Insights on Korea’s Luxury Market

October 8, 2011

DISCUSSION TOPIC

Korea’s Luxury Market – 10-04-2011

“…the performances of famous brands in Korea have been mixed. For example, LVMH and Ferragamo continued to do well, but others, like Gucci Group and Dior, saw sales drop in real terms in 2010.”

The preceding quote is from the latest “DFS Learning e-Blast” article, Korea’s luxury market: Demanding consumers, but room to grow, by Aimee Kim and Martine Shin.

Read about the changing Korean shopping landscape in this write-up of the results from McKinsey’s 2011 Korea luxury consumer survey, available on the McKinsey & Company Web site. The authors note that McKinsey research shows that South Koreans spend a higher percentage of their household incomes on luxury goods than the Japanese do, and the South Korean market looks to sustain strong growth for several years to come. But the country’s thing for bling is evolving: buyers are beginning to think more about brand differentiation than about ostentatiously displaying famous logos.

While DFS does not currently do business directly in Korea, the insights from the McKinsey story highlight the purchasing behaviors of Koreans who continue to travel in significant numbers to many of our destinations.

More from the article:

Thus, while the headline news is that the luxury market is still growing strongly, uncertainty is also mounting. In this year’s report, McKinsey addresses these concerns, which come in the form of three key questions: Can South Korea keep it up? What’s changing? And what do these trends mean for the players in the luxury industry?”

Read the short article to learn more!

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Recess comes to the workplace

October 8, 2011

DISCUSSION TOPIC

Take a Break to Increase Productivity – 09-19-2011

September 19, 2011

A survey from Harris Interactive found that recess was key to improving workplace health and productivity, and re-energizing employees.

The survey was sponsored by Keen, the footwear brand which earlier this year launched Keen’s Recess Revolution tour, a series of events designed to inspire adults to “reclaim playtime and take much-needed 10-minute breaks from the daily office grind by escaping to the outdoors.” With a pop-up playground featuring tetherball courts, Frisbee, hula hoops and more, the tour has made stops in Denver, Minneapolis, Portland and San Francisco. The survey was released on September 14 on World Recess Day, a day-long outdoor event held by Keen in Washington D.C.

The Survey on Workplace Recess, conducted during August 2011 and involving 1,099 adults employed full-time, revealed:

  • More than half (53 percent) agreed that a 10-minute “recess” outdoor break initiated at their workplace every day would make them a healthier, happier or more productive employee;
  • Forty-one percent felt outdoor breaks would help them deal with stress at work;
  • Forty-four percent indicated that they would participate in recess if it were offered at their workplace, with the greatest interest among women (53 percent) and Millennials (51 percent).

At the same time, more than 70 percent said they’ve never participated in a paid recess-type break outside of lunchtime. Seventy-eight percent (78 percent) felt that certain factors would need to be in place for recess to be a part of the workday, including encouragement from top management (39 percent), participation from their boss and/or colleagues (25 percent), a designated time of day for recess to avoid scheduling conflicts (35 percent), and recess becoming part of the company culture (33 percent).

Dr. Toni Yancey, author of Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time and co-director of the Center for Health Equity and professor of health services at UCLA, said in a statement that short activity breaks would aid in reducing obesity rates and sick days while lifting employees’ mood and subsequently improving productivity

“If employers offered and encouraged a paid activity break during the day, it would offer a real return on investment for them — delivering $1.50 – $2.00 for every dollar spent implementing the program, according to our estimates,” said Dr. Yancey.

Added James Curleigh, Keen’s CEO, “I hope that the idea of workplace recess will catch on with companies that aspire to be great places to work, ultimately making recess as common as casual Friday.”

Discussion questions:  What do you think of the proposed benefits and feasibility of scheduled short activity breaks for retail store and headquarters employees?

My post:

There are physical and psychological benefits to a well designed “recess” strategy. The key is infusing a bit of fun into the sameness of most retail workdays, whether in the office or on the sales floor. The Pike’s Place Fish guys are a well-used example of this done right, but there are many others out there. It is difficult to schedule in today’s lean staffing store environment, but worth the effort. Especially when the boss plays too. It can be as simple as a 15 minute fast-paced walk outside to a green area to enjoy a coffee and a chat, or a little more planned, such as a once or twice monthly walk to an ice cream place as a reward. Don’t make it too structured, or you’ll lose the ‘fun’ element. This can be a big part of an ongoing and authentic engagement strategy.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Go to the full discussion at Retailwire.com:  Take a Break to Increase Productivity

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Thoughts on Twitter

October 5, 2011

DISCUSSION TOPIC

The Enigma That is Twitter – 09-30-2011

September 30, 2011

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Hanifin Loyalty blog.

Of all the social media communications channels I invest time in, Twitter is the most enigmatic to me.

I use it and find value in posts from both followers and those I follow. At the same time, I encounter quizzical looks from friends who think I am somehow child-like and time-wasting to be spending time writing updates that are always compressed, sometimes cryptic and on occasion in-decipherable.

I’ll admit to a few things:

Twitter presents the constant temptation to become a one-way broadcaster of self-promotional messages. All I can say is resist, resist, resist! In real life, people don’t fall in love with others who talk about themselves constantly. Why should it be any different online?

I don’t always engage in conversations. Because there is such a thing as “real business” to attend to, I can’t sit and watch the stream all day, responding promptly to replies, DM’s (direct messages), and other comments. Thankfully, there are some really great tools to help you manage your social medial channels and I use one of the best, Sprnklr. I do respond to just about everyone, but with timeliness that is often suspect.

I’m not consistent. Social Media muse @TheDudeDean told me long ago to tweet consistently. I do my best, but there are gaps. This week is an example, with cross country air travel and day-long meetings cramping my Twitter style. I acknowledge this but don’t necessarily apologize. We’ve got to have priorities and Twitter should not rule your life.

I read an article this week, which mused that Twitter could be destined to “occupy a niche as addiction to few and irritant to many.” I’m quite comfortable with this reality and take it into account when recommending communication strategies for clients.

It is not mandatory that every customer-facing marketing strategy incorporate Twitter,

Foursquare, or even Facebook. While it is absolutely right for some, others will find it a waste of time and resources.

If your customers are all online, talk to them through that medium. If they are sitting at the kitchen table reading their mail, you better find your way to that venue. Usually it is through a mix of several channels that you can create customer engagement. The big challenge is to identify which ones matter and to prioritize their importance.

To sum it up, there is wisdom in discerning between “everyone is doing it” and “I need to do it.”

Sounds like Twitter material to me!

Discussion questions:  What do you think of Twitter as a business and personal tool? How, if at all, do you use it? Do you see it evolving as a retail communication tool?

My post:

I started using Twitter for the two purposes I continue with today.  One, I post links to my own JAM with Mike twice-weekly email of quotes and accompanying editorial.  Why?  Really because I can, through a simple link on my Constant Contact email server.  Does it do anything?  Probably not, but it is painless so I continue.  Two, I subscribe to several people who post quotes that I find interesting and subsequently use in my writing.  I do not engage in ongoing conversations and see no personal value in bothering my “followers” with inane posts of my random thoughts or mundane activities – nor do I understand those who do.

The good news is that millions do use Twitter to constantly tweet every little thought that occurs to them.  Why is this good news?  There is a burgeoning use of twitter feeds to predict future events, from the price of a stock, to the profitability of a new movie or product, to the outcome of an election.  While not infallible, researchers are finding that like Wikipedia, the Twitterverse tends to separate out facts from fiction with often remarkably accurate predictive value.  There are some really interesting articles about this you can find on Google – or via a Twitter search, of course!

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Go to the full discussion at Retailwire.com:  The Enigma That is Twitter

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Leadership: Distilling the Wisdom of CEOs

October 2, 2011

DFS Learning…  Sharing articles and ideas to inform, educate and inspire

DISCUSSION TOPIC

Distilling the Wisdom of CEOs 09-26-2011

These aren’t theories. They come from decades of collective experience of top executives who have learned firsthand what it takes to succeed. From the corner office, they can watch others attempt a similar climb and notice the qualities that set people apart. These C.E.O.’s offered myriad lessons and insights on the art of managing and leading, but they all shared five qualities: Passionate curiosity. Battle-hardened confidence. Team smarts. A simple mind-set. Fearlessness.”

The preceding quote is from the latest “DFS Learning e-Blast” article, Distilling the Wisdom of CEOs”, by Adam Bryant.

In this April 16, 2011 New York Times article distilled from the book “The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons From CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed,” by Adam Bryant, author of the weekly “Corner Officecolumn in The New York Times, the author provides insights on five key attributes of those destined for the corner office.

Link to NYT article: Click Here

If you desire to ascend to senior level roles – even CEO, as you read this article think about your level of competency in the identified key five areas and determine what actions to take to increase your focus and skills in these areas.  DFS Learning is here to help.

More from the article:

The good news: these traits are not genetic. It’s not as if you have to be tall or left-handed. These qualities are developed through attitude, habit and discipline — factors that are within your control. They will make you stand out. They will make you a better employee, manager and leader. They will lift the trajectory of your career and speed your progress.”

Read the short article to learn more!

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

Thank you for visiting my blog!  Please subscribe using the RSS button and comment on my postings.


You don’t need to have all the answers

October 2, 2011

DISCUSSION TOPIC

Digging out of the Answer-Person Hole 09-19-2011

There are times when a leader must refrain from giving advice and offering opinions; yet such restraint is difficult. After all, you’re paid to provide solutions….aren’t you? So you don’t pause to consider, in the moment, about whether it’s appropriate to give your opinions and advice. When asked, your mouth opens and you speak your truth without considering the consequences.”

The preceding quote is from the latest “DFS Learning e-Blast” article, “Digging out of the Answer-Person Hole”, by Mary Jo Asmus.

In this March 1, 2010 posting on the Aspire Collaborative Services Leadership Solutions blog, the author provides a simple message on the necessity to let your staff develop by finding their own solutions.

As you read this article, think about your skills in delegation and situational leadership and your ability to match your leadership style to the readiness of your individual team members and the total team.

More from the article:

When you support your staff in developing their own solutions and opinions, you’ve not only supported their growth, but you also free up yourself to do work that has a higher priority for you and your organization.”

Read the short article to learn more!

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

Thank you for visiting my blog!  Please subscribe using the RSS button and comment on my postings.


Service Lessons for Retailers from the Airlines

October 2, 2011

DISCUSSION TOPIC

Three Lessons Retailers Can Learn About Service From the Airlines – 09-16-2011

September 16, 2011

As a frequent flier with over 1.5 million Aadvantage miles (how about that!), it struck me on the way home from Shop.org that the retailing industry should use the airline industry as a cautionary tale. It’s a business that could do SO much better, but doesn’t, and has devolved into a commodity industry whereby the definition of success is safely transporting passengers from one place to another. And, God bless them for that! U.S. airlines, at least, have a stellar track record on safety.

But airlines have optimized the logistics end of the business to the point where it’s all about cramming as many passengers as possible onto as many flights as possible, moving them from point to point efficiently, and calling it a day.

Three Retail Lessons

1. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Simple enough, right? The old adage of under-promise and over-deliver applies, and yet the airlines do it in reverse 99 percent of the time. Returning from Shop.org, I traveled on a jetBlue flight that was delayed 90 minutes due to weather plus a slight (if there is such a thing) mechanical problem. Here’s the rub: jetBlue announced a 40-minute delay and delivered a 90-minute delay. Traveling for 30 years, as I have, this is almost always the case. Any ultimate delay will actually be worse than originally announced. Retail Lesson: When there is a problem, give your customers a realistic assessment of the issue right away, and then try to do better than that.

2. Don’t try to go from full-serve to self-serve. Since I hadn’t flown on jetBlue in 5+ years, I noticed the difference, so I’ll pick on them. When jetBlue first started flying, they had free snacks and free TV. While they still offer those two things (sort of), they have downgraded to an a la carte menu where you have to pay for movie channels on the “free” TV, pay for a headset, pay for “premium” snacks, pay for a pillow/blanket “kit,” pay for a few extra inches of leg room, etc. In short, they are now a regular airline and the TVs are in need of updating, too. Retail Lesson: When your business is founded on offering “free” extras, don’t start nickel and diming customers. If you are a full service retailer, be careful when you start trying to get your customers to check themselves out, use kiosks to find merchandise, help themselves at the meat case, etc.

3. You didn’t have me at hello! Does anybody but me remember the “good old days” of flying when flight attendants and gate and reservations counter attendants actually greeted you and maybe even spoke a complete sentence or asked how your day was going? It’s been well over a decade since I got more than a “good morning” from an airline employee. (Side note: I have had better luck on the phone and almost all airline employees have been civil if not friendly when asked a question). Retail lesson: Just think of the extra business you could garner if your associates were actually friendly and engaged each potential customer.

For retailers, commoditization could mean the industry degrades to the point where a handful of retailers successfully delivers products to consumers more or less on time, with an optimized supply chain, but with minimal to no service and differentiation. And, we don’t want retail to be like the airline industry, do we?

Discussion questions:  What’s the best way for chain retailers to motivate their employees to offer superior service? What’s your air travel tale of woe, and what can retailers learn from it?

My post:

The number of posts clearly indicates that the airline situation strikes a nerve with almost everyone.  For most routes, the choices are few and the airlines know it.  So in a financial model driven by high fuel and labor costs and meager profits dependent on pure price and supply chain efficiencies, it is no wonder that expecting anything other than arriving safely in your destination is futile.

On the retail side, the sobering reality is that a model built purely on supply chain and pricing efficiencies will deliver an awful experience over time.  And unlike the airlines, there are usually other options and the customer will go elsewhere.

It has always been this simple:  Retail interesting and innovative products in a compelling environment (virtual or physical), staffed by caring, knowledgeable people who love what they do.  Hire for these talents (merchants, store leaders and staff alike), pay well, invest in development, and authentically engage them in the business.  Unfortunately too many retailers over-complicate the formula and chase each other down the uninspiring product and price-driven path to boredom and irrelevance.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Go to the full discussion at Retailwire.com:  Three Lessons

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