Seth Godin has doubled down on his concept of focusing your emerging business on the smallest market possible or “minimum viable audience” in his latest book, This is Marketing. Here’s a good video summary of the book, which includes a rethink for many of what marketing is and isn’t.
Imagine a bookstore that charges a $15 daily entry fee … and stocks only one copy of each book! Enter the new Bunkitsu bookshop in the Rappongi district of Toyko Japan that carries only books and magazines — no music, homewares, toys, etc. — in addition to a café.
Seeing & Listening
The Fogo Island Inn is a rural economic revitalization miracle. It exemplifies specificity and stickiness of place. Its Innkeeper, Zita Cobb, who is also the Founder & CEO of The Shorefast Foundation, is an 8th generation Newfoundlander, with her family roots deep in Fogo Island since 1650. Her proven practice of rebuilding communities and their entrepreneurial backbone through culture, the arts, design, sustainable business, and a sense of community belonging will change how you think about place based innovation.
Chris Do, Chief Strategist & CEO of The Futur, an education platform for creatives and designers, perfectly articulates the transition successful entrepreneurs go through as they shift their focus from making things to designing their business — and loving the latter as much as (or sometimes more than) the former. I found in my research on entrepreneurial innovation, that this transition was experienced by almost every successful entrepreneur I’ve met with: their business becomes the product.
Focusing on the paradox of the growing importance of small communities and the specificity of place within the context of increasing globalization. A focus on local is both more important (e.g. more small batch businesses) and less important (e.g. less geographic peripherality) for entrepreneurs and related public policy.
In the book, Little Bets - How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries, by Peter Sims, we learn that Canadian-born architect Frank Gehry attributes inspiration from visual artist, Robert Rauschenberg’s “Combines” artworks (comprised of non-traditional objects) in Gehry’s early designs of homes and small buildings. Interacting with people and products from adjacent disciplines is a frequent habit of successful innovators. Video of author Peter Sims here in a Talks at Google episode.
Also looking into various attempts (some good, some not) by social sciences researchers to consolidate and standardize sets of universal human values, including this one: A Short List of Universal Moral Values, which narrowed things down to four major categories. At times, the synthesis removes useful richness for the sake of analytical efficiency.
The April long weekend included catching up with friends, working on a client project, attending a family dinner, and doing some spring cleaning — including reorganizing my garage and reducing paper in my home office. I still really love Evernote and its scanner for easy digitization and OCR of documents, as well as a visual bookmarking of research and notes. I keep hearing rumours of its impending demise — I hope not, as I’ve yet to find anything I like better!
Think Like a Print Media Publisher: Whether it’s called time chunking, task grouping or time-blocking (or something else), I always advise marketing, communications, and digital content groups (who seem to be stuck in a cycle of last-minute content pushes and corrections to their websites and social media feeds) to think like a print media publisher. Here are the basics of how print media publishers have always grouped their tasks to be more efficient.
Regular publishing time and day - Plan which time of day, which day of the week, and which day of month different types of (non-emergency) content will be published. (Hint: there is very rarely any true emergency content, just last-minute content publishing requests!) For example, I usually advise that non-news website updates get pushed on Thursdays after lunch. It’s an efficient use of someone’s time to publish a bunch of content all at once as they get into a productivity flow … and if something goes wrong with technology, there is still Friday left to make a fix and publish that week. I advise the same type of pre-planning and “chunked publishing” be done for social media feeds, even when content scheduling tools like Hootsuite are in use.
This film profiles how the mega-September issue of the American Vogue Magazine gets published.
Set submission criteria for content providers - If your organization’s teams want to provide content about product launches, recent client wins, or service updates for your website and social media feeds — save yourself a headache and provide them with a template that walks them through what you need in terms of the minimum content standards, writing style, length, media file formats, links etc. … so that they prep a bunch of the work up front. If they don’t do the prep work, they don’t get published that week; instead, they get coaching on how to prepare content for the website, etc.
Form a multi-disciplinary editorial board, with clear responsibilities, and regular meeting cadence - Editorial boards determine what gets published and what gets prioritized according to the strategy they set. They determine publishing standards, approve major content, and keep an eye on the budget. When part of my team managed a website inside a global multinational, setting up an editorial board comprised of key representatives from marketing, PR, product, sales and a member of the executive group was critical to raising the standards of efficiency, quality … as well as aligning teams on the business strategy for the website and other media. I advise that about 6-8 people be named to an organization’s Publishing Editorial Board and have the role as part of their job function for a year. Set and circulate an agenda, keep minutes as with any board meeting, delegate projects to sub-committees. Attendance (monthly?) is required (videoconf or in person) with a colleague sent in anyone’s place who is ill or on vacation.
Here are some suggestions of How to Set Up an Editorial Board for Content Marketing.
The positive impact of formalizing the editorial planning process for your website and other media cannot be overstated!