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To Be Aware, Start from the Inside

Once again, I’m working with a group of motivated professionals who all have good jobs—careers even—but no college degree. They’re enrolled in a degree-completion program at Southern Oregon University called Innovation and Leadership. They’re taking my class Working with Emotional Intelligence and are all making strides toward increasing their own EI. It’s amazing how simple it is if you focus on it!

This blog post shares their first assigned Exploration toward developing EI.* It all begins with self-awareness. As you read through the Exploration, consider how you relate to the content and what you can do to increase your own EI.

Exploration #1

Are you aware of how you feel—and how you respond to those feelings? We can go through our day on automatic pilot, which works for tasks that don’t require much thought like brushing our teeth or taking a shower. There are times, however, when being mindless about situations causes us to react instead of respond in a proactive manner. If we get an email or call from someone that angers us, do we stop to think about the emotion, where it came from, and how to respond in a way that results in beneficial outcomes? Or do we unconsciously react in a manner that undermines or sabotages relationships with self or others?

When we are aware of how we are feeling inside, we are more likely to consciously choose a response instead of reacting without considering  the results of our actions. Try to take some time to become aware of how you feel in different situations and why. Recognize your emotions and the effects of those emotions.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What am I feeling right now?
  • What has caused me to feel this way?
  • What are the thoughts that follow that emotion?
  • How does that thought align or not align with my values?
  • Have I experienced this before?
  • What could I change to bring these thoughts into closer alignment with my values?

You may want to target a problem situation and increase your awareness about the emotions, thoughts, and reactions regarding the problem. You do not have to do anything different during this time—simply be aware of how you are feeling, what is causing those feelings, and how they correspond with your core values. Remember, this exploration focuses on self-awareness; you do not have to fix anything. Simply be aware, starting from the inside.

Consider your experiences, what you learned, and what did or did not work for you. You may even want to journal about this topic.

Want to Boost Your EI?

If you’re interested in learning more about emotional intelligence, let’s talk. I help both individuals and teams increase their individual and collective EI.

*Adapted from Dr. Jennifer Joss’ “Living With” EI exercises.
WHY BOTHER WITH EI?

What will get you $29,000 more per year, make you 58% more effective at your job, and rank you with 90% of top performers? Greater emotional intelligence.

Unless you want to be among the 80% of low-EQ employees classed as “bottom performers,” it’s time to discover how you can accelerate your career and become a better leader by developing your emotional intelligence.

Studies show those with average IQs outshine their highest-IQ counterparts 70% of the time because of their EQ.

Whereas IQ and personality are static elements of your makeup, you can always increase your emotional intelligence (thanks to the wonders of neuroplasticity)—and doing so will make a surprising difference in both your life and work.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

In a recent Forbes article, bestselling coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and cofounder of Talent Smart Travis Bradberry describes the two primary competencies and four core skills that make up emotional intelligence.

Personal Competence

This first competency comprises self-awareness (observation) and self-management (actions). Your observation skills, sensitivity, and ability to control your emotions come into play here. How conscious are you of your emotions, and how accurate are your self-perceptions? Do you practice mindfulness to remain aware of your emotions, and are you able to take a step back and regulate them when needed? How malleable are you, and can you transform a negative emotion into a positive action?

Social Competence

This competency focuses on social awareness (observation) and relationship management (actions), mapping the reflection and regulation required for personal competence to social situations and relationships. How well do you understand the motives, actions, and moods of those around you? Do you intuitively sense people’s emotions and accurately perceive their intentions? Can you use these perceptions to navigate relationships and communicate successfully?

This section is excerpted from our previous blog post Want to Accelerate Your Career? The Magic Formula = EI + Coaching. See original article for more details.

Got Toxins? Get Good at Conflict.

Isn’t it invigorating when things are clicking along at your company—when your team is all on the same page and working together to get important work done?

Or are you reading this saying, “I wish it was like that!”

If it’s not like that, what’s going on? Is performance tanking? Is communication falling apart? Is turnover high? Is absenteeism skyrocketing?

If you’re nodding your head, then here’s a question: What “team toxins” are causing conflict—and how are you handling them?

You know every organization (every relationship for that matter) experiences conflict. But did you know there’s such a thing as good conflict? Yep. When there’s constructive conflict, your team develops greater trust and becomes stronger.

However, when team toxins creep into day-to-day operations and conflict is not handled well, your team begins a downward spiral that may be impossible to arrest.

According to positive psychologist John Gottman (The Relationship Cure), these team toxins are criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling, and contempt. Gottman refers to these toxins as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It’s vital that your team understands these toxins and strives to keep them at bay. Letting them creep into your organization is the quickest way to undermine performance.

Take a close look at these toxins, learn how to recognize them, and review the “antidotes” so you can handle conflict successfully through positive communication.

1) Personal Criticism

Aggressive attack, bullying, chronic blaming, domination

Learn to understand the difference between complaining and criticizing—and turn the complaint into a request when possible.

Criticism: “You’re always late! You never think about anyone but yourself!”

Complaint: “When you are late, it throws the entire team off schedule.”

Request: “When you are late, I have to reschedule the entire team. Please let us know if something unexpected comes up that will detain you.”

Also, remember that criticizing the person is hurtful. Your intention is most likely to criticize the idea or action, not the person. The antidote? Talk about your feelings using “I” statements and express a positive need.

2) Defensiveness

Deflection, unopen to influence

When we feel unjustly accused, our natural response is to look for excuses to justify our actions.

Question: “Did you let production know that our prototype is not going to be ready as we promised?”

Defensive response: “You know how busy I am. Why didn’t you just do it?”

Better response: “Wow, I was so busy today, I forgot. I apologize. Let me call them now and let them know.”

The best antidote is to accept your teammate’s perspective, take responsibility, and offer an apology for any wrongdoing.

3) Stonewalling

Disengagement, passivity, yes men, avoidance, unopen to influence

This usually happens as a response to chronic contempt. The listener shuts down and simply stops responding—or they resort to other behavior such as turning away or tuning out.

It takes time for most people to reach the stage of stonewalling/shutting down; the best antidote is to take a break and spend time doing something soothing before regrouping and openly discussing the situation.

4) Contempt

Demeaning, disrespect, undermining, hostile

This may be the most destructive horseman. Contempt goes far beyond criticism, attacks the person’s moral character, and insinuates superiority over them. It’s destructive both mentally and physically. Research shows that people in contemptuous relationships are more likely to suffer from an infectious illness like the flu or a cold! In a marriage, it is the single greatest predictor of divorce. It must be eliminated in all relationships—personal and professional. As an antidote, remind yourself of the person’s positive qualities and build a culture of appreciation.

Now that you know what the Four Horsemen are and how to counteract them with proven antidotes, you’ve got the essential tools to create constructive conflict, develop more organizational trust, and create a more positive work environment. As soon as you see criticism or contempt galloping in, remember their antidotes. Be vigilant. The more you can keep the Four Horsemen at bay, the more likely you are to have a positive and productive workplace.

If you’re looking to create a more positive culture in your work environment, call 541.601.0114 or email Chris for an initial conversation. Let’s tap into your organization’s positivity and unleash its potential.

An enthusiastic shout-out to Faith Fuller and Marita Frijhon, CRR Global, for introducing me to this concept as part of Organizational & Relationship Systems Coach Training.

Business Success: It’s All About EX (Experience)

Promise Big and Deliver Bigger

What do successful companies have in common? They all have robust, differentiated brands; fervent clients; and a culture driven by a shared vision, values, and purpose—all focused on their clients. As I’ve recently been reminded, the secret to success lies at the intersection of client experience, employee experience, and brand experience. These functions work together to deliver your firm’s brand promise and showcase your value proposition.

In this blog post, I recall a recent conversation I had with Alder Yarrow, CXO (chief experience officer) at San Francisco design agency CIBO, and inspiration from the article referenced below by Tim Asimos. I’ve got to admit, the CXO title was new to me—and I LOVE it! Here we go! Thanks, Alder and Tim!

Your brand is not a logo, label, or website—it’s your promise: At its core, a brand exists in the mind of your audience. It’s the sum of their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with your firm—the good, bad, and ugly.

Every brand, regardless of the industry, promises something. Marketing and branding should reinforce what your existing clients experience when they interact with you and offer potential clients/customers a glimpse of what they can expect.

Branding is the process of defining, conveying, and maintaining your firm’s core values and differentiators. It’s about figuring out who you are, what you stand for, and why it matters to your audience—and then reinforcing that promise in a meaningful and consistent way.

Strategic marketing promotes that promise: To successfully hold its place in the market, an organization needs a codified brand strategy. Marketing plans are fluid and change over time as new information and opportunities become available. But the brand strategy should remain intact over a long period of time. (Think how long “I ♥ New York” and “Virginia is for Lovers” have heralded these super-successful state tourism brands.)

The promise is realized through experience: Your firm’s brand promise can only be realized through the experience you serve your clients. No amount of marketing and communication can change what clients actually experience. This is why it’s critical to align brand experience and client experience.

We all can think of a brand whose marketing promises are completely incongruent from what customers actually encounter. Sadly, Gallup surveys have consistently found that most companies fail to live up to their brand promises. Experience is where your branding is either validated or discredited. So get clear on your brand promise, build your marketing strategy around it, and let customer experience be its showcase!

How’s It Going?

We’re always eager to see great brands in action, so please share your successes and best practices. Please post here or email me at chris@capiche.us. I’d also love to chat. Perhaps we can help you build a brand experience that matches your desired brand. Call me at 541.601.0114.

Here’s to your successful brand!

Note: This post was inspired by Tim Asimos’ article “The Convergence of Experience To Deliver Your Brand Promise” and a recent conversation with Alder Yarrow, CXO at CIBO.

Reflections on 2018 and Looking Ahead—It’s All About Relationships

This time of year, “best of” lists are abundant—from movies to cookbooks to comics and more. One of my annual favorites is from NPR’s All Songs Considered. I’ve been a fan for years and always enjoy comparing my picks with theirs.

This year, give yourself the gift of reflecting on your “best of” and appreciating all that’s good in your life. As I was writing this, it became crystal clear that the things that made 2018 so good weren’t things at all. They were people and the relationships that made my life feel full and rich.

As you reflect, ask yourself:

  • Which people in my life contributed to my happiness and success in 2018?
  • Whom do I wish I had seen more of?
  • Which partnerships were most fruitful?
  • What am I most proud of—and who helped me along the way?
  • What are my big learnings from this past year?
  • What and whom am I grateful for and appreciating?
  • What is there for me to acknowledge about myself in 2018?

Overall, what do you see as you reflect on 2018? How would you rate this year on a scale of 1–10, and what would have made it a 10 out of 10?

Now, let’s look ahead.

  • What excites you about the coming year?
  • What are your key goals and objectives for 2019? Who will help you achieve them?
  • Where and how do you want to stretch yourself in 2019?
  • Which people in your life will help you make 2019 a 10 out of 10 year—both personally and professionally?

Is there a possible theme for the year that could serve as a structure and anchor to lock in a resonant 2019? A song? Movie? Perhaps a book, a poem—or even a person. Let me know, and happy new year!

Thanks to my former coach Lorry Schneider and dear friends Faith Fuller and Marita Fridjhon for the inspiration for this post.

What Employees Want from Their Boss

This morning I was watching a video in my USA Today newsfeed, and I came across an article about five things a boss looks for in an employee. What the video didn’t note is that employees look for the same five things in their boss. It got me to thinking about the strategy session I just led for a multi-state business. It came to light at the outset of the strategy session—and was reinforced throughout—that bosses and employees are looking for the same things in one another and need to have the ability to hold each other accountable.

Here’s a tool to help make that happen: a designed team alliance (DTA). I start each strategy session with a DTA, something I learned from my work with CRR Global. A DTA sets the stage for a productive meeting, workshop, or any sort of session where people come together to accomplish a goal. Participants agree upon how they want to “be” together and how to handle conflict when it occurs. For example, traits that come up as desirable often include: respect, openness to new ideas, listening, promptness, equal participation, and confidentiality. Undesirable behavior may include judgment, interrupting others, checking emails, and using cell phones.

Designed Team Alliance Meeting NotesIn the training I led last week, one of the values the team agreed on was no BS—and to call it if you see it. Just as important as creating a productive space is agreeing on how to handle conflict.

This strategy session went beautifully, and when we hit the point where everyone was being assigned specific tasks to help the organization meet measurable goals, the issue of accountability came up.

For all of you leaders, I promise your employees are seeking accountability (and no BS) from you. You must take your “assignments” and deadlines as—or even more—seriously as your team. If you are counting on them to complete tasks in a timely manner, they need to know they can count on you to do the same.

They want to know what you are doing to help further the organization. They want transparency. And they want to be able to tell you when something you’re doing is not working.

However, this can be complicated.

It’s up to you as a leader to facilitate and nurture a climate that allows employees to talk with you frankly and openly, even if it’s a message you don’t want to hear. If you want your team to be all in, you have to be willing to accept the same kinds of feedback you give your employees.

Looking to create a more productive workplace? Let’s get started with a DTA for your team. Call me at 541.601.0114 or email chris@capiche.us.

Winning with Joy: The Golden State Warriors

I don’t usually do this, but after a meeting last week with friend and colleague Diana Hartley, I was inspired. She told me about her love for the Golden State Warriors and how it came to be. This story resonated with me so strongly I had to share. Below is Diana’s article.

Note: This post was originally published at Diana Hartley Consulting. Thanks to Diana for allowing us to republish it here.

Sports has never been my thing. I was raised in New York City, which meant my family’s sports were shopping and going out to eat. As a child raised partially in Manhattan and West LA, I did attend a few Dodgers games and one or two evenings of Golden Gloves boxing (of all places for my dad to take us in our white gloves and Mary Janes!).

Sports was never encouraged, so after a few attempts at biking and roller skating and falling into rose bushes, I gave up in favor of indoor activities such as ballet, jazz, and tap. I was in LA, and that’s what young ladies did at the time. It took decades, but sports showed up big time last year, and I am thrilled it did.

Last year when my friend Jim started talking a mile a minute (not his normal speed) about Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, I listened. His nonstop enthusiasm brought me into his living room to watch Steph and the team do remarkable things night after night, game after game—all the way through the playoffs and their championship win. Wow, such happy energy, such honest victories. I was smitten.

I think what really made me fall in love, besides the high I always get from watching excellence, was how the team seemed to be coached. Something was different about the Warriors. I could feel it. Head Coach Steve Kerr stressed having fun while still being able to compete at the highest level.

“It’s a long season, this was meant to be fun,” he was quoted as saying in a CBS Bay Area article in 2015.

His style seemed down to earth, positive, and highly effective, with no BS and very little ego. In the same article, he described four important values from his coaching philosophy. They are joy, compassion, mindfulness, and competition. Who would have thought three of these values would be soft skills?

Even though the NBA basketball season is the longest in sports—with six more weeks of playoffs until the final championship game—the Warriors brought it with heart and savvy to each and every game. They had what it took to finish the season as champs. Steve’s humane coaching style, generally relaxed demeanor, and wry sense of humor kept everyone grounded and focused.

“When we hit those four things, we’re not only very tough to beat, but we’re very fun to watch, we’re very fun to coach, we’re very fun to be around,” he told the reporter.

How could these values be used to coach a sports team? How does Kerr use them to bring success to his team? Can joy, compassion, and mindfulness really be part of a winning strategy in the highly competitive world of professional basketball? We’re talking about an organization worth $3.1 billion. Do soft skills generate sports dominance and billions of dollars, too? It appears so for the Golden State Warriors organization.

I am not in the locker room or practice facility nor at courtside, but I intuit the word “joy” to mean a great, easy enjoyment for playing with teammates who love the game equally. The Warriors really seem to love what they do, and their enthusiasm is contagious. As their fans know, when the Warriors are on, you can feel the joy in your living room.

The team plays for the love of the game, and that’s joy. Kerr’s coaching style supports handpicked players who work hard for each other because they are all crazy about basketball. It gives them the juice to play a tough game night in and night out for months on end. I believe their natural exuberance comes from team pride and a desire to deliver victories to their huge fan base, both young and old.

Mindfulness, well, that’s another story. I don’t know what that means to Coach Kerr, but for me it is staying tuned to the present moment, acknowledging and respecting others. I see this presence and lack of negativity each time a player is interviewed, teaches their youngest fans the fundamentals of the game, or speaks lovingly about the charities they so generously donate time and money to. These individuals care about others a great deal.

Compassion is empathy at its best. I know that when I feel compassion, I extend my heart to others and am open to understanding them even when it’s hard, even when I don’t like them. It is a belief in people, fairness, and acceptance. Compassion means caring for others, sometimes more than yourself. I see this in the unselfish way the Warriors share the ball as they play. Kerr supports team victories, not star player victories.

And, of course, the last value—competition—must be present to be your best in the world. For the Warriors, I do not think competition means “winning at any cost” because the other three values make competition a game, not ego enhancement. They are great role models for fairness in sports and the many young people who look up to them. This means they competite to win, naturally, but they also compete with themselves to be better every day. All great athletes compete with themselves first.

Why did I share this blog on Coach Kerr and the Warriors (besides being a crazy fan)? Okay, so I wanted to write about them for a while, but I also wanted to show you a winning example of cooperation, teamwork, joy, mindfulness, and compassion, within a competitive business. I wanted you to see that a team, with fans throughout the world, can be role models for how we interact with others in everyday life and can create a win-win situation.

I know that if all of us can embody these values in our daily lives, we will find a way to create a world that works for us all. That is my hope for a brighter future.

So, go out there and be a warrior of joy.

Photo: Thanks to Ron Adams, Ray Rider, and Matt de Nesnera of the Golden State Warriors organization for this photo.

It’s Time to Use Big Data! (Here Are 5 Mistakes to Avoid)

Far too few businesses are using big data to support their decision making. In January 2018, a senior analyst with Forbes revealed that business competitors are using data to come after your customers. The Harvard Business Review surveyed Fortune 1000 business executives and found the most common reasons for using big data were to decrease expenses, improve operational efficiency, make more informed decisions, and increase revenue. And 80% say their investments in big data are successful.

Basing business decisions on big data is great—except when it’s not. Basing high stakes decisions on poor-quality research is a recipe for financial disaster.

Here are some of the most common big data errors we see:

  1. Misleading statistics. You may remember the advertisements claiming 80% of all dentists recommend Colgate toothpaste, leading the consumer to believe 20% of the dentists recommended different brands. The truth, though, was that when the dentists were surveyed about the toothpastes they recommended, they were allowed to identify all of the brands of toothpaste they would recommend; other brands could have been equally as or more popular than Colgate.
  2. Failure to test the survey questions. It’s easy to create a set of survey questions and send them out through SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics. But if you haven’t pretested and piloted the questions, you can end up with questions that make sense to you—but not to the person taking your survey. Recently, we were asked to complete a survey about our spending on wine purchases made at wineries. Unfortunately, it was unclear whether our spending was to include—or exclude—wine purchased from the winery as part of a wine club membership. Had the survey been pilot-tested, this flaw would have been quickly identified and corrected before deployment.
  3. Biased interpretation of findings. It matters who does the analysis of survey responses to open-ended questions. This is especially true when a survey is conducted in-house because it is difficult for staff to separate themselves from the data. Unless your team has a staff member specifically trained in eliminating bias, it’s better to outsource your research.
  4. Lack of candor from survey participants. Your customers generally do not want to hurt your feelings. They are not going to tell you directly your annual customer appreciation event is a dud. This is especially the case where staffing is concerned—and even more so if the staff person administering the survey is also the source of dissatisfaction.
  5. Failure to collect data. Fewer than half of all businesses collect data at all. In retail businesses, many do not have any idea how many customers come through the door each day, which means the average sales per customer is also an unknown. You can get a ballpark idea using a people-counting electronic system. Sure, the UPS or FedEx carrier may walk through each day, as may staff, but that number will be fairly consistent and you will have a tangible way to measure growth in the number of customers coming through the door. And you’ll know which staff are doing the best job selling your product and which may need additional training—or a new line of work.

The Capiche team possesses more than 20 years of qualitative and quantitative research experience. We understand the importance of valid survey tools and test them thoroughly before deployment. Our most popular surveys have been used thousands of times. Your customers can respond honestly, and we can analyze the survey data without bias because we are a third party. Our only interest is helping you achieve greater success. And we can generally deploy a survey and have findings back to you in less than 45 days. Call us at 541.601.0114, email chris@capiche.us, or use our Contact form today to learn how we can help you leverage quality big data to grow your business now.

Lots to Complain About at Work? Here’s a Better Tactic

Have you ever had a moment of realization that all you’ve been doing lately is complaining? It can happen to the best of us. With blatant disregard for schedules, increasing incivility as the norm, and an ever-multiplying pile of work on our plates, it’s no surprise. Seems there’s plenty to complain about.

So how are your complaints received? In most cases, I’m guessing your answer is “not so well.”

Here’s another idea. See if you can find a request in your complaint—and get curious. Instead of complaining about Amber’s perpetual tardiness and Jason’s curt tone in meetings, try these two tactics.

  1. Find the request in your complaint. Decide what would make the situation better and ask for it. Make the request. This is the most straightforward and emotionally intelligent tactic. And you’ll be surprised how effective it is! (e.g., Instead of complaining to whomever will listen that Amber is always late, you say directly, “Amber, your tardiness upsets the team’s workflow. Would you please be more conscientious about our starting time?” She replies, “Oh, I apologize. Sometimes I get so caught up in my kids’ last-minute needs, I forget that you are counting on me to …”)
  2. Get curious. See what you can uncover about the offender. You may find legitimate circumstances contributing to the offensive behavior. And you may find you have more in common than you ever imagined. While that doesn’t excuse the behavior, it can help you develop a better relationship so you can talk reasonably about the behavior and make the request described in Tactic #1. These relationships create long-term benefits when you have ongoing collaborations.

What’s so bad about complaining? Plenty. It derails progress, creates negativity, and amplifies the annoyance and destructive feelings already present. It improves nothing.

You may be surprised how pervasive complaining is in our culture. When legendary Executive Coach Marshall Goldsmith interviewed more than 200 of his clients, he discovered something that matched previous research he had read but still found hard to believe: “a majority of employees spend 10 or more hours per month complaining—or listening to others complain. Even more amazing, almost a third spend 20 hours or more per month doing so.”

Just think what could be possible if that time was shifted to actively asking for what you need and building relationships. A lot more positivity and progress would be possible—and isn’t that what we strive for?

If you’re looking to create a more positive culture in your work environment, call 541.601.0114 or email Chris for an initial conversation. Let’s tap into your organization’s positivity and unleash its potential.

Inspired by The Next Time You Want to Complain at Work, Do This Instead, by Peter Bregman

What’s Your Brand?

Branding is all the buzz and has been for some time, but branding can be confusing. What exactly is a brand? And how do you come up with your brand?

Let me answer by saying what a brand isn’t.

Your brand isn’t your logo, your colors, your fonts, or your website. These are simply reflections of your brand. Furthermore, you don’t “come up with” a brand—you uncover it. It’s what is real, honest, and believable about your organization or product.

It’s your DNA.

A brand also is the sum total of all associations made with an organization or product. It’s the good, the bad, and the ugly—the attributes that are called to mind when one thinks of your organization or product.

Every organization has existing brand associations it wants to emphasize, maintain, and even possibly lose. Brand development moves you from your current brand to your desired brand. And to be successful, your desired brand must be in sync with your organization’s values, vision, passion, and purpose.
Branding Sweet Spot

Differentiation and Integration

There are two key principles of brand development: differentiation and integration.

  • Differentiation suggests that the only sustainable market position is one in which you are offering something significantly different from and better than your competitors. These differentiators must evolve from current brand associations and be infused into the customer’s experience in real ways to be credible.

Only through research can we can identify an organization’s current brand associations and relevant differentiators—along with understanding client/customer needs and perceptions.

  • Integration means all marketing communications and activities reinforce the same core differentiators. In other words, integration requires that the organization is using one clearly defined voice across the board and up and down the line.

An organization’s brand should drive marketing strategies and all business decisions and give the organization something to live up to. For example, Apple invests millions of dollars annually to showcase its brand of innovation and high design. And Zappos’ entire culture is created to live its brand of happy employees, which leads to great customer service (and significant profits).

When your people are living your brand, their personal values are in sync with the company’s. They are happier, more productive, and your best ambassadors. Involve them from the start; get clear on values, vision, passion, and purpose; walk the talk; and enjoy your success!

SMART Brand Strategy
SIMPLE The more details we provide, the more vaguely we communicate
MEANINGFUL Must emphasize something that matters to our target audiences
ACCURATE Must truly describe the organization or product
REINFORCED Strategic business decisions must enforce the brand strategy
TANGIBLE Must be exhibited in clear ways in every customer experience

Uncover Your Brand

If you are ready to uncover your brand and solidify your company culture, give us a call at 541.601.0114 or contact us today. Let Capiche help you take your organization to the next level!

Old Tech for the New Gen: Millennials Love Snail Mail!

Note: This post was originally published at our sister site, Capiche.wine.
One of our biggest marketing surprises over the last few years has been how strongly millennials—the generation of digital natives—respond to direct mail. According to USPS Mail Moments 2016, millennials are more likely to read, organize, and sort their mail than all other generations. They are also less likely to discard their mail without reading it.

Millennials enjoy receiving mail more than their non-millennial counterparts, debunking the notion that the generation is paper-adverse. Half of millennials say they like to discover what the mail holds for them and consider their time engaging with mail as time well spent. As many as 34% feel excited at the prospect of checking their mail.

Why do these smartphone-addicted, electronically wired consumers still respond so strongly to print? Could it be, in part, how we are physically and psychologically wired? The answer is yes. Neuromarketing research shows our brains react differently to printed material than to digital media.

When the United States Postal Service partnered with the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business to gauge responses to physical and digital advertising pieces, they found:

  • Participants processed digital ad content more quickly and spent more time with physical ads.
  • Physical ads triggered activity in a part of the brain that corresponds with the emotions that determine value and desirability.
  • With this stronger emotional response to physical ads, participants remembered them better.

Using brain images, biometrics (e.g., heart rate and blood pressure), eye tracking, and questionnaires to measure reactions, Canada Post found similarly intriguing results in its neuromarketing research. When they measured the response to campaigns that used the same creative approach and messaging for both physical and digital media, they found:

  • Direct mail campaigns required 21% less cognitive effort to process.
  • Participants’ recall was 70% higher if they were exposed to direct mail rather than a digital ad.
  • Activation in parts of the brain that correspond to motivation response was 20% higher for direct mail.

As human beings, we are wired to respond more strongly to physical, printed messages. For marketers who want advertising with long-lasting impact and easy recollection, printed materials clearly make a difference.

When planning your next marketing campaign, remember that physical mail—whether a letter, special offer, brochure, or flyer—presents a clear benefit that your consumers can engage with and respond to, providing ample opportunity to reach the generation with the most spending power: millennials.

Words of advice. Don’t send junk. Each piece of mail without perceived value chips away at your brand. Make it engaging. Make it worthwhile. Make it something shareable—person to person. Via snail mail. And maybe (wink) even on social media.

Is your organization ready for a fresh marketing campaign? Let us know. We would love to get you started.

Excerpted and edited from the USPSDelivers.com presentation Still Relevant: A Look at How Millennials Respond to Direct Mail (2017). Originally posted at Capiche.wine.
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