For decades, Irene Etzkorn and Alan Siegel have championed simplicity as a competitive advantage and a consumer right. Consulting with businesses and organizations around the world to streamline products, services, processes, and communications, they have achieved dramatic results. Simple is a groundbreaking and invaluable guide to achieving the three fundamental principles of simplicity: clarity, transparency, and empathy. It lays the foundation for organizations that want to enhance the customer experience as a way to drive business results.
Irene, my guest next week on the Business901 podcast, is a worldwide authority on simplicity, built the Simplification practice of Siegel+Gale. As executive director of Simplification, her clients include the nation’s top banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, utilities, and health care providers.
I enjoyed the book, Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity, and the podcast. Below is a brief excerpt from the upcoming podcast.
Joe: What are the secrets to simplification? Is there something that when you walk in that guides you towards complexity? Is there a secret to understanding how to look at things with simple eyes?
Irene: Yes, there is and I think it lies in the fact that clarity is best achieved through an intuitive structure of information. Most often, we find people who have a complicated topic or complicated communication want to begin by re-writing and/or re-designing. Those are two ingredients and important skills and certainly ones that we advocate. They are not the place to begin. It is necessary to begin and look at the process. What is the data, the content? What do you know about this customer? For example, if you already know what state they live in, you don’t have to include a lot of “if-then” clauses that say “if you’re in Michigan”, “if you are in New York”, etcetera and have the person deal with all that. Instead, you can push out to them a customized communication. Starting further up the chain and providing a summary to a more detailed approach. Can you answer likely questions for 80% or 90% of the readers or the users upfront? People who have further questions can continue on in the communication, but you haven’t created an introductory barrier for the majority of people. In actions, a lot of simplification is about intuitive organization and structure.
Another example of that is insurance policy. Property casualty insurance, people do not read their insurance policy, for some, they are novel. They read them usually at the time of need when they have a claim. Putting what to do if you have a claim as the first item in a policy is much more customer focused. That is a reflection of the organization of the company that’s producing it. It is a more meaningful document for the consumer.
Joe: I think you made the great example there because it’s amazing how many times the redundancy is built in and I think of health care right away where I am asked the same question so many times that I feel that I probably had to have answered it wrong along the way.
Irene: Absolutely and that’s a good example because one of the 3 key principles that we’ve talked about in the book to achieve simplicity, one of them is empathy and emphasizing with the circumstance of the communication or the interaction is really important. When you mention health care, that’s a great example, not only are you sometimes being asked for the same information repeatedly, you may be in a state where half the time you are drugged or you’re ill. Obviously, for some reason, you’re seeking health care. It’s not your finest moment probably in terms of clarity of thought and emotional state etcetera etcetera. It’s a good example where even more so in that circumstance, you would want things to be accessible, clear and not redundant certainly.
Joe: You mentioned empathy, what are the other 2 key principles?
Tune in next week to the podcast for the answer or if you cannot wait buy the book,Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity.
About Siegel+Gale: (www.siegelgale.com) Simplicity is the centerpiece of the strategies they develop that reveal the unique truths of an organization, the engaging stories they create that connect brands with their audiences and the meaningful experiences they deliver that are both unexpectedly fresh and remarkably clear. Since 1969, Siegel+Gale has championed simplicity for leading corporations, nonprofits and government organizations worldwide.
Several years ago at Agile Cincinnati, I had the opportunity to present this Lean Sales and Marketing presentation, It’s not your Grandmother’s Lean Anymore! It serves to this day, a good recap for a Lean Sales and Marketing presentation. On July 1st thru July 7th, the Business 901 blog will be dedicated to covering the material I present in a two-day workshop.
The reason I picked the title, It’s not your Grandmother’s Lean Anymore, was that I felt that so many people identify Lean with waste reduction. The first part of my slide deck discusses this and that part was delivered with a hint of sarcasm. After that I lighten up a little and discuss the new thinking that social media has brought upon us. After setting the stage, my tone changes dramatically after the slide, “Why Lean!” I discuss Lean and PDCA from the aspect of knowledge creation.
If you would like to get a head start on the activity surrounding the week of July 1st, I would recommend considering the purchase of the Marketing with Lean Book series.
Lean Marketing House (More Info): A starting point for creating true iterative marketing cycles based on not only Lean principles but more importantly Customer Value. Recommended 1st reading of series.
Marketing with PDCA (More Info): Targeting what your Customer Values at each stage of the cycle will increase your ability to deliver quicker, more accurately and with better value than your competitor. It is a moving target and the principles of Lean and PDCA facilitates the journey to Customer Value.
Marketing with A3(More Info): Enables sales and marketing to use the Lean tool of A3 as a structured approach for their problem solving, strategies and tactics.
Lean Engagement Team(More Info): The ability to share and create knowledge with your customer is the strongest marketing tool possible.
That philosophy is found in the phrase that Walt Disney started and everybody in the Disney Organization knows. It is called “Plusing the Show.” Walt would say: “We have to keep plusing our show, if we ever lose them, meaning the guests, it will take us 10 years to get them back.
This is an excerpt from the podcast with Doug Lipp. Doug is a world-renowned speaker and acclaimed expert on customer service, leadership, change management and global competitiveness. Doug recently published a book, Disney U: How Disney University Develops the World’s Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees.
About Disney U: The Disney University, founded by Van France, trains the supporting cast that helps create the world-famous Disney Magic. Now, for the first time, the secrets of this exemplary institution are revealed. In Disney U, Doug Lipp examines how Van perpetuated Walt Disney’s timeless company values and leadership lessons, creating a training and development dynasty. It contains never-before-told stories from numerous Disney legends. These pioneers share behind-the-scenes success stories of how they helped bring Walt Disney’s dream to life.
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Disney U reveals the heart of the Disney culture and describes the company’s values and operational philosophies that support the iconic brand. Doug Lipp lays out 13 timeless lessons Disney has used to drive profits and growth worldwide for more than half a century.
Doug Lipp helped create the first international version of the Disney University, in Japan at Tokyo Disneyland, and then led the training team of the Disney University at the corporate headquarters of The Walt Disney Company, The Walt Disney Studios. He mentored under a number of Disney University visionaries, including the Disney University founder, Van France. Lipp consults with numerous Fortune 100 corporations and travels the world speaking about the lessons he learned at the Disney University.
I stepped in and hosted a podcast for LetusDropShip, a new drop shipping company that offers a unique way of handling drop shipping. They seek out niche manufacturers and offer them the support of their worldwide distribution system of warehouses and online/offline retailers. LetusDropShip concentrates on building brands and niches.
One of these manufacturers, Trego (A wearable case for the iPad) was discovered at a local meetup in San Jose, CA. Founder, Ramsey Elias started out using KickStarter to fund its initial offering and I thought it would be fun to view the progression of the product:
- Kickstarter: Trego – The Wearable iPad Case They reached their goal of $20,000 with 113 backers.
- Initial offering is made through Amazon and Ebay. The Trego Bag comes in two colors and can be found on Amazon:
Black and Orange: Trego Bag – B & O
Black and Green: Trego Bag – B&G
- Global Distribution is sought through LetUsDropShip.Com
- A push to the industrial product market highlighted in my blog post, Industrial iPad Case – Moving Digital to Shop Floor (Includes a fun video).
The podcast is the story behind the Trego product and serves as excellent background material for a retailer. The podcast features Ramsey Elias, founder and inventor of the Trego and Jerry Gan, founder of LetusDropShip. In the podcast, we discuss the origination of the Trego case and the journey through development. Jerry discusses how he found out about the Trego case and how LetusDropShip assists Ramsey in developing an international market. Below is a transcription of the podcast, A Tray to Go for your iPad, a Trego!
If you would like to become a wholesaler of the product, please visit LetusDropShip.com
Disclaimer: At the time of this writing there is an existing relationship with LetusDropShip.