Longevity Secrets for Business


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Longevity Secrets from Hundred-Year-Old Businesses
Coming up in March is the anniversary of the invention of Coca-Cola in 1886. Over 100 years later, the thriving multinational has not only generated billions of dollars of revenue but also shaped pop culture in the process thanks to its constant innovation. It and other companies like it have a lot to teach us about longevity in business.

Let’s begin with the oldest American company on our list. Founded in 1837, P&G offers a diverse range of consumer goods. They’ve weathered many a storm thanks to investing in the research and development of market-disrupting innovations designed to make consumers’ lives easier.

On June 16, 2021, IBM will turn the grand old age of 104, and that’s likely due to its flair for reinvention. When it faced an $8 billion loss due to slow adaptation in the fast-growing personal computer market, management shifted its focus to helping businesses maximize their technology use. It generated an annual turnover of $77 billion in 2019.

In contrast, the 111-year-old American manufacturing company Crayola is an example of a company that’s stayed in the same business but figured out how to keep evolving. Over the years, it’s branched out into other kids’ products but has always focused on improving its core product. Crayola crayons now boast a range of colors and are even washable.

Across the Atlantic, the British know a thing or two about keeping businesses thriving over the centuries. Established in 1797, cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield was once a favorite haunt of Winston Churchill. Now it’s staying close to customers and suppliers and responding to both their needs, and it was even one of the first cheese companies to have a website.

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Rising from the Ashes of Experiencing Failure
Sometimes, business doesn’t go as planned. After the worst has happened and the shop has shuttered, how do we rise again? Like the mighty and majestic phoenix, here are some tips to rise up from the ashes to soar once again.

Visualize a roadmap. Ruminating on failure doesn’t help anyone. Instead, taking your wisdom from hard-fought lessons, recreate your road map toward success with new goals. Visualizing your pathway toward rebuilding and preparing for future hang-ups is how businesses learn resiliency.

Roll up your sleeves. Keep it lean. Everything you can do on your own, do it. Understand every facet of your business, from marketing to operations to managing your own profitability. In rebuilding, prioritize the tasks and expenditures that will most efficiently get you where you need and want to go. A properly managed cash flow is the gift that keeps on giving.

Keep moving toward “yes.” The most innovative and successful people fail. A lot. They refuse to stop moving simply because of hurdles or failures. Tenacity, perseverance, and a positive attitude are key to success. As Denzel Washington once said, “People don’t remember the strikeouts. They remember the home runs.”

Share your experience with pride. Do not be ashamed of “failure.” These lessons create the acumen that only the bravest of us have the privilege to attain. Fail brilliantly, and share your experiences with others. You’ll be helping others learn from your mistakes, and you could also receive some valuable advice (or free marketing) in the process.

Learn to laugh. Learn to have fun with your experiences and embrace an attitude of self-compassion that understands mistakes are a part of being human. This way, you won’t give failure the power to rule over you and your ambitions. Realize that while this experience was quite the shock and very difficult to go through, it isn’t the end of the world. You did it once. Give yourself a high-five and a hug. You can do it again.

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March will celebrate the anniversary of the first motion picture (1885), Alexander Graham Bell’s patent for the first telephone (1876), Coca-Cola’s accidental formulation (1886), and the day light was first created from electricity (1877). All of these changed the world of their time.

How do we change the world? How do we change an industry? How can we do things differently, challenge “the way it has always been,” and foster innovation? Here are some insights from TED Talks that are all about ideas that can change the world.

The Art of Innovation. Famed marketer and author Guy Kawasaki shares his top 10 evergreen lessons about the art and heart of curve-shifting innovation. Watch here

How Play Leads to Great Inventions. Many of today’s technologies have surprisingly been born out of good, old-fashioned fun. Pulling from history’s revolutionary ideas, Steven Johnson explains how “necessity isn’t always the mother of invention.” Watch here

The Puzzle of Motivation. Career analyst Dan Pink explains the research behind how our brain’s reward systems change when tackling a creative task. Incentives can actually harm creative performance, whereas autonomy, mastery, and purpose are linchpins of highly engaged work that is productive and innovative. Watch here

The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers. Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies “original thinkers” and shares the key ways these dreamers innovate to create tomorrow’s breakthroughs. Watch here

The New Rules of Innovation. In this talk, Carl Bass discusses the five most powerful trends that are accelerating the rate of innovation at an extraordinary pace. Watch here

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5 Core Elements of Building an Iconic Brand
Iconic brands weren’t born by accident. These are the worldwide companies whose logos and slogans are as instantly recognizable as the smell of a fresh pot of coffee. How did these megabrands get to their stature? Below are the key signatures of the iconic brands that have become a part of our daily lives.

They know their customers. Iconic brands have spent millions investing in developing “customer profiles” to truly understand their needs, motivations, and desires. This helps them relate to and connect with their current (and future) consumers on a higher level, as they are able to communicate and resonate with their customers at every stage of their customer journey.

They have personality. Iconic brands turn their logos into walking, talking, breathing, and dynamic personalities. This allows for genuine human connection between their business and their target audience. In essence, their logos become friends we can trust.

They have purpose. Alongside these personalities, they have an influential sense of purpose in the world and truly stand for something other than their bottom line. To translate this into a more customer-facing perspective, these iconic brands connect with their core audiences through “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) campaigns that make sense for their industries, their audiences, and their brands’ personalities.

They are compelling storytellers. Bold, imaginative, and with the courage to lead the way, iconic brands know how to touch the hearts of their customers. Through a strong connection to customers’ cultural roots, values, beliefs, and concerns, they deliver powerful anecdotes in their marketing and messaging that move the emotions of their target audiences. This emotional aspect then moves their customers to brand loyalty.

They have mastered the art of consistency. Consistent, compelling, and easy to recognize. That’s the magic formula behind a powerful brand identity. These iconic brands have spent years, usually decades, perfecting this craft. This consistency across their visuals, messaging, brand personalities, and every interaction and touch point in their ecosystems creates a point of reference where consumers know what to expect. Consistency creates familiarity, and familiarity breeds trust.

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter.