Gimme Some Respect

It’s a word we have been hearing a lot about lately but is it in short supply?. CNN journalist Jim Acosta was accused of disrespecting the office of the president at president elect Donald Trump’s first press conference after winning the election race.

Although at same press conference many commentators said Trump had brought the office of president into disrepute because of his barracking style. Trump supporters and detractors, Brexit leavers and remainders, student unions and MP’s to name a few have all been accused of being disrespectful.

Lets examine what the dictionary meaning of the word respect is it’s :

“An admiration felt or shown for someone or something that you believe has good ideas or qualities”. Also:

“I have respect for his ideas, although I do not agree with them although many others do”.

There’s not much respect going on on either side of the debate in my previous examples

Many who accuse others of disrespect are being disrespectful themselves but refuse to accept this fact. It’s a mad world but of course it always has been and their will always be those who think that their opinion is right and everyone else is wrong. So it’s OK for them to be disrespectful in their minds.

In business relationships we need people to be respectful but questioning and on occasion challenging both are very important life skills. If we can’t debate and sometimes agree to disagree but still work together on other projects and issues then we will fail to learn and grow.

What has dismayed me over the past year is that people on either side of many debates I thought were level headed, reflective thinkers who used reason, logic and debate. Have shown a side of themselves I have never seen and its not a nice side. They have become argumentative, sulky, bullying, disrespectful and worse. Maybe it’s time we all looked in the mirror and found our self respect and respect for others. Hopefully then we can have useful discussion and argument that engages and is productive.

I do hope that 2017 ends up creative, energetic and productive and not more divisive and disrespectful. I live in hope. Well that’s a rap and I’ll leave it to the kids to teach the adults.

The Respect Rap

Trump Berates CNN Reporter

Meaning of the word respect

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What can business learn from the Rugby World Cup?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past few weeks you’ll know that England is hosting the Rugby World Cup. Maybe your not at all interested and indeed I posed the question “ The Rugby World Cup. Does it matter?” on Salford City Radio’s Sportszone programme recently. We’ll come back to that a little later.

Even if your not into Rugby Union here are some statistics from the 2015 Rugby World Cup that should interest anyone in business. These are from the IRB report from Ernst & Young. The Economic impact of the Rugby World Cup 2015. Plus my own research.

  • The RWC is the 3rd biggest global sporting event after the Olympics and Football World Cup
  • In Single sport events only the football world cup has a bigger paying number attending
  • 95 Countries have been involved in 2015 RWC. Rugby is now played in 119 countries, supporting an estimated 6.6m players worldwide
  • The sport is the national game for many of these countries, Fiji, Samoa etc in context Samoa – Population 190,372 (Salford 218, 000) Fiji – Population 881,065 (Manchester 2.6M) – New Zealand 4.5M (North West England 7M)
  • Rugby World Cup 2015 is expected to attract around 466,000 foreign visitors to Britain
  • Visitor spend on matches and visiting tourist attractions of approx £869M
  • Investment in infrastructure for the Tournament is around £85 million, bringing lasting benefits to the Host Cities
  • In total, Rugby World Cup 2015 is expected to deliver £2.2 billion in output to the economy, translating into an additional £982 million of value added to Britain’s GDP
  • The number of jobs created approx 41,000
  • Global TV audience is estimated to be 800Million – 1.2 Billion
  • In the first two weeks of the tournament almost a million people attended matches

If your business is in one of the host cities for the RWC has it benefited? If not maybe you should be asking why and look at your marketing plan as there are some pretty impressive statistics in that list.

Regardless of England being the first host nation who have failed to get out of the group stages the International Rugby Board (IRB) can claim with confidence that the RWC has lived up to expectations both on and off the pitch.

The marketing has been superb and creative. The use of worldwide local rugby clubs and celebrities from different industries to tell stories to enhance the experience before matches has been masterful. As has taking the sport from it’s traditional southern heartland and bringing it north. Also the connections with local communities to engage them in health initiatives and the support for local businesses looks like it will bring lasting rewards.

It’s also helped that their has been some fantastic moments on the pitch. Are their negatives of course their are. Here are a few.

  • Tickets are extremely expensive and freeze out those on lower incomes
  • Not enough matches have been played north of the M25
  • Many foreigners have been dismayed by the lack of public transport co-ordination – although it did get
  • Some games should have been played at larger stadiums
  • Did the head coach pick the right team – that one will run and run

The IRB has been working on those and other issues as the tournament has progressed and managed to resolve some of them. Others will be worked on post world cup and it will remain to be seen if the team make an impact in the next 6 nations competition.

So what can business learn from this if anything?

First that planning is everything and even then things won’t go to plan and you have to be flexible and fast enough to implement fixes on the fly. Even if they are temporary and held together with sticking plaster.

Second your marketing and communication has to create a buzz around the event. So that even those who don’t necessarily want to partake at least take notice and remember your product/service/name.

Third create a spectacle for your product/service/event. Make it memorable. Enlist local celebrates to endorse you.

Finally when the event is over whether it was successful or not go through the steps and see what worked and what didn’t and why. This will give you great base information to use for future events.

So what was the result of the Sportszone question “ The Rugby World Cup. Does it matter?” arguing the yes case were rugby union supporters Lewis Hughes and I. In the no corner were football supporter Colin James and Rugby League supporter Rob Parkinson.

We had a lively and interesting debate but didn’t persuade Colin and Rob to become RU supporters. But they agreed it was a spectacle and that it has so far been a success and Colin even went to a game. So you can persuade people to become customers if only for a specific event or promotion.

If that’s left you feeling nostalgic here’s a couple of videos from the world cup to sing your heart out too.

Ella Eyre–Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Paloma Faith – The World in Union

Sportszone – Discussion “ The Rugby World Cup. Does it matter?”

Coast to Coast Black Sabbath

You may think that’s an odd title for a blog but what do the Restaurant chain Coast to Coast and the fathers of everything metal Black Sabbath have in Common?

Let’s start with an instantly recognisable unique brand and product and carry on with great customer service and communication. Let me expand I attended the final night of Sabbath’s current leg of their world tour at a hometown gig in Birmingham on Dec 22nd 2013.

I had booked the tickets several months earlier through Sabbath’s website where I was asked if I wanted to leave my Facebook, Twitter and email details and I did.

From then on I had regular communications via all three channels giving me information; photographs, fan reviews and band interviews. Each of these reminded me that it would not be long before I would be with the band. Although I knew the same was happening with tens of thousands of other individuals on other continents I still felt special.

I felt part of a club a family even and as my anticipation and excitement grew the nearer the concert day came I took to social media along with thousands of others. This ensured Sabbath were constantly in the news as fans created a frenzy. Even on the day a couple of hours before the concert I got updates telling me the band were looking forward to the concert and they hoped I enjoyed it. This also continued after the concert. The attention to detail in communication was a masterclass in how to run a news/social media campaign for an event.

We arrived in Birmingham mid afternoon and after settling into the hotel went to look for eateries. We settled on Coast to Coast as it looked warm and inviting from the outside its signage caught your eye more than other restaurants on Broad Street.

So we stepped inside The Restaurant Group’sBirmingham restaurant and were met by a greeter with an engaging smile who was friendly, helpful and engaging in conversation. She introduced us to our server who took us to our table; she introduced herself and again engaged us in conversation.

Throughout the meal she returned to the table and rather than just ask how the food was or did we want another drink she engaged us in conversation each time. She also remembered bits from previous conversations and brought those into the current conversation. She was doing this for several other tables at the same time as were other servers.

The ambiance was very good and a lot of thought had gone into furnishings, uniforms and staff training and the food was pretty good as well. When we finished and paid the bill we had a five minute conversation with our server Josie and then the same with the greeter on the way out.

All this communication is meant to make you feel at home and want to return again, which it does. The face to face communication starts as you walk in the door up until you walk out again. But whilst you’re there, there are subtle hints about connecting with the Coast family via all types of social media. Of course when your friendly server asks you to fill in a feedback form at the end of the meal you can’t wait to do it.

That feedback form includes your social media details and the day after I received a thank you email for dining with them and special offer vouchers. As I am now a customer and part of the family I get regular updates about special offers, openings and information regarding Coast restaurants near venues where I may be going to a gig.

Now you may say others do this so what’s special about Coast and Sabbath. What’s special is that all that communication, branding, marketing and social media interaction is done seamlessly, effortlessly and unobtrusively.

By the time you sample the product you are fully engaged with it and can’t wait to taste or hear it. At that point the engaging human interaction seals the deal and you really want to come back to Coast to Coast just as you want Ozzy Osborne to be your best mate and go for a pint at his favourite Birmingham pub and tell you about his days in the factory.

As an experience both make it one you will never forget. Many companies get the marketing and branding right and even have a great product. But when you engage with them on a human level they don’t quite match the expectations they have built up.

If you want to make your business no matter what the size or sector more successful in 2014 checking out how Sabbath and Coast to Coast run their business would be time well worth spending. I believe Andrew page CEO of The Restaurant Group when he says they are thriving because of their customer focus. But the last word has to go to Ozzy “To each their own to question why, learn from each other so they say”

Have a happy and successful 2014