Monday, December 24, 2007

Advertising disabilities with darkness

Among other things, Mae West is famous for a shrewd observation: "It is better to be looked over than over-looked". She was commenting on the matter of women being the subject of unsolicited attention, but the context today might equally be marketing communications and a similar challenge to capture unsolicited attention.

It is the starting point of most agencies working on behalf of clients today to bring heightened attention to a specific cause. This is a time of marketing abundance and a barrage of communications daily that dulls the senses. It makes the first challenge the need to break through the barrier of indifference and be registered. If the advertiser is fortunate, the message will also be read and processed in its entirety rather than being partially processed and abandoned.

This is not to suggest that shock tactics are always a good idea and should be justified. It is merely to provide the perspective that it can be needed in order to gain traction in the first instance.

The campaign in question certainly does that. Which is better however: a less controversial approach that doesn't get noticed as much, or one that is polarizing and inspires greater involvement? The number of responses to the original article is a testament to the latter. There is a rubric in advertising that states that effective communications that engages, moves and persuades will never appeal to the everyone: an authentic point of view will by definition be polarizing. Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty of which a principle OFDer was one author is an example: there are plenty of women who reject this vision and accessibility of beauty, but a core and zealous group that does not.

Like good art, good advertising will provoke a response, which inevitably will be favorable among some and unfavorable among others.

The above duly noted, the campaign does cross the line into poor taste in our view at OFD. Positioning disabilities as 'taking a person hostage' is true in a conceptual sense - but not compelling when expressed in a literal sense. Positioning any person as a victim is not a constructive way to frame the issue. Moreover, the dark overtones of this strategy are likely to alienate more that win people over. Top marks for creativity, but miss-applied in our book. A good idea to drop this approach and pursue another.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Finally, a term for what we've known all along

For what we are about to receive....

Advertising is an industry of manipulation. It is a vital if not perennially controversial agent of the modern economy that help keeps the wheels of consumption and therefore commerce turning (according to a recent NPR news segment as much as 60% of economic activity is attributable to consumerism, which advertising undoubtedly feeds).

The copywriting craft is a formal function within the industry which recognized that words are a powerful force in shaping people's perceptions, not only of products but the consumption experience.

Recent research confirms this influence and gives it a formal term: confirmation bias. According to a recent NYT article:.

“If you say something is juicy, people almost unconsciously turn up their ‘juicy sensors’ when they taste the food. Once these taste sensors are activated, people become preprogrammed to think a dish tastes good.'’

The notion that confirmation bias can actually have a physical effect on taste bud receptors has to make those in the persuasion profession feel somewhat better about what they do. After all, using the right words is not merely a suggestion. In reading a seductive description which affects the body's physiology it actually DOES contribute to greater enjoyment, not just the idea of more pleasure.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Social Networking: The Now, The Future

grapes as trajectory

To mix metaphors, social networking (SN) continues is meteoric ascent. Not only does the pace of new community creation continue seemingly unabated, but in its wake so too is the number of pixels – paper or digital – being devoting to the subject. Accordingly, OFD provides a brief view of SN today and the future.

We don't think social networking can't be thought of as a fad, because it is here to stay and it will remain a permanent feature of most people's lives.

We do think it is experiencing heightened and unsustainable levels of engagenebt. It's the novelty factor. For those of who remember the 90s and the internet space before the dot com crash, this feels eerily similar: a giddy abandon to build without the kind of discipline that is needed for utility to pay out.

One inevitable consequence of over-development is fragmentation: with the explosion of social networking groups, let alone individual blogs, there has to be a day (ok era) of reckoning in which hundreds of thousands of SN sites and interest-based groups simply atrophy and wither away like grapes dying on the vine.

If anyone has any statistics on the number of sites that a heavy/medium on-line user regular reads and the subset number s/he contributes to, we be interested. We also be interested to hear of any insight on the curve; no doubt for a typical individual it starts out expanding quickly and then shrinks to a manageable smaller collection.

We believe the repertoire has got to be fairly small. There are, after all, a limited number of hours in everyone's day, and while the digital world has it's appeal there is still competition for limited discretionary time from the real world, which provides something that the on-line world can never provide – the multi-sensory experience. It requires going no further for an example than a neighborhood bar, where one can see people, stimulate taste buds with drink, smelling the weapons of the attraction game (perfume and after-shave) hear music, and have unintentional (and if you're luckier) intentional physical contact. The desire for these kinds of experiences competes with the time people can devote to SN activities, no matter how ubiquitous wireless devices and coverage becomes.

Makes for a perfect longitudinal study of on-line behavior regarding social networks. Any one interested?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stirring Bulletin #5

This is a departure from the usual Stirring Bulletin format.

Normally we contrast Middle Ages thinking (pre-enlightened marketing practice) with Renaissance thinking (post enlightenment marketing practice).

OFD has come across such an outstanding example of Middle Ages Thinking that it merits its dedicated focus.

This satire brilliantly captured the misguided ways of yore: where self-indulgent agencies and their clients were obsessed with espousing their own message, but falling on the deaf ears of consumers who saw through the gesture and artifice. A glaring example of what approach NOT to take.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Stirring Bulletin #4


Brand actions make more impact - and count for more - in the eyes of prospects and customers.

People are more sophisticated and savvy about marketing practices than ever before. They have become increasingly aware of marketing techniques and strategies that companies use to appeal to them – it’s not just the younger generations that are seeing through it and reacting indifferently when something looks and smells like marketing.

Rising consumer economic power, more informed choices driven by internet-driven information and social networks had shifted the balance of power towards consumers in how they think and feel about brands.

Compounded by a market situation of product and brand proliferation at shelf and on-line, communications ‘promise-making’ is no longer as effective.

Brands that engage in actions as a way to connect with people will be more successful because, as with people, behavior speaks louder than words.


Middle Ages Thinking

Communications is the dominant strategy to reach and shape perceptions of prospects to attract them towards the brand

Renaissance thinking

It is through actions - and dynamic interactions - that brands deliver value to the prospects that experience them, who in turn fuel a buzz which enable other people to connect with it vicariously.


Charmin’s brand action in New York City

The brand delivered a welcome experience for tourist about town (and one presumes, locals too) with its 20 individual restrooms staffed with a dedicated team of attendants and cleaners, along with a comfortable waiting area. The communications’ wit and style only added to were charming too.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stirring Bulletin #3

Companies need to embrace the latitude to vary brand expression that the current marketing era provides and use it to their advantage.

We live in an age of fragmentation. The domination of a few networks and a limited number of channels has given way to an ever expanding distribution of content through the web, in which narrow-casting when sufficiently precise is substantial enough to be a viable business model (the long-tail).

More than anyone else, Gen Y and Millenials are particularly comfortable in a world of fragmentation; through the explosion of channels and content they see no pervasive homogeneity in a fast-moving world. They live in a world full of contradictions, exceptions and differences that complexity brings and accept it is they who have to put the pieces together and fashion them into a personal understanding.


Middle Ages Thinking

Ensuring consistency in the brand across all points of expression and across product lines delivers clarity of consumer understanding and ensures the company controls what the brand stands for.

Renaissance thinking

Driving effective brand–consumer connections means it is inevitable that the brand will talk to different groups in different ways. People who witness a brand marketing to other groups accept it as a natural reality of marketing practice, not identity crises.


VW markets its cars to a number of different groups spanning at least three life stages. The communications are vastly different in idea and executional form, yet speak to each specific group authentically and with real insight about their outlook and relationship with driving.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stirring Bulletin #2

For communications to be more effective, they need to exercise appropriate restraint to successfully engage an audience on their terms.

In the quest to ‘stand out from the clutter’ and ‘do more with less’ there is a greater (and less discriminating) use of shock tactics to grab attention. Equally troubling is the trend of communications towards more telling and selling than engaging with people on their terms.

Engaging in a communication is a contract (albeit an intangible one). People give their time and attention in exchange for a reward. It goes beyond the rational acquisition of facts and information, it is the possibility of a psychic reward. This is not just an emotional reward that comes from the content of the ad, such as humor. It’s the lift one gets from the figuring out an ad, which comes from active not passive participation. It makes people feel clever.

There's another important bonus not to be over-looked. Investing something more than mere attention to figure the ad out – imagination, creative problem solving, deduction – and getting a psychic reward inspires a psychological bond. It may not itself motivate people to drop everything and go an buy the product. But it creates a openness, a positive disposition towards the brand that is separate from whatever the content might be.


The Middle Ages

Communications are created to be complete in design, containing all desirable elements and requiring the audience to bring only their attention

Renaissance thinking

The notion of the audience as participants in communications is taken into account in their creation. It requires restraint: leaving room for the viewer to fill in the space to complete the comprehension.

Example: McDonald's Outdoor Board

Requires the viewer to realize it is acting as a sundial to show that it is time for McDonald's foods and beverages throughout the day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Stirring Bulletin #1

Marketers and their brands need to shift the orientation in how they go to market. They need to engage people on their terms.

The rise in consumer affluence coupled with rising sovereignty from access to knowledge and choices – both driven by the internet – puts people at the center of driving decisions of what and how they want their needs fulfilled. The internet has also spawned a people-driven dialog about issues and brands that is apart from the previously order, controlled and dictated by media companies, marketers and advertising agencies who dominated the channel and the message:

There are so many examples of how marketers can change in order to engage people on their terms, it will be the subject of the next several Stirring Bulletins (TM). Volume 2 will focus on giving ideas to the people they can grow.

Middle Ages thinking

Advertising ideas where communicated at people, as passive recipients. Success was often measured and tracked in terms of whether or not people played back the idea the marketer had defined

Renaissance thinking

Give people an idea they can take, engage with and make their own heightening their involvement, as well as in the process reach into new areas and interpretations not previously planned.

Example: Axe Click

The idea of young men using a clickometer to record how many times they were checked out took on a new life beyond the original idea. Young men debated what the scoring should be, how it should differ in different situations, etc. giving it a life well beyond advertising exposure and penetrating popular teen culture

Stirring Bulletins - a jolt of enlightenment for a new age

Poor George Samsa. As the protagonist in Kafka’s classic novel, we might think him unfortunate. In waking up to find he’d turned into a cockroach overnight it was he who had changed rather than the world around him.

It is the reverse problem facing many marketers today, for it is they who have not changed while the world around them undoubtedly has, the one they live in, work in and make profits in.

A Darwinian Mandate
The consumer, cultural and technological landscape has so dramatically been recast that it calls for a different approach that fits the times, not only to how to connect with people but in a companies’ primary goal of building profitable brand relationships.

To do so however requires a corollary shift in thinking. Existing ways of thinking and marketing have become outdated over night. Companies are scrambling to re-orient their practice. But it’s a time of unprecedented opportunity for those who are able to adapt quickly and seize the initiative.

We’ve heard that one of the things getting in the way of companies adapting the demands of the new era is in understanding what the existing ways of thinking and principles are replaced by. You can’t get rid of something unless the replacement is clear.

To that end, we're providing some pointers to the way ahead and comparing it to the immediate past. Thus....

‘Middle ages thinking'

describes the old 20th century thinking and approach

'Renaissance thinking'

characterizes the new thinking required for the future

We hope this shines a helpful light on the way ahead. Stand by for next dispatch.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Advertising needs more orginality and less copycatting

It is said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

It is also a sign of lack of originality and creativity.

A Hitachi banner at The Economist's website invites readers to learn how Hitachi has helped light up the small town of Bandon Oregon as a 'real world' illustration of its product benefit and brand reach.

If this sounds familiar, rewind about a year ago when Nikon launched the very same initiative in Georgetown South Carolina. Dubbing it Picturetown USA, it aimed to showcase how the ordinary lives of its town folk were transformed by the picture taking qualities of Nikon cameras.

Surely Hitachi could have taken a more distinctive and brand differentiating route?

A goldmine in plain sight

The standards of service at many mass market retail outlets has fallen to an astonishing low point. It is a huge opportunity for the right minded marketer to capitalize upon, even in circumstances in which they are selling a commodity offering, or in situations in which the normal consumers freedoms are not in place.

Take two shops literally opposite each other on a particular concourse at San Francisco airport. Both sell largely the same items. When encountered yesterday, both were ineptly run. Long lines snaked through and out of the stores because counter staff moved slowly, thought slowly and reacted slowly. Even an activity as simple as handling payment and operating a till became an unnecessarily time-wasting undertaking.

Friends have remarked that there is no value to making either of these operations more efficient. The consumer is a captive one: their choice is confined. There is literally nowhere else to go other than a place selling the same stuff at the same inept service. The friends are also quick to mention that it's not possible to get better employee contributions and commitments when paying minimum wage.

They miss the point in dramatic fashion:

1. Where products are commodities - even of basic staples - service is the opportunity to be a differentiator.

2. Doing so can sustain a modest price premium, one which (presuming the consumer notices) he is probably prepared to pay if he understands that speedy efficient service is part of the transaction beyond the actual item being purchased.

3. It makes sound economic sense to pay employees MORE for retail positions in which higher productivity translates directly into a greater volume of customer processing and therefore sales (to expect minimum wage earners to perform higher is unrealistic)

4. The fact that the consumer is captive - and does not have the typical freedom of choice to exercise - does not mean she or he does not still want better service.

5. The economic benefit for the shop delivering faster, more efficient retail service is to have a greater share of customers. It would require disrupting an existing consumer belief and behavior. Most people don't ever stop to consider where else to buy what they're after: they presume product prices and service are identical in an airport.

6. Promoting the service advantage where and when it matters - before prospects have wandered into a store - enables them to be conscious of a service that may be very much needed and preferred over an unknown alternative, even if that alternative is just a few yards away. This is not unlike the pitches that stall owners colorfully deliver against competing vendors in a marketplace, bringing awareness of something special to attract greater than fair share of traffic.

It is hard for any one who has been on the receiving end of retail service in an airport recently not to come away without being painfully aware of how much room for improvement there is. And where glaring potential for improvement lies, gold is often to be found.

Be careful what you look for. You just may find it.

It is often the case that one sees what one is trying to find. It's a common but dangerous tendency. Belief is, after all, merely a matter of perspective.

Lambasting current TV programming as a scourge is a popular pastime, criticized for its influence upon the younger generation's values and responsible for the decline in moral fabric of this country. One writer suggests that Sweet Sixteen is a case in point, in that it violates the principles upon which this country is built: "the idea of being a do-it-yourself, hard working, striving individual, who fights to achieve success and prosperity for themselves"

There's plenty of programming out there that upholds these qualities directly if you look at them in an open-minded way. Take I LOVE NEW YORK on VH1. A collection of men compete for the affection of a sultry woman (and one presumes more than that..) and in so doing demonstrate the qualities needed to pursue the American Dream. Survivor is another. Project Runway, The Apprentice. In fact, much of the reality TV genre could be seen to support the American Dream in a significant way.

Don't get be wrong, I LOVE NEW YORK is in my view terrible, terrible entertainment but that is besides the point: in its content it upholds the priorities on which this country was built. It is also good to see some contemporary role reversal, with men subjugating themselves to women and pandering to their arbitrary whims instead of the other way around.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Rediscover the lost art of conversation

Maligning focus group has become something of a sport over the last few years.
Bad recruiting, the ‘group think’ dynamic, an unnatural discussion environment have all been given as the reasons why this research forum consistently delivers under-whelming results.

In this moderator’s opinion, the over-whelming reason why focus groups don’t provide the actionable insights and inspiration Clients and agencies need comes from the craftsman, not the tools. It is simply mediocre moderating.

Moderating is not about soliciting people’s opinions in capturing reactions, either in feelings or thoughts. Its greater value is in challenge people to engage their imaginations, to make them willing collaborators in evolving concepts, executions or positions. Too often, the focus is upon establishing what the reaction is and what drives it, without engaging participating in a ‘what-if’ type exercise.

Tapping into our imagination is something we all do in our basic experience of every day life: our perception of reality is shaped by it. And yet all too often stimuli are presented in a way which doesn’t encourage people to engage their imagination.

Perhaps the greatest flaw that comprises research value is the tendency to follow a linear line of questioning. Insights come from conversations that mirror the real –world character. They are fluid and evolve dynamically as the exchanges flow. All too often, the imposition of a rote list of questions comes from a client’s restrictive (yet understandable) desire for consistency. Yet what is gained in consistency is lost in quality of discussion because no two groups think the same way and evolve ideas in the same pre-determined order.

At OFD we’re all about maximizing the Return on Research investment. So for all clients and agencies out there here’s a list suggestions for how to get more out of a much maligned research method:

Identify a core range of ISSUES to explore not a prescriptive list of questions
This will keep the discussion focused but allow the moderator to tackle the issues in the way that make sense for the character of each group.

DON’T over fill a group with too many issues
It will compromise the key quality of focus groups which is have the time to explore issues and get a deeper understanding.

Don’t over fill a group with too many PEOPLE
Conversations are richer among discussion of six people than eight. Facility value and moderator time is not improved by talking to more people. Guaranteed, two of eight people will sit back and not say much. It means the moderator will spend more time soliciting opinions than exploring opinions, ideas and reaction, and what-ifs.

Build time in for the moderator to EXPLORE an issue ‘off topic’.
All too often, there’s a moment of magic possibility in most groups when an exciting idea emerges that hasn’t been predicted. Give the moderator the freedom to explore at least one such idea per group. It can often unlock the most powerful learning of the group. In many cases though, the opportunity is passed up by the moderator in order to follow the strict list of question.

Listen as much to what is NOT said as to what it being said.
It requires more active listening and thinking on the fly, but it can provide extraordinary insight. Once you’ve got the hang of it, after a while you will hear them as loudly and clearly as if they’d been actually said.

Pay attention to WHEN comments come up in the evening.
Avoiding group think can be challenged and minimized by a good moderator, but part of being a good back-room attendant is learning what NOT to be influenced by. For example, when the room has been discussing a topic for 20 minutes and only then do problems and issues start to emerge, these are likely to be from venturing into ‘over-think' mode rather than issues that anchor people’s reactions.

Encourage a climate of EVOLUTION

Exposing the same stimuli across multiple groups delivers consistency at the expense of maximizing return of research investment. Far better to evolve the ideas or work to leverage learning and tighten up the form for expose in later groups, than unequivocally prove why the in-going stimuli has failed.

Brands creating revenue streams for customers

We at OFD made a discovery recently. It was more of an awareness of a pattern, and while it happened suddenly we disagree with our friend Malcolm Gladwell that is was the result of rapid cognition, the core thesis of his engaging book Blink.

Our 'ahah!' was much more likely the result of expansive processing in the human mind happening below the radar; realizations, epiphanies and Eurekas being consequences of mental activity and creativity emerging from the depths of our sub-conscious rather than the spontaneity and randomness or rapid processing it might otherwise seem.

We noticed a pattern of companies that create value for themselves by creating a revenue stream for its customers. A few examples of this are

Ebay unlocks money previously frozen in objects that have become less valuable to people over time. Some people make a living out of this.

Babajob rewards people who are the referral backbone for connecting job seekers with job oppportunities. Two kinds of people - the person encouraging a possible candidate to sign up and the person providing a character reference are compensated.

The German government by law, must buy any excess electricity that a home owner produces by solar means, beyond what he consumes in running the home.

This could be an important clue for marketers. People understand they possess more than possessions but knowledge capital that they want to be rewarded for. Perhaps in a web2.0 world the way to make social networking pay is it create a way for consumers to be compensated for the kinds and caliber of connections that they make possible.

Food for thought.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Making Social Networking Pay

An article in yesterday's New York Times represents a brilliantly inventive example of how social networking can be used to drive revenue. It comes from India, and it is helping the countries poorest people access a job market that connects them with badly needed sources of income.

The genius behind the idea comes from creating an on-line network by leveraging a critical and highly valued off-line network: world-of-mouth. In India, personal referrals are the way people typically get ad-hoc access to job openings. By paying individuals a very modest sum once the candidate they have had a hand in referring gets placed, the social network site babajobs is acknowledging the inherent value of a reliable referral and the risk that accompanies vouching for someone else's character.

Some inspiration here for marketers in first world countries.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stumbling upon treasure

One of the joys of being in account planning is venturing out to explore the lives of people we're trying to better understand. This temporary immersion goes by many names these days: ethnography if you're trained in anthropology. contextual inquiry if you come from the realm of human factors engineering (a term which has always sounded so cold and impersonal, which is quite in contrast to the work they do).

While interaction with the people being studies has its place, often the most rewarding discoveries come from pure observation: watching people use the space they inhabit and seeing things that they've accumulated over time.

Studying garage mechanic culture in the service bays of a well-known high street petroleum company, we came upon a a wonderful piece of this tapestry largely obscured by a variety of boxes, books and other stuff, but there nonetheless and well-worn with time. The poster was at eye-level and bore a simple phrase of timeless truth:

The business challenges that Ford has faced in recent years are well known, as are the mixed success in making the brand more appealing in the face of successful foreign competition. But there's a vein of gold in this simple statement that suggests a pride and a longevity in an age when so much mass production is devoid of human connection to the folks who build them, or service them.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Trevi fountain publicity stunt backfires

Generating buzz for the launch of a new Italian soda brand has brought the entire country to its feet. Diavolo Rosso misjudged public sentiment badly when it poured its strawberry syrup into the fountain in order to gain widespread attention.

Though the syrup dye won't damage the fountain it's considered an act of desecration for what must be considered a symbol of national pride..

It's a great example of guerrilla marketing gone too far.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Using nature for inventing branding

Delightful branding that adds character to this second hand record/cd store. Given the street is south facing, the shadow is cast on the shop-front the entire day.

What other retail brands could use this kind of inventing branding to their advantage?

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Age of Transparency - Part II

We made an interesting discovery in the fridge this week. Much like its real world cousin, it's the result of two items having fermented and combined over the past month.

The first item was commentary on the peril companies face in this age of transparency (Sep 9th) The second was a point-of-view on Dove's latest branding effort, it's Onslaught commercial which seems more rhetoric that authenticity (Oct 7th).

The authenticity of Unilever's Dove campaign is called into question because the company promotes the very opposite values through its Axe brand marketing efforts.

Well OFD called it before Advertisng Age did.

In today's age of transparency, companies can't hide aspects of their operations, sourcing of raw materials or values conflict that they were able to conceal in yesteryear. The web 2.0 age of the internet it spawning a new a climate of corporate accountabilty, one that's forced upon firms whether they like it or not.

Marketers can choose to ignore as they wish. The enlightened ones will read the tea leaves and seize it for inspiration and entrepreneurial opportunity.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Some things you couldn't discover if you set out to find them

The search was to understand, well, search behavior: the degree to which Americans have been hunting for health content on-line.

Google trends makes it oh so easy to do (thank you)

Within moments, a trend line for the volume of searches for 'health' appeared stretching back 2 years, and other to the beginning of 2007.

Things got really interesting looking at the weekly trend. A fascinating recurring pattern emerged. The level of searching stays relatively level Monday through Thursday, but noticeably declines Friday through Sunday. The pattern recommences back on Monday. The consistency of this cycle was unexpected.

It started us as OFD wondering what could account for the trend: people abandoning their interest in health with the on-set of the weekend. Well, it makes intuitive sense. People want to cut loose, live a little, have some fun. Less interest in wanting to be immersed in the more serious topic and preoccupation of health.

Google trends makes it easy to plug in different topics, to compare a variety of trends. So we debated and explored a few options. The result was a truly startling discovery: an absolutely opposite pattern, whose exact mirror reflection of health was astounding:

It created speculation and a raft of questions.

Is this the behavior of the same people?

What accounts for the distinct switch in focus as the week progresses?

Is being at work inhibiting people from pursuing topics they are more comfortable exploring from home at the weekend?

Truly, something that couldn't have been discovered if one had set out to find it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Stirring bulletin #7


Replacing a process mentality with a method one will serve marketers well.

There's ample evidence that advertising agencies and brand partners are re-focusing to meet the new demands of web 2.0 era. Marketers need for change goes beyond mere market place and brand re-oriention, they need to re-engineer critical work practices if they are to survive and thrive.


Middle Ages thinking

Corporations strictly institutionalized a process approach throughout their organization: highly controllable it helped management ensure business success was consistently repeated. In execution, a process mentality tends to be rigid, often linear and imposes limits on innovative and creative thinking - critical success factors in today's climate.

Renaissance thinking

A method approach recognizes the need for focus and flexibility in working practices. Focused on establishing key areas of inquiry - pursued with intellectual rigor - it allows the freedom to engage them in a way that best suits the character of the problem. It also enables the company to better adapt to changes happening more quickly in the marketplace and consumer culture.

It has implications for human resource strategy, requiring the deliberate hiring of people with the skills to be capable leaders in this new age of flexible, fast-moving operations.