Soundview Executive Book Summaries


Employee Loyalty Equals Customer Loyalty

In a previous job, I worked for a woman who cared deeply about her employees. We enjoyed having every day off that both the post office and bank had, plus we always had the week between Christmas and New Years along with a Christmas bonus, on top of our regular vacation days. If your child had an event going on at school during work hours, she would encourage you to attend, and she was always interested in how our families were doing.

Her supportiveness resulted in a very loyal group of employees, ready to do whatever was needed to make the company successful. And this was especially evident in our treatment of our customers. We would go out of our way for them, because this was part of the overall atmosphere of the company.

Although this is certainly not a novel idea, loyalty seems to have taken a back seat to survival in the past decade here in the U.S.. While there has been a strong push for customer service, the employees have not always been taken into account.

In The Loyalty Factor, Dianne Durkin connects these two groups back together. Her Loyalty Factor is “Employee loyalty drives customer loyalty, which drives brand loyalty.” Some of her suggestions as to how to encourage employee loyalty include:

  • Communicate uniquely with each generation
  • Accommodate employee differences
  • Create workplace choices
  • Be flexible in your leadership style
  • Respect competence and initiative
  • Recognize achievements
  • Reward results

If you would like to hear more about Durkin’s thoughts on loyalty, you’re in luck. We’ve invited her to join us for our next Soundview Live webinar, Building Employee, Customer and Brand Loyalty, on May 15th. Register today and bring your loyalty questions to ask during the session.

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How Is Your Company Using Social Media?
December 14, 2011, 1:46 PM
Filed under: Brands, Social Media, Technology | Tags: , , ,

Several months ago I wrote about one of the book trends we’ve seen in 2011 – social media. I referred to the work of Chris Brogan & Julien Smith with Trust Agents, and Brogan’s latest book Google+ for Business, Shel Israel and Robert Scoble with Naked Conversations, and Adam Penenberg with Viral Loop.

How is your company using social media? Do you see it as a distraction, a necessary drain of resources, or a budding source of great customer interaction and potential for leads and revenue?

At Soundview we’ve been working with social media for several years and are beginning to make some headway. Unlike a retail company, we don’t have the same customer issues to deal with, so our interaction is more informational.

Our SoundviewSummary blog, as you can see, gives readers a taste of the books we’re featuring, looks at various book topics and trends, and points to our other sources of information for business executives. We use Twitter to highlight articles and trends around upcoming books, e-book issues, book publishers, authors and sellers in the news, and from time-to-time we look at how books and life intersect.

We host a group on Linked In with book features for people to pass on and to help with those seeking to move up or find a new job. And last but not least, Facebook is for us a consolidation of the above resources, plus a few more. We highlight each book we cover, provide a feed from this blog, and include videos and other content to help our fans keep up on business content.

We’d love to hear what your company is doing. Please comment, and provide a link to your social media resources as well.



The Responsible Business

What does it mean for a company to be responsible? In the past the focus was on treating employees fairly, obeying the law, and not polluting the environment. Dictionary.com defines corporate responsibility this way: duty and rational conduct expected of a corporation; accountability of a corporation to a code of ethics and to established laws.

But a shift has taken place in recent years away from the idea of just doing no wrong, to a forward-looking idea of doing more right. This is the new corporate responsibility. Recent books that touch at the many aspects of this change in thinking include Common Purpose by Joel Kurtzman, Ecological Intelligence by Daniel Goleman and Tactical Transparency by Shel Holtz and John Havens.

But Carol Sanford, author of The Responsible Business, takes it a step further by looking at the very heart and soul of the company and how it operates. One key principle that Sanford emphasizes is having a workforce of CEOs, where “every person in the co-creative group (employees, suppliers, partners, contractors) think like a CEO and feel responsibility for the success of the whole, including financials, in their everyday decisions and actions.”

In this way of thinking, responsibility is taken down to the level of the employees – the people who live in the community, have children in the local schools, and see the day-to-day effects of the decisions made by the company. If a company is accountable to the larger community in which it functions, this can have a huge impact on how it does business.

If you’d like to hear more about Carol Sanford’s thinking on corporate responsibility, please join us for our Soundview Live webinar with her on October 13th at noon EST. The webinar is aptly named Becoming a Responsible Business, and there will be ample time to ask your questions regarding the implications for your company.



Blu-Ray: Flourish or Vanish?

It seems like technology battles occur with more frequency than in previous years. In fact, I had a friend send me a funny quote on the subject. She e-mailed me a list of random postings on a blog. One of them read, “Can we all agree that the format that eventually replaces DVD will be the last one we ever use? I’m getting tired of having to re-purchase my entire movie collection every few years.”

As it stands, Blu-Ray discs appear to be the successor to DVDs. However, it wasn’t that long ago that we stood on the verge of another technology decision between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. What leads one technology to rise and another to fall? This question is the subject of a new book summarized by Soundview. In Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don’t, author Kevin Maney looks at the differentiating factors between success and failure in the marketplace.

If you’re a Soundview subscriber, you’ll be able to read Trade-Off, as well as listen to an exclusive interview with Maney. The interview, like the summary itself, contains some surprising revelations, including Maney’s comment on Blu-Ray technology. Maney questions whether or not the technology will escape the “fidelity belly,” a term for a product or service that offers neither a high fidelity experience or a very convenient experience.

Sign up for a subscription today and hear this exclusive interview and find out why Maney thinks Blu-Ray will have trouble escaping the fidelity belly.



The App You’ve Known For All These Years

I noticed this piece from PCMag.com that discusses Apple’s attempt to keep up with demand for the iPad and iPhone 4. Apple is blessed with a rare commodity built into its audience; its consumers have patience. While many businesses would love to be in the enviable position of having a backlog of orders, this can occasionally panic successful companies. The traditional theory states that every day a customer waits for an order is an opportunity for a vendor of a similar product to steal him or her away. However, since the iPhone is a much a status symbol as it is a technology tool, people are willing to wait.

But does the innovative company’s modern image as the king of cool equate to being bulletproof? Not necessarily.

I stumbled across a great video yesterday that offers a unique vision of what could happen to Apple. Rex Crum, a technology correspondent for The Wall Street Journal‘s MarketWatch Web site, found a way to tie together two entities that left massive footprints on the cultural landscape: Apple and The Beatles. Crum points out that Apple hasn’t really suffered a setback since it revolutionized music with the introduction of the iPod. He claims The Beatles also enjoyed an uninterrupted string of successes until the late-1967 television film Magical Mystery Tour. Longtime fans of either entity could easily poke holes in this argument, but I prefer to focus on the picture Crum is attempting to paint with his broad, broad brush.

Success, adoration and loyalty, whether in business or music, carry a heavy set of expectations. I think Crum misses a key point about the upside of groundbreaking success. Being a member of the absolute elite also endows those entities with an extra amount of forgiveness on the part of the audience. I don’t necessarily agree with Crum that the initial problems with the iPhone 4 could signal the start of a trend. Apple has a way of making even a bad situation work in its favor.

What’s funny about Crum’s comparison is that he ignores the long-standing feud between his two subjects. You can’t find an original album by The Beatles on iTunes. But guess what you can find? Soundview iPhone apps.Which one is your favorite?



A New Brand Paradigm?

So … anyone heard anything lately about this guy named LeBron James?

All kidding aside, it seems as though every media outlet has weighed in on various aspects of James’ decision to play for the NBA’s Miami Heat next season. You might wonder why I’d decide to pile on and how it relates to the world of book publishing. Believe it or not, the saga of James’ announcement offers us interesting material for debate as it relates to branding. Can you think of another time in recent memory when what was essentially a press conference generated $6 million in advertising revenue?

For those who are curious about how the 60-minute, prime-time ESPN special came to fruition, here’s a link to a great article from Advertising Age. James’ agent, Ari Emanuel, argues that the broadcast proves that, “we’re getting closer to pushing the needle on advertiser-content programming.” The ratings for the program make it difficult to argue against its success. However, when I consider the special in context, several questions pop up. Are there other athletes or media personalities who would be capable of generating the same level of attention as James? Is this a one-time occurrence or would people tune in again if another athlete announced a team change in this manner? How much of the program’s success can be attributed to the fact that it occurred during a notoriously slow news period in the American sports calendar?

One aspect that should not be overlooked is that the special generated millions of dollars for charities. There are critics who view this action as a way to excuse what’s seen as unethical journalistic practices by ESPN and egomania by James’ camp. If anything, the actions of Emanuel’s William Morris Endeavor agency and ESPN are an attempt to momentarily harness a spotlight that is scattered amongst hundreds of cable channels and multiple social media sites. What do you think?

If you’re interested in more information on the shifts we’re experiencing in branding, I’ve got a must-read for you. It’s Soundview’s summary collection Branding Vol I. The collection contains three great summaries about branding, including John Gerzema and Edward Lebar’s The Brand Bubble, one of the best books on branding in recent memory. Visit us at Summary.com for more information on this great collection!



Another Battle in the E-Book War

If you follow Soundview on Twitter (and really, why wouldn’t you?), you probably look forward to the regular E-Book News feature. It’s a great way to stay up to date on the latest in e-publishing. One of the big stories this week involved the price drop on e-reading devices by both Barnes & Noble and Amazon. The news of the steep price cuts made waves throughout the industry and hit the blogosphere with a bit of force.

One of the more interesting comments on the continuing e-book war came from technology blogger Om Malik. As I read his column about Amazon’s potential to win the e-book market, I became curious about how the average reader is using the technologies available now. So, I thought I’d ask:

If you are a Kindle user, are you still using the device? Malik states in his blog that he’s swapped the device for the Kindle app on the iPad instead. However, he notes that he still uses Amazon for his e-book downloads rather than Apple’s iBook store. If you’re using the Barnes & Noble Nook, how do you feel about the price drop? Are you interested in the Wi-Fi capabilities of the new Nook?

As I considered my own thoughts on the competition in the e-reader market, I returned to one small, but vital, fact in the Publishers Weekly story: “In addition to lowering the price of the Kindle 2 from $259 to $189, Amazon is selling the device at all of Target’s 1740 stores around the country, the first time the device has been for sale at a retailer other than Amazon.”

Soundview is currently working on a summary of author Kevin Maney’s book Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On and Others Don’t. In the book, Maney discusses the decision to offer fidelity (high quality at a high price) versus convenience (readily available for mass consumption but without mystique). By lowering the price and selling the Kindle through Target stores, Amazon is taking a giant leap toward convenience, something that may help win the e-book war.

Speaking of convenience, while the e-reader manufacturers are busy battling it out, Soundview continues to offer its product in eight (that’s right, eight!) digital formats. Visit us at Summary.com to learn more and stay alert for an announcement about the Trade-Off summary.