BELIEVE TO BE THE RIGHT STUFF:

Leadership concerns not only what a person knows and does, but also who he or she is. Despite differences in culture, age and gender, the leaders we have studied share certain personal qualities that allowed them to lead in ways that fostered the growth of innovative communities. They were idealists, yet pragmatists. They were holistic thinkers, yet action-oriented. They weregener­ous, yet demanding. Perhaps most importantly, they were human, yet resilient..

Take, for example, Jacqueline Novogratz of Acumen. In 2001, Novogratz founded Acumen to identify, invest in, strengthen, and scale early-stage enterprises that provided low-income consumers with access to healthcare, water, housing, education, alternative energy and agricultural inputs…

“We were looking for ventures with visionary leaders who were using business approaches to solve big social problems,” Novogratz said. “Their enterprises had to demonstrate the likelihood of financial sustainability and hold the promise of reaching a million customers over time…”

From the start, however, finding good candidates proved difficult. For one thing, Acumen’s mission required leaders who fell outside the typical mold. It relied on individuals who could manage nonprofits or public-sector organizations, but who also had the necessary business and oper­ational skills. Acumen was also seeking leaders who could think and collaborate beyond traditional systems, work with longer-time horizons, and succeed in spite of limited resources…

“ Finding sustainable solutions to vexing and intractable problems requires leaders who know how to build innovative ecosystems, not just organizations..”

Few individuals could meet these standards, and so in 2007, Novogratz created the Global Fellows Program, a yearlong training program aimed at building a corps of leaders for the sector at the intersection between business and society. Eight years later, 75 individuals from 24 countries had already participated in the program…

As the success of the Fellows Program demonstrates, providing a critical mass of promising individuals with leadership tools that cut across sectors can create global ecosystems of innovation leaders…

Novogratz and other business leaders who think like her realize that finding sustainable solutions to vexing and intractable problems requires leaders who know how to build innovative ecosystems, not just organizations…!! 

The “Go-to-Market Revolution”: Igniting “Growth with Marketing, Sales & Pricing” | by: Rich Hutchinson | BCG

Whether you ask a company’s CEO or its investors, they’ll likely identify revenue growth as the single biggest driver of #CorporateProfit, and #ShareHolderValue..!!

Over the long term, revenue growth powers 75 % of total #ShareholderReturn (TSR) for the upper-quartile value creators of the S&P 500. Even in the short term, growth accounts for nearly a third of TSR for these out-performers—double the boost from improving Margins or #Cashflow…A growing business also Empowers Employees, Attracts Top-talent, and helps Fund Expansion, Transformation, and more Growth…!!

Growth is an imperative. But it needs to be profitable growth—and that is not a given…!!

In the recent era of uncertainty and financial constraint, many companies have focused on efficiency. They have energetically cut costs, even in the “go-to-market” commercial functions crucial to driving revenue—sales, marketing, pricing, branding, and customer insight. These companies have achieved productivity gains, but they’ve reached the point of diminishing returns. We’re learning again that we can’t cut our way to growth..

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A small set of successful companies are taking a different path…They are transforming their commercial functions and capabilities to create an engine of short-term revenue growth and long-term profit. They are doing so with little risk…These near-term victories are “ Self-Funding” the creation of #StrategicCapabilities..

These leading companies are taking advantage of what The BCG, calls the “Go-to-Market Revolution”…!!

The Go-to-Market Revolution is a wave of technological and customer-driven change that is altering the level of sophistication with which companies deploy their commercial capabilities. This new era hasn’t altered the fundamentals required for go-to-market excellence, but it is creating new possibilities. It is taking what is now possible—the current state of the art in commercial functions—to the next level.

THREE Tides of Deep-rooted Change are driving the revolution…The first is the dramatic shift, in almost every industry, of what BCG calls customer pathways—the ways customers learn and communicate about products and services on the path toward a purchase. Second, technology and advanced analytics are providing new tools for sales and pricing teams, marketers, and researchers. Third and finally, companies now navigate a globalizing world that requires most of them to compete in new markets, often against unfamiliar rivals. (See “A Revolution Driven by Three Tides of Change,” below)..

A Revolution Driven by THREE Tides of Change :

The rich opportunities—and the perils of failing to act—emerge in the details of the three historic and concurrent tides of change driving the Go-to-Market Revolution..

1. Customer Pathways – The first tide is the rapid recent evolution of what BCG calls customer pathways. The ways consumers learn about and buy products have shifted dramatically and quickly, triggered by changes in technology, communications, and media..

2. Advanced Data and Analytics – The second driver of change could be called the go-to-market arsenal…It is the rapid and transformative evolution of “smart” data, advanced analytics and modeling, and other tools capable of increasingly sophisticated approaches in segmenting and analyzing information and reaching customers…The data revolution has transformed business sectors, from retail to financial services. For example, one vehicle company in India was able to map more than 95 percent of all its potential customers in the country—who bought what and where—in less than three months..

3. Global and Emerging Markets – The final driver of the “Go-to-Market Revolution is Globalization”, which creates two fundamental commercial challenges..First, “Globalization” has changed the competitive landscape in every market…The rise of globalization has opened labor markets and expanded offshore production, resulting in lower product costs in developed countries even as it destabilized brands and prices. Globalization is also ushering foreign competitors to the doorstep of domestic businesses. It is shortening product cycles and speeding shifts in consumer tastes. Go-to-market strategies need to adapt to these dynamic market conditions..

Second, ” Globalization in Emerging Economies” has been accompanied by rapidly expanding wealth. Consequently, emerging markets represent a huge source of growth…The challenge is this: most companies have commercial capabilities in emerging economies that are less sophisticated than those in established markets. Accurate data can be scarce, rendering marketing ROI calculations difficult. Distribution channels are a mix of modern options—such as mobile—and Old World…And the recipe for commercial success differs significantly by country… Winning in India and China may require fundamentally divergent approaches…To succeed, companies must create emerging-market commercial capabilities that are as sophisticated and promising as the growth opportunity…!!

A Self-Funding Go-to-Market Transformation :

A go-to-market transformation aggressively retools a company’s commercial functions—sales, marketing, pricing, branding, and customer insight—to exploit the new possibilities while navigating a fast-moving landscape. It adapts processes to changing customer pathways and needs, prepares the company to face new global markets and competitors, and arms its go-to-market teams with the latest and most effective technology…

Go-to-market transformation is a particularly potent lever for growth because it exploits tactical, short-term victories to fund broader commercial transformation over the medium term…For example, one company started with a sales force effectiveness program that drove more than $20 million in near-term value—an early success that energized the organization and created a financial foundation for a broader go-to-market transformation. From such beginnings, the ambitious company funded a larger set of programs, which in turn produced a step-change in both commercial capabilities and value delivery..

This transformational approach contrasts with conventional attempts to adapt through continuous improvement—a recipe for simply keeping pace with market growth. Our view is that, for most companies, the current scope of change in the commercial landscape is too disruptive for incremental change to be effective. Maximizing value requires an aggressive and dedicated response..

Commercial transformation has a confirmed record of success in generating growth for a broad range of companies worldwide. They include a global manufacturer of mobile handsets, a European gas and energy utility, a U.S.-based retail bank, retailers, postal operators, and media companies…

The resulting revenue benefits are powerful in today’s era of difficult growth, when even modest revenue growth can create substantial shareholder value. Mature companies that increased their #Topline, by just 2 percentage points or more delivered shareholder returns 40 percent higher than the market average…!!

Growth Zealot or Go-to-Market Laggard ? :

Your company can ignore the potential benefits of the Go-to-Market Revolution, but it can’t avoid the perils of failing to take part. The gap between capability leaders and laggards is growing…If you are prepared to be a zealot for growth, here is a sample sequence of actions and best practices to consider…

  • Start with vision and ambition. Does your company currently have the vision to transform your go-to-market capabilities? Do you have the ambition to increase your top line 10 or 20 percent beyond current projections in the next few years? A necessary First-step is helping your #LeadershipTeam, understand the opportunities inherent in the #Go-to-Market, Revolution..
  • Undertake a quick initial diagnostic step. Map how your customers’ purchase pathways have changed. Assess your commercial capabilities: marketing, pricing, sales, branding, and insight…Determine where you stand compared with best-in-class competitors and identify which commercial functions offer the greatest near-term opportunity : 
  • Tailor a series of programs to build capabilities and improve performance simultaneously. For example, start with a high-impact pricing initiative. Some leading companies we know have begun with a pricing program that added tens of millions of dollars to the bottom line. Simultaneously, the programs have funded development of new pricing tools and capabilities, such as sophisticated discounting, mobile technologies, and advanced analytics.
  • With initial success in place, expand your efforts rapidly. For example, launch a program that boosts marketing effectiveness—such as a brand advocacy campaign. Then launch another—such as a sales-activation initiative—to equip your sales force with a technical arsenal of twenty-first-century tools.
  • Make no mistake, you may need several waves of activity to meet your objectives in each commercial discipline. Indeed, achieving your overall profit and strategy goals will take years, not months. If it’s done right, however, the journey will be self-funded. What is more, every growth gain and each advance in capabilities can create a reinforcing cycle of improvement for the entire enterprise.
  • Crucial to Success in this Endeavor is capable “#ExecutiveLeadership”. Company leaders must be committed to guiding and supporting the transformation across all three tides of change that drive the Go-to-Market Revolution: the new and uncharted pathways your customers are taking to discover and purchase your products; the evolution of data, advanced technologies, and analytics that can re-arm your commercial teams; and the rise of emerging markets, which brings new growth and also new global competitors..

These are real challenges…For the bold, though, they present powerful paths to competitive advantage…The growth zealot must be a Leader—able to inspire Executives, Managers, and Employees ; capable of transforming the whole by reinventing its parts; and committed to forging a new commercial future for the enterprise..!!