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Q2 & 3 – Marketing Predictions

Quarter 1 of 2022 has come to a close and we are nearly half-way into Q2 . Our prediction for Q2 continues to see further increase in M&As and a consolidation of markets. Throughout Q3 and beyond, we will also see stronger collaboration through joint ventures and initiative. Equally, we will see a down-turn and a change in consumer’s willingness to spend, continued move from global to local markets and an increased use of AI for marketing purposes.

While hospitality and event industries are re-inventing themselves, other business segments are trying to meet the uplift in sales. The job market has turned into a job seeker’s market and the propensity to switch employer has never been higher. There is some slowin

More change is coming and the continued political volatility (caused by more extreme governments, the Ukraine war, the instability around China and the change of conversations in the Middle East ) and a shift from global back to more local markets will continue to drive innovation but also demand more agile (closer to home) supply chains.

The World Bank is predicting slow-down for 2022 and increase of inflation (https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2022/01/11/global-recovery-economics-debt-commodity-inequality). In the meantime, we will see the META world growing exponentially and non-fungible-tokens become the ‘speculative-happy’s’ favourite past-time. Unfortunately, this will also mean that many will find escape in this surreal world and an outlet for their gambling habits – and while they are not gambling on sports, they will be giving their money away to purchase yet more non-real-life assets.

This is in the minority world.

The majority world, however, is seeing even further market decline and the developmental chasm will deepen. Yet, a number of countries like India and Nigeria might just prove this prediction wrong. Their recent investment in technology and entrepreneurship has the potential to support some of the newly created supply issues the minority world has yet to resolve.

Now what does that mean for marketing? Here our top 7 marketing predictions for Q2 and some of Q3 2022:

Advertising spending will rise initially with a focus on talent acquisition and small business innovation.

Culture wars in the US and somewhat later in the UK will most likely see more radical advertising and marketing campaigns. A good example of this is the recent campaign for Jeremy’s Razors which is not about the razors, but about a worldview. Brands previously following the loudest voice will have more opportunity to express alternative views. This could provide an interesting platform for creatives in the industry. Not just in Q2 and Q3 but beyond.

Brands need to keep an eye on disruptors from the majority world. Including these in any market research of online analysis will be prudent. Disruptors might not be local to the majority world, but might be a competitor who has chosen to take advantage of the increased know-how in majority world countries coupled with the still relatively low pricing.

Marketers will need to engage with the Meta world whether they want to or not. The talent of tomorrow is likely to hang out in this or similar spaces. Advertising in a magazine just does not cut it anymore :).

PR and what was traditionally known as ‘below the line marketing’ will continue to grow in importance. However rather than courting the media, brands will aim to drive more of their audience to owned media as well as courting them in online spaces. The difficulty will be how to balance resources and the vast array of spaces a brand could engage with.

AI for marketing: the sheer amount of work needed to identify, find and engage today’s online audience will see more and more brands use AI to meet the challenge.

Finally, with an increase in inflation, possible food shortages caused by the war in the Ukraine and resulting supply chain issues for agricultural commodities such as fertiliser, and an increased sense of insecurity, consumers will move to buying less and buying cheaper products or products which seem to offer more value. Marketeers need to be aware of this change and consider that anything which indicates price hikes or sacrifice for things such as Net Zero might no longer be welcomed as readily as in previous seasons. A shift in messaging will be away from “Net Zero” towards “Energy” and “Energy Security” in all its forms.

We live in a time which will require marketeers to think very strategically about the long-term market development. More than ever, it will be important to give time and resources to understand not only the economic situation but the impact the political stage will have on business, brands and spending.

(To read our Q1 forecast post, click below.)

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Chocolate Freedom

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Meet Simon and Sarah Wood, owners of Freedom Chocolate, an artisan chocolate brand, which appeals not to a niche of people, but young and old from all walks of life.

Freedom Chocolate makes it possible for those with allergens to enjoy rich, allergen free chocolate.

Simon and Sarah have developed a treat which is also ideal for vegans who love good quality and ethically sourced ingredients! 

Simon creates all chocolates by hand and uses only the finest of ingredients. He and Sarah ensure that all ingredients are ethically sourced and of the highest standards. For a small business this can be costly, but both agree: “It is worth it if it means people, especially children, are kept safe a result.”

Pick up some great tips about how to run your own chocolate business. What are the the ins and outs of setting up a chocolate business? How do you take the next steps from start-up to early stage business?

To find out more about Simon and Sarah and Freedom Chocolate, go to:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-wood-ab794a68/

Instagram.com/freedomchocolate

Facebook.com/freedomchocolate

https://freedomchocolate.co.uk

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Leadership beyond 2021 – what do we really need?

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What kind of leadership do we need in 2021 and beyond?

Will it need to be different? In which way? Or will we simply need good leadership, leadership which reads the times we are in and knows what is needed?

Does knowledge get in the way of leadership?

Is leadership purely transactional, based on knowledge, only based on data or do we need another level of leadership which puts wisdom, experience and possibly emotional intelligence first?

Is wisdom more important that knowledge?

Which countries’ leadership style will serve our future?

In this episode of Zeitgeist Leadership Pulse we explore where leadership is heading through and after the pandemic of Covid19 and what type of leadership will be needed 2021 on beyond. After (or still in) a pandemic, with Brexit in the UK and an increasing call for collaboration, what kind of leadership will succeed and where do we need to think differently?

We are talking to Stephen Gibbs, Principal Lecturer for Business and Leadership at the Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership, University of Cumbria, UK.

Connect with Steve here. He also has a fantastic blog, don’t miss! :
e. stephen.gibbs@cumbria.ac.uk

m. 07544 581601

linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-gibbs-5452a2a/

twitter: https://twitter.com/Stephen_Gibbs

blog: https://bloggulentgreytripe.com/

To find out how we at Zeitgeist Communication work with leaders to develop successful strategies and focus on clear communication with stakeholders and customers, contact us at hello@zeitgeistcomms.com or connect with us on our website at http://www.zeitgeistcomms.com.

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Social Media Hashtags 2021

Getting ready for 2021? The more organised, the better you can deliver on your social media and PR goals. There are many hashtag days you could include and it can get confusing what to use and what not.

We have made this easy for you and have curated the most useful hashtags for 2021 for small business owners or marketing and PR professionals working for SMEs or charities.

To get your free copy of the 2021 selection, register below.

Also, if you are looking for a social media planning tool which let’s you plan out multiple categories, schedule the same post several times, post directly to Instagram and more – and yes this is an affiliate link, but we really enjoy this tool and are sure you will, too – head on over to SmarterQueue.

And before we forget: we are also giving you access to a set of free Lake District-inspired social media backdrops. Sign up below and then head over to your email to download this free resource

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Reputation, the last thing on your mind? Think again.

Mistakenly leaders invest in PR when it is too late

“In your kind of business, you have to convince people that they need you.” – These words were spoken almost as a through-away comment in a business conversation. Yet, they are so true. Public Relations and reputation management far too often do not come into play until the crisis has hit. Then, naturally, people are convinced of their usefulness.

Business leaders are rightly focused on the next sale, the next hire, the next meeting and the way forward. Excellent business leaders, however, realise that tomorrow’s business relies on today’s reputation. Hiring PR professionals only as a way to ‘clean-up’ or to ‘prevent the worst’ rather than investing in your brand and good standing is a miscalculation.

Steady investment drives business

“Why?” The steady investment in a good reputation and strong relationships with stakeholders and media, while no insurance, provides the backdrop needed to call upon support and understanding when the chips are down. Furthermore, sales depend on reputation.

Trigger-happy finger pointing

The current Zeitgeist in countries such as the UK and USA is marked by purchase decision-making which is no longer based on products and prices. Rather, we are seeing a strong desire to see brands contribute to the community in one way or the other. Unfortunately, this is compounded by trigger-happy finger-pointing at brands which do not measure up. The result is brand damage and loss of sales.

Public Relations must be part and parcel of any marketing strategy in today’s business environment. It cannot be an add-on.

Excellent reputation management will include three core elements:

– a consistent stakeholder strategy,
– an engaged social media strategy,
– committed media relations with long-term focus.

It is only through ongoing relationship building and dialogue that brands will be able to ascertain where the market and customers are heading. A clear Public Relations strategy identifies where reputational issues might pose a threat. Strong relationship management can build the understanding businesses need to create sustainable success. It is here that brand loyalty is won.

In today’s climate, business owners and leaders who spend little time and money on brand reputation are likely to be making a very bad investment decision.

Return on investment is about finances. Reputation is its breading ground.

If you are not thinking about reputation as a key vehicle to drive your ROI, think again.

Welcome Lizzie

#GrowingTheBusiness – We are excited to welcome Lizzie Hoffman as a new team member. Lizzie has come aboard as Digital Marketing Specialist.

Lizzie will be supporting our work in the UK and USA with a focus on the development and running of our clients’ Marketing campaigns. We asked Lizzie about coffee – well, we like coffee and just wanted to know where she stood :). Here what she said: ” I am an admitted coffee snob, and a big fan of independent business – we have a regular coffee haunt where my husband, dog Delilah and I wonder off to after a nice long hike.”

Well, we think that ticks the good coffee box and we are sure that Lizzie’s creativity and experience will certainly tick all the right boxes for the work with do with our clients. WELCOME LIZZIE! #Cumbria #LakeDistrict #USA #Strategy #CampaignPlanning #PR #Marketing

2022: M&As, IPOs and ‘true community’ brands

2020 and 2021 turned business upside down. On the one hand we’ve seen plenty of businesses close. On the other, in 2020 more than 4.3m new businesses started up in the USA alone (Forbes). Combined with the increase in digital innovation across SAAS and app development markets and the shift towards sustainability, the market is ripe for further growth, change and quite quickly also consolidation.

what’s the forecast?

2022 (and 2023) will be a year of mergers & acquisitions, listings and strong brands. The market is shifting. Bloomberg estimates that the global market will grow by 4.5% in 2022. This, of course, means very little if not compared against a backdrop of pre-pandemic predictions. The 2019 outlook, as per the International Monetary Fund read: “Global growth remains subdued. Global growth is forecast at 3.2 percent in 2019, picking up to 3.5 percent in 2020”. Now, of course, we realise that the pandemic created some interesting changes in the market and predictions, based on fiscal support, even estimated a 6 percent growth in 2021.

However, the 2022 figure is much more interesting. It is a reflection of forecasts which see a petering out of the Covid pandemic, stabilising of the supply chain and a drive to encourage spending. It also takes into account a globally new-found entrepreneurial spirit, the incessant drive to #netzero and, the every-rising influence of the new super-power, China and the wider Asian markets.

Deals will be made

Deals will be made, no doubt. Organic growth will continue, but quite quickly, we are likely to see consolidation, particularly in the clean climate industries which are under pressure to deliver at speed.

Will your brand be META or GREEN – or is there another way?

It is here that strong brands will be needed. The market is crowded with new new names, new brands, new ideas. It is in the midst of all this noise, that brands will need to find new ways to raise their game, lift their name and stand out from the rest.

So, what kind of branding are we likely to encounter? My prediction is that we will see two trends. One heading in the virtual direction of the META’s of this world and the other in the direction of even more green and simple.

Design-wise this will mean a move towards the psychedelic, tech inspired and, on the other hand, presenting the clean and simple a move towards ‘non-design’.

The Third option

Then there will be a third group. A group of brands which will capture people’s heart, tap into their need for true community (not simply artificially constructed online) and desire for stress-free, worry-free, common-sense clarity.

How to create a stand-out brand in 2022

For a chat about how your brand can achieve this and be part of community rather than dictating to the consumer, contact us. We’d love to help.

Oh, by the way, we can make flyers, but we don’t. We specialise in strategy.

Need PR support for your merger or acquisition?

And if you are looking at a merger or acquisition and need strategic PR support, reach out. With more than 25 years’ experience across industries, not-for-profits and education and dealing with M&S for Fortune 500s, our strategy consultants can help.

Communication know-how and leadership success with Josh Hoffman, Bechtel Zeitgeist Leadership Pulse

Josh Hoffman from Bechtel shares his thoughts on leadership and the need for purposeful communication. We discuss that leaders often  fail to get the best out of people due to lack of communication skills, inability to express what they really want and unwillingness to listen first. Josh also talks about leadership in the wider sense and is own growth as a leader. Josh grew up with his two parents and older sister.  Due to the nature of his dad's job in oil and gas, they lived in Washington State, USA, California, USA, Singapore and the UK.  From an early age, he enjoyed tinkering and was very inquisitive.  This, along with his dad's engineering influence, was the reason he chose to study Mechanical Engineering at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo.  While at university, he was able to break out of his shell and develop his passion for continuous learning.  He started his career moving to Houston, TX working for Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals as a Project Engineer.  This gave him the opportunity to dip his toes into the corporate world and utilize his engineering degree.  11 years and many assignments later, he lived in Soyo, Angola, travelled to New Delhi and London to train co-workers and commissioned a liquified natural gas facility in Western Australia.  Along the way, he met his wife, Lizzie, and managed to squeeze in their wedding a week before the world shut down due to COVID.  He enjoyed stints in Engineering, Business Development, Financial Planning and Analysis and now finds himself working as a Senior Cost Engineer in Pittsburgh, PA.  Josh has always been fascinated with the sociological dynamics of the workplace, getting to know people, what motivates them and how different people communicate and lead effectively. Favourite Book: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card Favourite Leadership Quote: “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” – Colin Powell How to connect: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshua-hoffman-89a01034/
  1. Communication know-how and leadership success with Josh Hoffman, Bechtel
  2. The Leadership Journey with Dianne Richardson, CEO BECBC
  3. Chocolate Freedom – running a chocolate business
  4. Leading without the job title – interview with Sellafield's Matthew Henry
  5. Leadership beyond 2021 – what do we really need?

Why does Amazon want to become the Earth’s Best Employer?

Any leader can tell you that people are at the heart of organisational success, more than procedures, more than promotion, more than any other element in the strategic mix.

People are the life-blood of strategy

Without people, strategies are no more than empty hieroglyphs on digital screens or, on occasion, also in print.

Interesting is that Amazon’s former CEO (who just stepped down this week), Jeff Bezos, did not seem to rotate his business around the human core. It is astounding, more so as he clearly has been extremely successful.

With what looks like a u-turn or a re-think, Amazon has, in the meantime, vowed to not only make Amazon the ‘Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.’, but also the ‘Earth’s Best Employer’. (https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/company-news/2020-letter-to-shareholders).

The vision, as you would expect from Bezos, is large, especially as ‘Amazon, best employer’ does not really ring-true. Yet, equally, as we consider its success, we will not be surprised – I certainly will not – if his vision becomes reality.

Customers and employees are not distinct

However, here is where I struggle to see how the two, the customer-centricity and employee-focus ended up in two different stages.

From a marketing and communications point of view, both, external customers and internal employees are indeed customers. Separating the two out is counter-productive.

Why?

It is simple. The reason lies in the concept of ownable truths.

If those on the ‘inside’ of the organisation experience and practice a customer-focused, customer-friendly, customer-centric approach and see their fellow employees as CUSTOMERS not colleagues, then this will translate on the outside.

What we experience on the inside rings true on the outside. What we say towards the outside rings true on the inside.

Brand delight

As a result, our brand identity experiences a oneness – and carries integrity – which translates into higher internal customer satisfaction and external customer brand delight.

Bezos’ desire to increase internal satisfaction has likely been born out of the fact that Amazon’s brand, if anything, has experienced the most dents around its perceived ‘just enough’ treatment of employees.

The speed of growth and strength of the brand’s competitiveness has somewhat covered up the less than perfect employee-brand relationship.

Stake in the business

Organisations wanting to grow at speed, while also building for the future, must see employees as customers and, to some extent, as partners. And while not all have shares in a business, they have a stake in the business.

Allocating funds towards their well-being, their involvement and their fair pay will, ultimately, pay off.

So the answer to the question, Why does Amazon want to become the Earth’s Best Employer?, is obvious; the realisation of it, potentially too late.

If there is nobody to provide excellent customer service, soon there will be no excellence, no service and no customers.

How to leverage the IKEA Effect

At first glance, the idea that someone would prefer a product they have to put work into, seems outlandish. Yet, a 2011 study (by Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School, Daniel Mochon of Yale, and Dan Ariely of Duke) identified that buyers were happy to pay 63% more for something they had helped put together. You see where we are going with this – IKEA!?

The idea is not that they prefer putting things together – who really enjoys assembling an IKEA piece of furniture? But when the buyer is involved in the making of it, their concept of how valuable the product is, rises. Their own input, their ability to use their skills and creativity increase the perceived value. This, of course, being a wonderful example of how cost of a product or service is very different to its value.

So, how can we leverage the IKEA effect for other businesses? Here some examples:

Consumables

If you are selling more than one variety of your product, offer consumers the opportunity to create a mixed bag or box. Vegetable box, chocolate selections, pick-mix, cook your own food from a fresh box etc.. Think about it, for the seller, there is less work involved in offering a ready made box of goods, but knowing the the personal assembly adds value, they offer this option in stead. In this case, the perceived value arises from the assembly itself, but also from getting various versions of the same product. A third value factory, of course, being a reduced price for bulk-buy.

Large purchases like homes

Anyone who has bought a new home and was able to choose the colour of their floor, kitchen furniture or similar, knows that this part of the purchase immediately makes the purchase more interesting and we feel like we are getting more value for our money.

Not just consumables

Another example of the IKEA effect can be seen with Build-a-Bear, where customers get to choose all the pieces it needs to put a teddy bear together and can then assemble the bear.

Get working while you holiday

An increasing trend in tourism is the combination of staying somewhere as part of a holiday, but then actually working. Examples are agricultural holidays where holidaymakers work on the farm, helping with animal husbandry, burning in the harvest or similar. This type of holiday being particularly sought after by the millennial generation with a strong passion for all things natural and environmentally friendly.

Consultancies or Training providers

Now here is a thought. If you provide consultancy services or training, why not consider getting your clients to contribute to the ‘making’ of advice or training? One way to do this is to involve them in one piece of the puzzle and to get them to bring a certain input to a training session, for example and to present this. Another way would be to get them to do the write up of a meeting, not because you cannot be bothered, but to help them make the work ‘their own’. The effort put in will translate into a higher perceived value of the service you are providing.

What not to do

The IKEA effect backfires when customers participate in the process of creating a product or service, but become frustrated by the complexity of it. This, essentially, will have the opposite effect and the perceived value for the product or service will go down.

The IKEA effect is an interesting phenomenon for marketing, which, was not just discovered with IKEA, but has had a strong tie to the furniture industry well before the Swedish home brand came into existence. It’s name, however, ever so apt.

Next time you plan out a new product or service offering think ‘less is more’ and see if you can get your customers to participate in the creation process.

Why Freedom of Speech matters to Business

Some topics seem to get lost in the mix of world-wide news, Covid updates, European lack of foresight, Scottish intrigues and Royal escapades. Yet, one topic, mentioned briefly here or there across our newsfeeds, is potentially more important, than any of these – long-term. This is the issue of Free Speech.

Interestingly, free speech is gaining more attention, albeit not in a big bang kind of way, but in what might seem like unconnected storylines in different pockets of the world. 

Tougher legal measures to strengthen free speech

16 February 2021, the UK government launched ‘Landmark proposals to strengthen free speech at universities.’ which will see “tougher legal measures to strengthen free speech and academic freedom at universities in England … to stamp out unlawful ‘silencing’ on campuses.” (http://bit.ly/3uVkNIJ) such as de-platforming speakers.

The Human Rights Watch highlighted recently that “at least 83 governments worldwide have used the Covid-19 pandemic to justify violating the exercise of free speech and peaceful assembly.”

Increased commentary on the lack of free speech

We can see an increased commentary on the lack of free speech on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and have been confronted with new concepts such as ‘shadow-banning’, a technique used by social media providers to silence voices they do not agree with or deem dangerous. 

Hungary and Poland recently announced their determination to tackle ‘Big Tech’ censoring which has seen their messaging curtailed by the likes of Facebook. 

The level of aggression on social media as well as within organisations when people express a different viewpoint has also risen. We seem to have lost the ability to debate, to enquire, to show curiosity and accept that other ways of thinking, whether their thoughts are mainstream or not, might be valuable. 

The press, too, has lost the concept of free speech, either because it is being censored itself or it censors people by not providing them with editorial space or airtime. Clarity on when speech is inciting violence or not is lacking, and, as a result, censorship has become arbitrary. 

At the heart of democracy and humanity

Freedom of speech is at the heart of democracy. It is at the heart of humanity. Without our thoughts and our speech, we seize to truly exist and become no more than a ‘soldier’ marching in line. 

Free thinking separates us out from animals. The ability to take ideas, shape them and create, innovate, is strengthened by speech. Be it in writing, through art, verbally or through sign-language, speech allows us to express our ideas, paint a picture, share our opinions, enquire of other’s views, check our own thoughts, evaluate our reality and create dialogue. 

Business needs dialogue – a multitude of words

It is this dialogue which is at risk if free speech is curtailed. It is here that business is at risk. 

Why? 

Firstly, if free speech is curtailed and overtaken by mantras of what is allowed and not allowed in terms of opinions within organisations, then variety cannot be guaranteed. It means that the best ideas might not be shared. It also means that the worst ideas might not be looked at in more depth. It means that people, our human resources, will become no more than mouth pieces of our corporate machineries. There is no joy in that. And ultimately, some of the best people will leave – hopefully to go and do greater things. 

Secondly, innovation will not be allowed to flourish. Neither innovation of thought nor innovation of design, products, services, ways of working. What happens is that only one idea is allowed. Only one way of expressing yourself is then permitted and those who dare to speak up, suggest a new way, are not given the incentive to think differently. 

Thirdly, people spend the majority of their day at work, Denying them the human right to express themselves during these hours means that they need to be one person most of the day and then try and recapture who they really are after work. It does not make sense and will, ultimately become counter-productive. 

Lack of free speech is bad for business. 

So, how do we bring free speech back? You are reading this and thinking: “It has never left.”. Think again, look around you. Would you be able, at work, let’s say experimentally, say the opposite of what is being said on a certain societal topic? 

Probably not. 

If you are a business owner, could you, in all good honesty, express your opinion on certain issues on social media or in a public meeting without risking your business?

Very likely not. 

Am I arguing that you should be able to shout your opinion at others? No. I am arguing that we should all be able to encourage dialogue, challenge others positively, say: ‘hey, have you ever thought about this issue in a different way?”.

The Agora as a way to debate

In Ancient Greece, Athenians used public spaces such as the Agora and amphitheatres to explore ideas, debate and participate in public life. It was a well-accepted way of – not shouting at each other – but reconciling differing opinions.

This is why the UK government’s focus on freedom of speech is so important. We must encourage conversation on university campus, the exploration of opposing ideas in a civilised manner. 

The Millennial dilemma

The tendency to overrun other viewpoints can particularly be seen among the Millennial generation in the western world, which is very much about ‘I’, not ‘we’. One might argue that this generation’s desire for social action and purpose counters this idea. Yet, in their expression of these issues we often find that for people who do not buy into their specific causes, the freedom to think and say differently is negated. It creates an interesting juxtaposition.

But we cannot blame an entire generation who might simply be at the receiving end of unfortunate circumstances. In a world of ‘look at me’ and worship of the rich and famous, easy access to information and manipulation via social media and an increasing push towards cultural conformity, they very much have become instruments rather than creators. This is a shame and a highly unwelcome development. 

Yet, not all is lost. 

In order to recapture free thinking and the ability to critically assess, generously engage with others and create a society whose default stance is no longer ‘fight’ but collaboration, we must be brave and encourage it at a young age. We should actively seek to find ways for our young people to learn how to disagree agreeably, to analyse, to critically think for themselves, but equally accept that their idea is bar one of many.  

Again, you might think this is already encouraged, but the sad truth is that at some schools this is not the case. Many less traditional schools, in particular, have lost a desire for debate, reconciliation and collaboration, without which society cannot progress. Their focus on one-sided ideas or even ideologies means that students have lost the ability to think in multiple ways. They are herded into one direction, one opinion and, unfortunately, one way of arguing their opinion, loudly and aggressively. 

Beyond the feedback box

If our businesses matter to us, we will also want to create opportunities for people to express free ideas, new ideas. We are not talking about the ‘feedback box’ in the cafeteria but open fora which allow for debate, new thinking, expression of opinion without repercussions. 

So, we must find new ways of communicating. In some ways they are not new, but we have forgotten about them; extending others the respect of listening carefully, asking more questions and putting others first. We need more words, a multitude of words. What we are seeing instead are slogans, twitter style communication and the key words everyone is required to use in every meeting, every social media post and, of course, on their way up the career ladder. But let’s be honest. Many are being fed a diet of acceptable words and asked to keep churning these out as if they have become truth. Multiplicity of thought has been cut out. So, in a not so obvious way, free thought, free speech and a contribution from all is being stamped out.

For our future

If we do not want to end up like societies in China, North Korea, or Russia we will want to take this issue seriously. It impacts all spheres of life. It cannot and must not be a mere mention on our newsfeed. It is something truly worth pursuing.

Free thought and speech matters for the future of our businesses, but most of all, our societies. It is the bedrock of a multifaceted community. Without it, we will see more discrimination and violence, not less. For ideas which are suppressed either create dull, unimaginative compliance and dead societies or they will rise to the surface at some point or another, and then most likely not quietly. 

Leading without the job title

Leading without the job title requires skill and the ability persuade and bring teams along who on a day-to-day basis might be reporting to others. So, how can we do that? 

Listen in to our chat with Matthew Henry, PhD ChPP MAPM MICWIntegration Project Manager for Sellafield Ltd.. 


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Power and Leadership

Some great insights into what leadership actually is.

We are addressing issues of power and leadership as well as questions such as: 

How do leaders develop their own leadership skills?

How to they manage highly skilled experts to perform at their best within a project team? 

More about Matthew: 

Matthew is a Chartered Project Manager with experience in delivering infrastructure projects in the nuclear industry, where he currently works for Sellafield Ltd on the Infrastructure Strategic Alliance as the Integration Project Manager for the Flask Maintenance Improvement Programme. Before joining the Infrastructure Strategic Alliance with Sellafield in 2015, Matthew managed projects for both the Health & Safety Executive and the Office for Nuclear Regulation and a number of clients in the oil & gas and chemical & process industries. He is a member of the Institute for Collaborative Working and the Association for Project Management and holds a PhD in Applied Immunobiology. Outside of work he is an active member of a local church, volunteers for Safe Families, and enjoys landscape photography in the local Fells.



To find out more about Matthew Henry or Project Management go to: 
linkedin.com/in/matthewjhenry
hub.apm.org.uk/page/home
apm.org.uk

To find out more about Zeitgeist Leadership’s communications training for leaders, contact Jutta at hello@zeitgeistcomms.com.

Tour d’Horizon – get to know your customer

Today is #GetToKnowYourCustomerDay – it is a good reminder to keep querying our customers. How do we do that? There are some great digital tools, but here is the one activity you might be doing already without realising, but could be a bit more purposeful about.

Tour d’Horizon

When you chat with your customer or potential customer over the phone, a zoom or in person, take a ‘tour d’horizon’, a rhetorical tool which has nothing to do with the product or service you are offering. Talk to them about other things – take a tour across the horizon! – , their favourite football club, what are they reading just now, have they read today’s news article on…? Find out what they engage with. What is important to them?

Opening up the conversation

These things open up conversation and start the process of relationship building, which are the pillars of good customer service. Only after this do you then move into the business matter. If you do business with Mediterranean cultures, in particular, this will be important as you will not be respected if you launch straight into business. Every interaction with your customer is an opportunity to get to know them.

customers users color wheel
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Digital tools to query your customer

For digital tools to query your customer at other times, you might also like to look at:

1. Chat Bots

These are a great tool with which you can find out things about your customer. They are actually easy to set up on your website or social media platforms. Get them to ask one question only, for example and collate the answers over time.

2. Quiz

Create a quiz which you can, again, post on your website or share via social. People love to answer questions, especially if they are about them. For tips on which tools we recommend, contact us via hello@zeitgeistcomms.com or dm us.

Relationship building is key to business, yet it is also key to community building. We are not an island to ourselves, let’s make our interaction with others more purposeful and more people-focused.