First I tried the international medical companies and even the U.N., but they weren’t the right fit for the product. Then it occurred to me that there’s only one organization that can get a product to any village in the world: Coca-Cola. Dean Kamen in Fortune interview.
Where do good ideas come from?
Inventor Dean Kamen wanted to bring his water purification system to the people who need it the most in the developing world.
He found that a traditional analysis of product distribution partners did not generate the solution he desired. Only when he turned the challenge on its head and looked at it differently, did the right outcome emerge.
Kamen needed an entity that already operated in the remote geographies he wanted to reach, and he wasn’t deterred that such a company didn’t neatly fit the definition of a small machine distributor.
By broadening the process by which he assessed his options – to think about capabilities instead of company description – Kamen and his team came up with an unlikely answer: soft drinks giant Coca-Cola!
“In a partnership with Coca-Cola, Kamen’s firm DEKA Research and Development will bring Slingshot to communities in need of clean water in rural parts of Latin America and Africa.”
There are no easy answers to difficult business problems. But sometimes, if you start with the end-game in mind, you might discover a clever, if not crazy, solution.
Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who builds marketing capabilities in B2B/B2C organizations that drive customer success. Contact him at hchimoff at gmail dot com.
I was hoping not to write this post.
You see, the Chicago Bulls defeated the Brooklyn Nets Saturday night in the NBA playoffs. Had the team I was rooting for won, I wasn’t going to write this. Instead, there’s an extra impetus to highlight why even non-sports fans can take something away from the “corporate culture” instilled by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
Thibodeau has become well-known in NBA circles for his leadership and coaching philosophy of “we have enough to win” and even his more pronounced “we have more than enough to win.” It’s a refusing-to-blame-injuries-and illness belief system he’s had to put to good use since the team’s best player Derrick Rose tore up his knee in last year’s playoffs (still hasn’t returned to action); and throughout this year’s season and now playoffs.
The Bulls beat the Nets on the road in seven games despite two starting players out with injury/illness for games 6 and 7 and several others playing with the flu (garbage pails were needed on the bench in game six for at least one player to umm, get sick in). Chicago has a deep and talented team, but their depleted-roster victory can also be credited to the Nets’ poor performance. Really, Chicago had no business winning the series.
But, this isn’t a sports story.
It’s a lesson about the power of team attitude, mindset and culture.
Check out this quote from Bulls player Jimmy Butler, courtesy of ESPNChicago.com:
“I think whenever you hear it enough each and every day, you start to buy into it. Thibs [Coach Tom Thibodeau] is constantly saying that, we’re constantly saying that. And we know that we have enough to win because even though (our injured teammates) aren’t on the court with us, they’re with us spiritually. Whenever we come into that locker room, they’re saying things that they see from the TV. They’re always helping, just maybe not physically out there on the court with us.”
Let’s say your organization has to operate without your best competitive asset and a 40% budget reduction (analogous to the Bulls situation versus the Nets). Continue reading
“Brands may need to perform an even tougher trick: redefining their own definition of value to one that’s additive. When not reduced to the question of price, value speaks directly to what benefits a product or service adds to a customer’s life.” Maureen Morrison and Matthew Creamer in Advertising Age)
There’s more to value than just low price.
Canadian sports retailer Sport Chek believes that. It’s going high-tech to create what it hopes will be a unique customer buying experience.
Photo: Sport Chek Facebook.
Sport Chek recently unveiled a technologically souped-up retail store in Toronto that will serve as a living retail laboratory to bring shopping innovation to all of its 163 stores.
Sport Check is leveraging a fundamental shopper insight to battle the “showrooming” phenomenon enabled by website retailing:
Online shopping is great except you can’t always see the product fully, and it’s difficult to experience the product completely because you can’t touch and feel the item.
So, it’s bringing a 360-degree integrated marketing experience to Canadian sporting goods buyers. It’s convergence, the best of all worlds - see it, touch it, try it, customize it, order it, take it home - all in the same place. Continue reading
Just because you can tell a story doesn’t mean you should.
In recent years, medical professionals and hospital systems have begun to market directly to consumers, with mixed results I’m sure. For instance, my dentist has an annual photo contest – maybe that helps build engagement and loyalty, I don’t know.
On a bigger scale, we see the venerable yet still effective “case study” tactic being utilized.
Most of the time, the ad features a person who has significantly benefited, or maybe even had her life saved, due to the great professionals and technology of XYZ medical system. There’s merit to this approach. It helps create awareness, builds capability recognition and possibly influences the provider selection decision-making process.
However, it can go too far.
In my mind, a new ad for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital crosses the line and becomes ”no, they shouldn’t have done that.”
But first, you watch the ad.
Part one of the story is terrific. The hospital’s doctors have miraculously saved the boy. Unfortunately, it’s only temporary. Continue reading