Sony right to take stand

I couldn’t help feeling a little incensed by Mark Ritson’s ‘Caveat Patronus – let FIFA Sponsors Beware’. The question isn’t whether Sony has the right to demand such behaviours. Rather, it is about the most basic of ethical behaviours that we all expect of the organisations we work with: transparency, openness, and honesty.

We now have the first generation of consumers who will make purchasing decisions based on ethics, so Sony has every right to stand up and say what many of us have been thinking privately. I am sure a lot of us feel more positively about the brand for having done so, just as we feel less positively towards FIFA for its culture of secrecy.

Sean Kinmont, founding partner, 23red

Asos pays the price 

The news that ASOS’s share price dropped by a third following poor results demonstrates the danger of over-reliance on discounting.

Few retailers, on or offline, are strangers to price cuts, but it’s off to hell in a handcart for those who become addicted to what should be a planned, short, sharp tactic. 

As well as margins suffering, longer term impacts are loss of brand saliency, brand switching, low loyalty and reduced penetration. And as with all addictions, there’s the recovery time. 

Ian Humphris, joint managing director, LIFE 

Innovation for the big

Your recent article about creativity in the workplace raised questions about the optimum number of people to involve in the creative process. Paul D’Arcy highlighted the benefits of keeping creative teams small. However, small is not always beautiful when it comes to innovation.

Smaller teams can suffer from ‘group think’. Effective idea-generation campaigns are best done by leveraging larger scales of contributors. This reflects the words of Franz Johansson, who ascertained in ‘The Medici Effect’, that “innovation happens at the intersection of multiple disciplines” and cultures. The more people – the more intersections. 

In today’s hyper-connected world – with social media and the ability to crowdsource ideas using technology – effective innovation is possible on huge scales. Once those great ideas have been discovered, that’s when a smaller steering committee will be necessary to bring the best concepts to fruition.

Boris Pluskowski, SVP customer success & innovation services, Mindjet

Tesco’s Banking balance

So Tesco Bank has launched a current account, “designed by its customers”. By speaking to 20,000 of its loyal following, the company understands exactly what they want, which is one of the most important things when considering new ways of retaining customers. 

By linking up with its Clubcard to collect points as you spend, among other benefits, Tesco Bank is giving customers a good reason not to develop a wandering eye. Another player that has shown the importance of rewarding customers with incentives they really want is Lloyds Bank with its ‘Club Lloyds’.

The majority of customer retention strategies are driven by reactionary panic. However, understanding the issues your current customers are facing and going the extra mile to maintain their trust, as Tesco has done, is paramount. 

Ian Horsham, divisional director for promotions and incentives, Grass Roots Group

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