Shawn Parr is the CEO of Bulldog Drummond, a design and innovation consultancy headquartered in San Diego. Shawn has worked with companies such as Starbucks, Jack in the Box, Adidas, MTV, Virgin, Disney, and Nike. As we enter 2011, I asked him for a list of the top ten goals that brands should aspire to achieving in the New Year.
This is the list he came up with:
1. Dare to be different.
Be daring and take steps to ensure your company and your products stand out from the crowd. Look at what you did well in 2010 and what you could have been different. Take bold steps to help your brand stand out in 2011.
2. Have a clear purpose.
Make sure you go into the New Year with a clear and compelling mission and ask if you were living it in 2010. Make sure everyone on your team knows what it is, what business you’re in and what is expected of them. Look for creative ways to bring it to life with your team.
3. Listen and have something compelling to say.
Make a commitment to be a better listener in 2011. Commit to listen and then formulate your response. Actively seek your team’s input and feedback for new ideas. Listen to your consumers and understand what makes them tick. Listen to what they have to say and build a relevant and compelling conversation with them. Remember, if you’re not interesting or relevant, people will ignore you.
4. Pick a fight.
When you’ve got an opponent to beat, it increases your motivation to win, so choose an enemy to fight and rally your team around this battle. Make the enemy a competitor, a trend or an element of your internal culture, and put it up on the wall so your team can find motivation and focus in it.
5. Set a big goal.
Set at least one wild and audacious goal for 2011 -- something you’ve never tried before. Outline the goal, share it with your team and challenge them to play their part in achieving it. Make sure you celebrate the small victories and successes along the journey.
6. Inspire your team.
There’s nothing more important than your people, and there’s nothing more engaging than a team who feels acknowledged. Inspire them with your own attention and regular updates on the business. Also bring in relevant speakers and articles to keep them challenged.
7. Laugh a lot.
One of the best motivators for your team is a great work environment, and one of the best elements of a vibrant team environment is laughter. Next year do small things that make your employees smile. Along with laughter and a light-hearted environment, small gestures or events can make a big difference. And the benefits won’t just stop with your team -- they will show through everything that your brand does.
8. Plan the plan.
Commit to setting time aside to plan your year next year ahead. Set two days aside at the end of November every year to plan for the following year. Then take a day out every quarter to review how you’re doing against the plan and revise it where necessary. Every brand needs a plan. Make a commitment to write one.
9. Make friends.
Chart a “circle of love” and identify brands with similar values that you’d like to partner with in 2011. Assign someone to explore potential relationships and collaborations. You’ll be surprised by the results, even just the initial conversations you’ll have about your own brand.
10. Show your appreciation.
Do what your mother told you! Thanking people goes a long way to create valued and appreciated fans -- internally and externally. This year, find new ways to show you appreciate your team, your customers and your partners, in ways that truly make a difference in their lives. You’ll be surprised and delighted by the results.
Shawn’s list is a great list of marching orders for the New Year. Hope you achieve all ten and make 2011 the best year ever for your brand!