How to boost your business with a book

18 July 2013 by in Book publishing, Business and finance

The world of print has taken something of a pounding over the last few years. Just look at the newspaper industry and how it’s struggled to cope with the plethora of free news sites. E-book readers – especially Amazon’s Kindle – have changed the publishing landscape beyond recognition. A business model that has worked well for well over a hundred years has all but disintegrated.

We’ve blogged before about the huge changes in the world of publishing and like most publishers, we upload e-book editions of our books on all the major platforms. A digital book is indeed an important way to disseminate knowledge. But we’ve always been of the opinion that a physical printed book creates the most impact.

We’ve worked with established and new authors alike, bringing their books to market around the world, and over the years we’ve published a lot of books with business consultants. Our view has always been that a printed book offers a great way to promote a consulting business.

Business strategySo to test our theory we thought we’d do some research. We emailed some ten thousand consultants in the UK, identifying published authors and asking them if having a book had had a positive effect on their businesses. The answers we received made very interesting reading. They can be summarised thus:

  • Nearly 75% of respondents told us that they had written their book in order to promote their business;
  • 72% of respondents claimed that as a result of being published recognition of their business’ brand increased;
  • Nearly 60% claimed that they picked up more speaking events after being published;
  • 65% stated that being published gained them more clients.

That’s quite compelling, and it supports some of our own anecdotal evidence (one of our authors gained a six figure consulting role as a result of his book being bought at an airport bookshop, another ended up as a speaker at the World Economic Forum at Davos two years in succession).

A well published physical book is the best calling card a consultant can have. Books have a high perceived value and rarely get thrown away, so once they’ve been purchased by a reader, they tend to stay with the reader. A physical book without doubt establishes a consultant’s authority and can have a very positive effect on a business.

If you’d like more information, either on the survey results or getting into print with Infinite Ideas, do get in touch.

Customer engagement strategies: The future of marketing

25 June 2013 by in Business and finance

We’re always banging on about delivering content to consumers at the moment they most need it. Examples? Well, interview technique advice might best be read on your smart phone half an hour before the interview. Or public speaking tips right before you take the stage. That’s the beauty of mobile communications.

Sponsored content provided in this way does offer brands great ways to communicate and to enhance consumer loyalty and engagement. There are a couple of great examples of this from Brazil on the Springwise roundup. Hellmann’s are offering recipe advice to shoppers with a trolley-mounted tablet. Genius. And then there’s the test drives being offered to motorists who break down. Chevrolet turn up with the tow truck and the lucky motorist gets to drive their car home – free. A great way for a brand to engage.

dangling carrotAnother thing we’re quite keen on at Infinite Ideas is having a drink when you want one, so we were also struck by a South African initiative for beer lovers at music festivals. Using your mobile a drone swoops in and delivers you a refreshing tinny. It’s great that drone technology can be used for some positive purpose. It’s on that same Springwise roundup.


Brand enhancement: another thought-provoking argument

19 June 2013 by in Business and finance

Here’s another thought-provoking argument about fast food brands and their use of a Disney tie-in to enhance their brand. But it seems to us it’s all a bit old hat (and the one comment on the site as I write this would seem to agree with me). MacDonald’s and Burger King have been doing this kind of thing for ages and so the argument goes that it probably works in terms of engaging with kids and, more importantly, their parents. But haven’t these brands got some real social responsibility in terms of trying to get young people to eat healthily? Is a tie in with Monsters Inc. going to do anything to reduce obesity in this country?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYeah, I know, it isn’t their remit to get kids to eat healthily. It’s their remit to increase their investors’ dividends (oh I’m such an old leftie!) The operative word in the article is ‘healthier’ (‘In-store training has been provided to staff to improve their interaction with children and encourage them to choose healthier options.’) I’m not a nutritionist (my waist line bears that out) but I reckon their healthier options are still packed with salt fat and sugar, all of which probably exceed the recommended daily intake.

It all just seems a tad lazy on the part of the marketers involved. Bung a few million at a big brand for a tie in – job done.

Let me get my soap box out again (sorry) but shouldn’t brands be trying to engage with their customers through intelligently produced, interesting content? I mean interesting, well written, properly informative content that might – just might – make people properly aware of what they are actually feeding their kids? Surely with a bit of intelligent thinking, brands can increase their consumer engagement and improve customer loyalty?

Anyway, I’ve put my soap box away and am heading off for a waistline-saving Subway feast with a Big Mac for pudding. Now where’s the harm in that?

Surviving and thriving in cross-cultural turbulence at work

13 June 2013 by in Business and finance, Lifestyle

Unless you never venture beyond your home town, you’ll know that engaging with a person from a different background, sometimes under unusual and unpredictable circumstances, or in a new environment, requires a certain amount of understanding – or cultural intelligence. Often in life we need to modify our behaviour – our body language, the way we speak or the way we use humour, for example – in order to blend in. In business this understanding can be achieved through cross-cultural training; it’s becoming increasingly important with the intensification of globalisation, as foreign business escalates within corporations and SMEs alike.

As any good manager will know, the absence of cross-cultural intelligence in the workplace can impede productivity, inhibiting performance and preventing organisations from succeeding fully in their chosen markets. If you’re one such manager, you’ll be relieved to know that we’ve just published the antidote to your cultural nightmare. Packed with fun graphics and indispensable advice, The diversity dashboard is a breakthrough quick reference guide that will help you to bridge cultural gaps using practical insights and the clever analogy of a pilot’s cockpit – you need a triple A rating to operate your plane; if you’re struggling to attain your wings and become culturally competent, remember these three As:

  • Awareness of your own culture: knowledge about yourself and your core values and how these are expressed in attitudes, behaviours and communication in the workplace;
  • Assessment of other cultures: awareness of others and the ability to compare and contrast otherness with various tools and techniques;
  •  Action: continuing curiosity to learn more, the willingness to adapt and be flexible, and the ability to identify and respond creatively to cultural challenges and conflicts in ways that both respect and engage the other person.

Co-written by intercultural management consultant Dr Deborah Swallow and experienced motivational speaker Eilidh Milnes, this essential guide adopts a fun and realistic approach to a complex, often overlooked subject. We’re delighted that the world’s foremost culture specialist, Fons Trompenaars, seems to agree.

A rich and invaluable resource … precise, accessible advice on handling cross-cultural differences in today’s frenetic business world.

Fons Trompenaars, author of the bestselling Riding the Waves of Culture