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Advertising Accountability – Where We Stand Today; Where We’ll Be Tomorrow

By Jane-Michèle Clark

Today – What Fall 2010 Research Reveals

As we slowly recover from the most recent economic downturn, increased fiscal responsibility and accountability can be found in most sectors. This is one of the good things to come out of the dark days of 2008. With this increased budget scrutiny, we are also seeing increased demand for solid returns on marketing expenditures.

4 Simple Steps for Preventing Problems – Planning for the “Unexpected”

by Jane-Michele Clark

Businesses are far more likely to have fewer problems and be more profitable when they have processes in place and everyone actually follows the process. Here are four things to incorporate into your contingency planning.


What To Do When the Yoghurt Hits the Fan: 8 Steps for Handling Corporate Crises

by Jane-Michele Clark

No matter how many preventative measures are taken, things go wrong in every company at some point. How your company responds in a crisis has a direct bearing on how quickly it will recover consumer confidence and sales.

10 Steps for Creating Solid Business Strategy

by Jane-Michele Clark

The key to setting sound business strategy is to first do a thorough review of where you stand in relation to the market and your competitors... and to assess your position in the context of trends evolving in your industry. This article gives you 10 steps to help you create solid vision for the future.


Blue Ocean: One of 15 Business Strategy Pillars

by Jane-Michele Clark

In this article Jane-Michele lists the 15 pillars of developing sound business strategy and answers the question: “What is Blue Ocean Strategy”. The short answer: Companies can realize strong growth and achieve above average profits by carving out a new niche for themselves and creating demand in what may, for a while, be uncontested market space.

The Evolution of Customer Loyalty Programs

By Jane-Michele Clark

By taking a partial look at the evolution of customer loyalty programs, it is easy to see why so many rewards-based programs are not delivering what the customer really wants.


The Role of Loyalty Programs Today

By Jane-Michele Clark

It is commonly accepted that well-conceived and executed, formal customer loyalty programs can increase retention rates as well as revenue and profitability per customer. Despite the expectation that over $2 billion will be spent worldwide on customer loyalty programs in 2010, less than 15% of companies today are leveraging their customer loyalty programs to advantage. Why?

Building Guest Loyalty in Luxury Hotels

by Jane-Michele Clark

Over the years, customer loyalty has become synonymous in some circles with points building programs. Having helped launch and grow more than one major loyalty program, I know that points programs (and their equivalents) can be very effective for at shaping customer behaviour and at locking in the right customers.

There are, however, ways to engender long term loyalty that transcend points. This is particularly true for luxury goods, large-ticket items that are purchased infrequently and high end hotels, as you will see from the following article.


What Women Business Travellers Expect as Hotel Guests

by Jane-Michèle Clark

Twenty-five years or so ago, when I first started travelling on business, there were very few other women on those early morning air commutes. Today women represent nearly 50% of business travellers, and hotels around the world are trying to determine what will keep women happy. It’s an important question because women are nearly twice as loyal to a hotel as men.

Top Five Embarrassing Hotel Moments – According to Hotel Employees

By Jane-Michèle Clark

We do a lot of work in the hospitality industry and thought I’d share a couple of tidbits from things we’ve learned along the way.

I know, I know, when things go wrong in a hotel, they seem so much worse than the missteps that happen in “regular offices”. They are also a lot more comical – and far more embarrassing for all concerned.

The top 5 “Most Embarrassing Moments” as reported by hotel employees are listed below, along with suggestions on how to handle them.


Handling The Top Five Hotel Mishaps

by Jane-Michèle Clark

Over the years we’ve worked with several hotel chains (and for a while, I was a Senior Exec with a private facility managed by Le Meridien). Based on feedback we’ve had from hoteliers (including front desk staff who get to hear about most of the mistakes), and findings that came out of research recently conducted with business travellers, here are the top five mishaps that guests tell us are frequently mishandled (or so the traveller feels).

The What Works for Me (WWFM) comments are from hotel staff known for service excellence.

Hotels Overbilling Costs Travellers +$.75 Billion a Year

By Jane-Michèle Clark

Despite online travel advisories and other warnings, recent research shows that travellers continue to be overbilled at hotels around the world. The hardest hit: The corporate traveller.

It’s nothing deliberate, of course, but human and computer errors (yes, they do happen LOL) result in the in the average business travellers being over-billed by about $14.00 a night.


How to Keep Hotel Employees Happy and Motivated

by Jane-Michele Clark “Hiring right is hard enough. How do I keep good people? And how do I get them to reflect the high standards of our hotel?”

This was the question posed by the senior VP of a major North American hotel chain. Our answer: Listen when people talk – really listen. Sounds simple, simplistic even, but the keys to hotel HR happiness include: hearing what people are saying, understanding how to separate the learning kernels from the whining chaff, and learning how to act and re-act to what you hear.

New Customer Expectations re Customer Service and Communication

by Jane-Michele Clark

We all know that good customer service is paramount to growing a business and increasing profitability. What many managers are failing to realize, however, is that rapid changes in technology have lead to equally rapid changes in consumer expectations about what constitutes the delivery of quality customer service. A survey of 750 people of all ages, from all parts of the country reveals seven areas in which companies should pay heed


10 Tips for Delivering Good Customer Service

by Jane-Michele Clark

In a time of instant messaging and increasingly automated self-service options, consumers are showing loyalty to companies whose employees treat their customers as individuals, and consistently demonstrate respect and courtesy. Here are 10 Tips for Delivering Good Customer Service in today’s fast-food world.

How to Discipline When Good Employees Do Bad Things

by Jane-Michele Clark

Many managers feel less comfortable disciplining colleagues, than they do about any other aspect of their job. Experts agree that the best way to handle discipline is to engage the at fault employee in a discussion where he or she is required to provide solutions for rectifying what went wrong... and for preventing a recurrence in the future. Here are few questions to ask that can make the job a little easier, and increase the likelihood of a good outcome.


How to Motivate Your Employees

by Jane-Michele Clark

Surprisingly, you’ll find that money doesn’t always talk – or at least not the loudest. Money was # 8 on a list of 10. Input from over 700 companies showed us that employees are most likely to want to give that extra 10% or more when they feel they are an important part of the corporate puzzle – when they feel that what they do does matter. What else beat out money as a motivator? Good communication, appreciation, respect, good examples and role models, belief in the employee, acknowledging progress and not demanding perfection.

Higher Employee Satisfaction Leads to Higher Employee Retention

by Jane-Michele Clark

Employee satisfaction and retention are becoming increasingly important issues for managers. Over 25% of large North American companies have implemented stress reduction and continuous learning programs to help employees cope with the stress of juggling home, work, family and other commitments. Here are some ideas you can use in your organisation.


Communicating Today - Do’s and Don’ts

by Jane-Michele Clark

PDAs, cell phones, instant messaging, e-mail – they’re all supposed to make our lives easier, but is being constantly tethered to the outside world all that it’s cracked up to be? Over 75% of people surveyed echoed the sentiment one executive who answered, “No; technology is making us all crazier than ever!”

CSRs Who Insult Customers Cost You Clients!

by Jane-Michele Clark

Customer Service reps who answer the 1-800 lines are often the only people with whom your customers interact on a regular basis, so if they don’t do a good job, you risk losing customers. Here are three sad-but-true stories of bad customer service calls and tips for ensuring your Customer Service Reps don’t treat your clients poorly.


Effective, Persuasive Communication – the 4 Ps (not the ones you are expecting)

by Jane-Michèle Clark

We’ve all heard that speaking in public terrifies more people than death itself. In one survey, it didn’t even rank that far below torture! Ironically, we all communicate in some way, with someone almost every day – and most of us are born with the skills needed to communicate well. What we lack though, is courage. Many voice and presentation coaches maintain this fear is the result of people not knowing how to present well – or how to make sure their message is well-received. So what do we need to know?

Kaizen – with a twist

by Jane-Michele Clark

Kaizen is the Japanese word for making continuous improvements in manufacturing processes, business practices and individuals' personal lives. Indeed, making small changes in your business life or personal life can lead to big results. But how do you figure out what small changes will help? People who have worked in Japan tell us that a better way to look at ‘Kaizen’ is to use the working definition used by the Japanese: "To take it apart and put back together in a better way”.


It's Okay to Say No

by Jane-Michele Clark

Saying "no" is really hard for some people. If that's you then it’s time to learn to say "no" without getting sucked into saying "yes".

Somtimes You NEED to Say “No” at Work

by Jane-Michele Clark

There are times when the best thing you can do is to say "no" and mean it. Here are the top three times when "no" is the only correct answer.


Trump's Biz Tips

by Jane-Michèle Clark

Donald Trump spoke in Toronto a couple of years ago and offered us a side not usually seen on “The Apprentice”. I’ve always admired his accomplishments and tenacity – and respected his business acumen. After hearing Trump speak, however, I realized that I also really like him. He was funny, irreverent (perhaps a quality best appreciated by entrepreneurs) and down-to-earth. He wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is – and didn’t worry about the “political correctness” that hamstrings too much of our conversation and writings these days. The audience clearly enjoyed this refreshing approach. So, even though his talk was a little while back, it still makes sense to read this article, because his points still make sense.

8 Secrets for Selling to Women

by Jane-Michele Clark

With women being responsible for +85% of purchases (either directly or through their influence), particularly in the B2C category, it’s essential that companies learn what makes women tick (in terms of sales, at least – smile).


Getting Better Results from “Cold Calling”

By Jane-Michèle Clark

To get better results from cold calling, stop doing it. Stop it right now. Those of you in sales, or with sales teams to direct are probably thinking, “If only I could.”

Messed up? Fess up! (updated June 2010)

by Jane-Michèle Clark

“If you mess up, ‘fess up.” When things go off the rails (and face it, they often do in business), I believe in telling the truth...and taking accountability. When I said this once, someone added (more than half seriously), “or as much as you can without jeopardizing your relationship with the client”. In my experience, if you’ve been doing a good job for your client, then you will never get into trouble by saying, “We made a mistake. These are the ramifications and this is what we are going to do to make it right.”


What the Heck, Take a Step!

By Jane-Michèle Clark

One way or another fear can wreak more havoc than many other things because it’s devious. It’s truly sneaky, finding myriad manners to manifest itself. A lot of business owners over the years, especially women, in the early days of their new businesses have told me that their self talk is more destructive that just about anything anyone else can do to them.

“When You are Going Through Hell, Keep Going.”

By Jane-Michèle Clark

Finding the courage to continue when times are really tough...


Ditch the Mission; Focus on the Vision

By Jane-Michele Clark

Quick –without looking it up, what’s the mission statement of the company that made the car you drive. What about your underwear? If you’re like most people, you don’t know the answer to either question. Chances are you may not even remember what brand of undies you put on this morning. And the mission statement certainly didn’t affect your purchase decision – or did it?

The Melding of Strategic Positioning and Execution (a biographical account)

by D. Bruce

During his early years in advertising, Norman Lowe became fascinated by the integration of strategic positioning with creative execution. Then, as now, the two were generally kept distinct and separate. However, because this was the heyday of creative revolution, and because strategy had not yet become so rigidly orthodox (except as practiced by the large packaged goods companies), Lowe was able to make incursions into the strategic role later denied "creatives".


Life in the Fast Lane: The Media Bash, Act 1.

by Norman A. Lowe

Curtain rises on a creative department office in a BIG ad agency. Two associate creative directors (i.e. just about any copywriter or art director with more than a few years’ in the biz) are chewing the fat and doing a bit of work between times.

Standing out in the Crowd…by getting lady luck on your side

by Jane-Michele Clark

We all know people who seem to be truly blessed. They get top marks, get promoted easily and have the best social life – all without trying as hard as the rest of us. Or so it seems.


The Real Cost of “Presenteeism” (i.e. showing up when you’re sick)

by Jane-Michele Clark

Swallowing slices open your throat, congested sinuses trip hammer in your head and you can hardly croak out your name to answer your office phone. Yet you do, because you have dragged your sorry self into work – even though your bed was calling you back to its comforting sanctuary.

Taking Action on Procrastination

by Jane-Michele Clark

Chronic procrastinators (and if you haven’t admitted to it, maybe that’s something else you are procrastinating about? Smile) often ask me if there is any hope of being able to change this destructive habit. The simple answer is, “Yes, you can become a ‘do it now’ person. Below you will find are a few suggestions from a semi-reformed procrastinator (I, too, am working on changing this habit).