Marketing, Merchandising and the Consumer

What magic formula leads to a closed sale?

Looking through a potted history of retailing to see where it all began and how it has evolved. The ways in which merchandising and promoting goods has changed and how it is likely to develop in an increasingly online environment. Considering the customer experience, both in traditional retail environments and online, and gaining an understanding of why consumers buy, and why they don’t.

Related case studies:

Using several case studies as examples of contrasting approaches to merchandising and marketing, including IKEA – of particular interest through its world-wide reach and consistent marketing style – as well as high-end fashion retailer Burberry, trading off its heritage brand while moving into the 21st century with its marketing strategy.

Find out more about this session here: Global giants

Looking at fast-fashion retailer Zara, with its policy of choosing prime sites in major cities and creating attractive interiors that contradict perceptions of the low price tags and lesser quality on offer. Moving online, looking at the giant Amazon versus the relative newcomer Everlane, a fashion retailer with a policy of total pricing transparency, aimed at achieving greater rewards for their suppliers.

Find out more about this session here: Offline and Online

Innovation and Strategy Management

What type of business is it?

Understanding the distinction between an invention and an innovation through a potted history of human development, starting with evolution. Considering whether it is best to be first to market with a product, or better to opt for a later launch with an improved offer.

Related case studies:

Looking at examples of great inventors of the past, such as Nikola Tesla, who failed to win commercial success despite his genius, and companies such as aircraft manufacturer De Havilland who lost out to Boeing in the race to dominate the market in air travel.

Find out more about this session here: Is it better to be first or best?

Considering the main drivers behind innovation, using the example of messaging service WhatsApp prior to its takeover by Facebook, as well as looking into the unusual problem-solving solutions at DARPA, the US Defence Department’s agency responsible for developing new technologies for the military.

Find out more about this session here: What drives innovation?

Looking into the development of the virtual reality system from Oculus Rift, from its initial invention through an ongoing programme of innovation, seeing how the management team have responded to objections and encouraged constant appraisal and product enhancement to guarantee long-term success.

Find out more about this session here: Invention or Innovation?

Taking a look at the special requirements in creative businesses such as Apple and Heatherwick Studio, where originality and foresight create their own particular challenges.

Find out more about this session here: Managing the unmanageable

Leadership and Teambuilding

Building strong teams by setting an example

Considering why strong leadership is so vital to a company’s success, using a number of case studies to illustrate different management and team-building styles.

Related case studies:

Looking back at some of the changes at the top in recent years at Marks and Spencer and considering the implications for other high street retailers as they face the challenges of competing in an online world.

Find out more about this session here: Why is leadership still so vitally important?

Teambuilding case studies include Netflix, Google and Volkswagen, the latter being of particular interest in the light of the emissions scandal of 2015.

Find out more about this session here: Devolving responsibility in large scale teams

Following the meteoric rise of music streamer Spotify under its founder Daniel Ek, and discovering how achieving the impossible is just a matter of total commitment.

Find out more about this session here: Why is leadership still so vitally important?

Taking a look at the original management team behind Twitter, where weak leadership and board room battles hampered the company’s development and left it open to hostile acquisition bids.

Find out more about this session here: Why is leadership still so vitally important?

Leadership and Teambuilding

Novel approaches to successful leadership

Looking into leadership in many different spheres, starting with key political leaders both past and present. Discovering what makes a leader successful in times of hardship, political unrest, conflict. How a leader overcomes difficulties and wins support from the majority.

Related case studies:

Taking a detailed look at two business case studies, Cisco Systems and Goldman Sachs, where creative management has influenced and improved both performance and company image.

Find out more about this session here: How does a business demonstrate leadership?

Looking into different leadership styles, illustrated by Tony Fadell of Nest and Tim Brown at IDEO, to see how contrasting approaches to management can reap huge benefits for both a company’s employees and its shareholders.

Find out more about this session here: How does it work in practice?

Comparing two long-established businesses with very different styles of management, Mars and Lego, where adapting to change has brought its own challenges and demanded a special brand of managerial creativity to keep them at the top.

Find out more about this session here: Leadership challenges for traditional businesses

Soft Skills 5 – Targeting Success

Don’t let hidden forces hold you back

Success is often elusive. It is also difficult to describe or recognise, but it is something everyone in business is (or should be) seeking.

The key challenges are psychological, and understanding what hidden forces may be holding you back are important first steps in becoming successful.

There are also practical skills to master, such as leadership, perseverance and forgiveness.

See the topics I cover in my course here: Targeting Success

Soft Skills 4 – Dealing with Colleagues

How to play your part

The workplace should be a place of harmony, but all too often it is not. Deciding how you play your part is a vital skill for survival.

You will need to work with different kinds of people, make decisions and resolve conflicts, where your communication skills will be tested.

You will need to share knowledge, encourage patience, and read others better than they read you.

See the topics I cover in my course here: Dealing with Colleagues

Soft Skills 3 – Looking Outward

Facing the world

How do others see you and how do they value you? The way you look and interact is vital; make the most of what you have.

You need to be a regular high performer with whom other people want to work: understanding that skill set is crucial to success.

Interacting with others and recognising differences, evaluating their opinions without having your own ignored.

See the topics I cover in my course here: Looking Outward

Soft Skills 2 – Looking Inward

How well do you know yourself?

A dispassionate self-evaluation is hard to do, but if you are serious about success you will need to know more about yourself and what you are expecting from work.

What are your internal drivers, what are you good at, and where could you improve?

How do you value yourself, and are you the pro-active type, or would you rather take a back seat?

See the topics I cover in my course here: Looking Inward

Soft Skills 1 – The Bigger Picture

Looking at the bigger picture

With a sound life plan and a few soft business skills, success should be guaranteed.

The challenge is in the life choices you make at the start. What things should you consider and what should you ignore?

What should you do when things don’t work out? And how do you juggle all the elements for success and remain calm, rational and professional?

See the topics I cover in my course here: The Bigger Picture

Creative Skill Set 4.4 – Supplier Partnering

Improving two-way communication and streamlining workflows

It is not unusual to hear suppliers say that their clients just won’t let them help them. At Town & Town we know exactly what they mean, as clients often fail to give their suppliers the opportunity to contribute to the marketing process. More often, suppliers are simply on the receiving end of difficult jobs with impossible deadlines.

Busy marketeers are unlikely to have the time to sit down with their suppliers and listen to their suggestions for improving quality and workflow, but creative suppliers often have a unique understanding of the client’s business and can offer useful comparisons with the working practices gained from their other clients.

Similar issues arise with workflow, where internal systems are inadequate to handle ever-increasing volumes, and are clearly not ‘fit for purpose’.
As good listeners, unbiased in our views and with the time and skills required, we are well placed to develop better working relationships and more efficient workflow systems for our clients.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Supplier Partnering