Clue 23
The Role of Positioning in the Age of Conversation




                 Giovanni Rodriguez
               The Conv...
Then


“Companies attempting to ‘position’ themselves
need to take a position. Optimally, it should relate
to something th...
Now


“We believe the world would be a better place if
brands realized their Big Ideals.”

Steve Hayden, Ogilvy (2007)
Somewhere Near the Middle


“Corporate governance is concerned with
holding the balance between economic and
social goals ...
It Begs the Question


“Can good be monetized?”

Tyrone Davis (2008)
Lowering the Costs of Transaction



Conversational media is:

*DIY

*Space binding

*Fungible

*Inclusive

*Time binding
Why We Position




Identity
Why We Position




Role
Why We Position




Valuation
In summary ...




Who you are, and what you do, determine your
value in the market.
The Challenge




Conversational media is challenging our
perspective on all three: our identity, our role,
our method for...
Five Questions
Who are we, and what is our role?

Who are they, and what is their role?

What’s our bargain with them?

Wh...
Who Are We? (Then)


We were a small group of people: C-level execs,
marketing folk, and salespeople. And on the
front lin...
Who Are We? (Now)


Now anyone -- at least in theory -- is a
spokesperson, and anyone has the ability if not
permission to...
Who Are They? (Then)



We approached the market by connecting with
various and sundry external “constituencies” --
invest...
Who Are They? (Now)

Today, almost anyone can join a market, and the
roles that traditional constituencies once played
are...
What is Our Contract With Them? (Then)


Our relationships with were based on
professional engagements -- they were either...
What is Our Contract With Them? (Now)


We now understand that many people who make
up the market have no professional rel...
What About the Competition (Then)?


In the day, the competition was perhaps the most
important point of focus in position...
What About the Competition (Now)?


Today, it is more effective to regard the
competition -- just as we regard ourselves a...
What About the “Big Idea”? (Then)


The “Big Idea” was a story about what a
company will do to a market. It was a work of ...
What About the “Big Idea”? (Now)



Today, the Big Idea is a path for what a company
will do for a market. It is a plan of...
What About the “Big Ideal”? (Then)




We used to look at social causes as activities that
were extraneous to our business...
What About the “Big Ideal”? (Now)


Again, it’s a matter of perspective.
Conversational media is time binding, not just
sp...
Looking Backward


There was a time when various sectors of the
retail business -- particularly pharmacy -- served
a disti...
Looking Forward


Elephant Pharm is reimagining the neighborhood
drugstore in an age when there are very few
neighborhoods...
Back to our premise ...




Who you are, and what you do, determine your
value in the market.
Who you are



It used to be about a few people, at the top of the
organizational ladder. Now it’s about everyone,
on the ...
What you do



It used to be about competing in a market. Now
it’s more about joining and serving that market.
Creating value



It used to be about sizing the company according
to its share of the market. Now it’s about how the
comp...
Question



Is there an opportunity for your company to right
a wrong in your market.
Cluetrain 23:  Positioning in the Age of Conversation
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Cluetrain 23: Positioning in the Age of Conversation

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Giovanni Rodriguez at the "Cluetrain at 10" event at SAP Palo Alto, May 2008

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Cluetrain 23: Positioning in the Age of Conversation

  1. 1. Clue 23 The Role of Positioning in the Age of Conversation Giovanni Rodriguez The Conversation Group “There’s a New Conversation” Palo Alto, CA May 2008
  2. 2. Then “Companies attempting to ‘position’ themselves need to take a position. Optimally, it should relate to something their market actually cares about.” The Cluetrain Manifesto (1998)
  3. 3. Now “We believe the world would be a better place if brands realized their Big Ideals.” Steve Hayden, Ogilvy (2007)
  4. 4. Somewhere Near the Middle “Corporate governance is concerned with holding the balance between economic and social goals and between individual and communal goals. The aim is to align as nearly as possible the interests of individuals, corporations and society.quot; Adrian Cadbury
  5. 5. It Begs the Question “Can good be monetized?” Tyrone Davis (2008)
  6. 6. Lowering the Costs of Transaction Conversational media is: *DIY *Space binding *Fungible *Inclusive *Time binding
  7. 7. Why We Position Identity
  8. 8. Why We Position Role
  9. 9. Why We Position Valuation
  10. 10. In summary ... Who you are, and what you do, determine your value in the market.
  11. 11. The Challenge Conversational media is challenging our perspective on all three: our identity, our role, our method for growing valuation.
  12. 12. Five Questions Who are we, and what is our role? Who are they, and what is their role? What’s our bargain with them? What about the rest of the market? What’s the big idea(l)?
  13. 13. Who Are We? (Then) We were a small group of people: C-level execs, marketing folk, and salespeople. And on the front lines -- the people who were sanctioned to engage with the market -- were an even smaller group people we called ... ahem ... spokespeople.
  14. 14. Who Are We? (Now) Now anyone -- at least in theory -- is a spokesperson, and anyone has the ability if not permission to engage with the market. But note ... we are the market.
  15. 15. Who Are They? (Then) We approached the market by connecting with various and sundry external “constituencies” -- investors, employees, customers, partners, media, etc. We then devised messages for them.
  16. 16. Who Are They? (Now) Today, almost anyone can join a market, and the roles that traditional constituencies once played are collapsing.
  17. 17. What is Our Contract With Them? (Then) Our relationships with were based on professional engagements -- they were either paid by us, or by sponsoring organizations. We needed to do nothing more than participate in the existing system of rewards and incentives.
  18. 18. What is Our Contract With Them? (Now) We now understand that many people who make up the market have no professional relationships with us. We must support a new complex of appropriate incentives.
  19. 19. What About the Competition (Then)? In the day, the competition was perhaps the most important point of focus in positioning exercises. We defined who we were by defining what we are not.
  20. 20. What About the Competition (Now)? Today, it is more effective to regard the competition -- just as we regard ourselves and our partners -- as part of the market. We define ourselves relative to the entire market, not to any of its constituents.
  21. 21. What About the “Big Idea”? (Then) The “Big Idea” was a story about what a company will do to a market. It was a work of art that looks at a market from the outside.
  22. 22. What About the “Big Idea”? (Now) Today, the Big Idea is a path for what a company will do for a market. It is a plan of action that looks at a market from the inside. http://www.salesforce.com/appexchange/
  23. 23. What About the “Big Ideal”? (Then) We used to look at social causes as activities that were extraneous to our business. We’ve come a long way in our thinking, but the consensus is still there.
  24. 24. What About the “Big Ideal”? (Now) Again, it’s a matter of perspective. Conversational media is time binding, not just space binding -- enabling the market to look both forward and backward.
  25. 25. Looking Backward There was a time when various sectors of the retail business -- particularly pharmacy -- served a distinct social need: the neighborhood store. For many reasons, the stores -- and the neighborhoods disappeared.
  26. 26. Looking Forward Elephant Pharm is reimagining the neighborhood drugstore in an age when there are very few neighborhoods left. And by supporting a broad range of citizens dedicated to both community and wellness, Elephant is helping to serve an even large market in a cost-effective way.
  27. 27. Back to our premise ... Who you are, and what you do, determine your value in the market.
  28. 28. Who you are It used to be about a few people, at the top of the organizational ladder. Now it’s about everyone, on the edges of the organization.
  29. 29. What you do It used to be about competing in a market. Now it’s more about joining and serving that market.
  30. 30. Creating value It used to be about sizing the company according to its share of the market. Now it’s about how the company serves the whole market. We are remapping the reach of an organization by integrating ourselves into the market.
  31. 31. Question Is there an opportunity for your company to right a wrong in your market.
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