• E-Commerce Threats

    A major concern in the luxury goods sector is the ability to verify authenticity. In 2016, retailers were busy fighting in-store fraud with the release of EMV chip cards before they released they had much bigger, large scale problems in the form of e-commerce fraud.  Of the back of this, the retail sector saw both Stripe and MasterCard try to address these issues with new anti-fraud that use artificial intelligence machine learning functionalities to identify both signals and patterns that indicate fraud before it happens. Once such system is ‘Radar’ which continues to evolve and grow in reaction to new data. While another solution lies in tokenization agreements.

    One example of this type of ledger distribution is Blockchain. The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.  This type of bitcoin or token can’t be modified but it is transparent meaning it allows for trust and transparency. It’s this security side, the benefit of combating counterfeit goods, that will make the gravitation towards a Blockchain type system even more necessary for luxury brands.

    The growing threat of e-commerce fraud continues to grow as the online retailers continue to boom. There is more at stake than ever before and retailers will be expected to do their part, arming up their sites again hackers and cybersecurity threats.

    Advanced Materials

    Back to the creative side of the industry and technology is even evident in the design and manufacturing process. A significant trend will be the increase in the use of advanced materials. This includes materials that are designed with superior attributes like strength, low-weight or electric conductivity. At the moment, such technology is refined to the pharmaceutical and construction world, but don’t overlook nanomaterials potential to penetrate luxury garments and accessories. One relevant example was Karoline Kurkova’s colour changing dress as seen at the Met Gala. A meeting of minds between Marchesa and IBM used advanced materials technology and connected objects to create a gown in conductive fabric that changed color depending on fans tweets.

     

    There you go, this was the last article in our mini-series about significant changes in the tech industry that are set to change the face of luxury fashion. If you would like to learn more, get in contact with Think Positive today. Remember that fashion provides us with pivotal moments throughout all of history. If a luxury fashion brand cannot change with the times, it is destined to lose all its relevance in tomorrow’s world.

    To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

  • Cyber Stores

    While technology in luxury stores might be increasing, so is the idea of frictionless style of shopping. Customers are becoming increasingly demanding and expect to get what they want, when they want it. Retailers who enable a smooth shopping transaction are the winners – this includes taking the self-check-out from the supermarket to the luxury store (as already seen at Rebecca Minkoff). It’s this heightened attention to convenience which will make for the best shopping experiences in 2018.

    A recent survey done by PWC highlighted that 80% of customers are likely to visit a proper bricks and mortar store if they knew there would be some kind of experience for them. This includes entertainment like virtual reality or augmented reality. Unfortunately, despite this, luxury brands have been slower to move in this direction – perhaps for fear that VR doesn’t gel with luxury. On the plus, despite this ignorance, luxury brands have enormous opportunities to fight for the leader’s place.

    One example of VR at home in a luxury environment, is in Christian Dior stores. In selected stores, customers are given virtual reality glasses which allows users to explore behind the scenes at fashion shows. This sort of experience incentives stores visits and encourages customers to comes back. Another example is the Prada x Prada VR experience which is an online 360° platform invites visitors to a sensorial journey and to the exploration of the abstract world of Prada Fragrances.

    Using VR in another one, Ralph Lauren leveraged it’s in-store experience to drive online sales. Stepping into the Oak fitting room at Ralph Lauren’s fitting room is an experience like no other. The RFID-enabled merchandise sensors know what products the customer is trying on and saves the session. Functionalities include changing the lighting and the ability to request new sizes and colours. The shopper can then buy the session via the app. Learn more by watching the video here.

    Customer Preferences

    Of course, VR is fun and creates an experience for the shopper but for brands it also poses a very useful purpose. Virtual Reality has the ability to save time on queues and can actually drive to complete the purchasing decision faster. Thanks to VR mirrors, shopper’s measurements can be recorded and items can be displayed on to a virtual version of the client without them even trying anything on – this is an experience that offers convenience for both shoppers and the retailer.

    Not just this, but the future can see an app that alerts sale staff when an existing customer enters the store and enables them to make suggestions based on size, taste and shopping preferences.

    Take this one step further, and you have a full VR immersion that can see customers visit stores from their own home. To put it simply, customers can sit in their living room, put on a virtual reality headset and feel like they are walking into a luxury fashion store. These customers can browse all clothing whist moving around the store freely.

    To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

  • Luxury Push Notifications

    A recent survey by Luxury Institute showed that 67% of affluent smartphone users shop for luxury goods through their devices. So, the first stage in cementing a relationship between consumer and brand is the decision to download the app. The second stage is linking app use to the purchasing platform. Instagram masters this with the added the functionality of ‘tap and view’ at the published photo. This allows Instagrammers to easily proceed in the shopping of the displayed products.

    However, brands have to work hard to stimulate engagement even when apps are not in use and not succumb to “out of sight, out of mind”. One way to do this is push notifications which notify users about new events, products or messages even when they are not actively using the app. With this push notifications, brands have the option to segment based on purchase history, locations and preferences. Couple this with the potential to ‘geo push’ (automatically send relevant pieces of information based on the current location of the customer) and you keep on influencing the customer’s decision at any time, in any place.

    Drone Delivery

    Everyone in the fashion world knows drone delivery is coming, the question is when? At the moment, the technology exists to allow the customer to order a designer handbag by immediate drone drop – the problem, as it stands, is the regulation. In fact, officials are casting doubt over the whole sector by announcing that they might not confirm regulations on drone delivery for another few years.

    Will we see drone delivery in 2018? Major discount brands are pushing forward with this, 7-Eleven and Amazon have succeeded in making a series of drone drops but can luxury brands really adopt such a ‘no frills’ service? The challenge comes in the adaption process, taping into the luxury benefits that drones offer. One example of this lies in swarm technology which was employed at this year’s Coachella. During the music festival, 300 drones were used to light up the sky and create a star backdrop that gave festival goers a highly individual, and no doubt, spectacular experience. Creatives will love drones for their ability to create cinematic perspectives. Couple this mission of offering unique experiences and you can imagine drones at Fashion Weeks, bringing personalised gifts to editors and journalists to create a fuller experience.

    To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

  • On Point Operations

    To become an agile (not to mention efficient) luxury brand, you have to become faster than your competitors. To do this, luxury brands have to invest in electronic inventory control systems, some types of central database, point of sales systems and an automated forecasting system. Fact is, marketers have loads of data available to them now but they don’t know how to analyse it right and work with the data. And with this comes the emergence of a whole new industry, Big Data Analytics. Big Data Analytics is the process of examining large and varied data sets. In doing so, hidden patterns, unknown correlations, costumer preferences and market trends are unlocked. All this information then serves to help organisations make more-informed business decisions.

    Artificial intelligence also serves in the process of discounting and replenishing – which, if the brand gets wrong, can result in loss of income. In this case, AI helps a luxury retailer by aligning product drops to match demand, and even telling brands how to display products in a store to sell as many as possible.

    Large-scale personalisation

    Machine learning and artificial intelligence are making personalisation available on a large scale. Whether driving recommendations or building more intelligent customer service, digital innovations will allow for a return to yesteryear where shop owners knew every shopper’s name. This time, the scale is infinite – constantly learning and improving the experience. Fact is, the brand that learns how to use artificial intelligent, and merge it with personal data on a shopping level, will be the King.

    One such tool that drives personalisation is one most are already familiar with. If you have met Siri or Alexa, then you have already been introduced to one of the greatest trends set to drive personalised shopping decisions. Expect the functionalities of these systems to grow into “personalised shoppers”. Forget a Siri that can do just a few simply commands, Amazon have created a full on virtual assistant – like fridges that order groceries for us and it’s Amazon’s leadership in this that has challenged Google to step up as they try to challenge Amazon in this space. Expect a voice system that can guide you through purchases, making suggestions as it understands your preferences.

    Bring on the bots

    It might same strange to incorporate robotics as a ‘future’ trend in retail since the likes of Amazon have been championing robots for years (they currently have 450, 000 of the working in warehouses worldwide). However, the future will see robots brought away from the supply chain and into in the aisles of brick and mortar stores.

    In fact, you can already see how Artificial Intelligence is present in the messaging space in the form of chatbots. Simply put, a chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet. When you engage in an online conversation via Facebook or Kik with Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, Nordstorm, and Sephora take note that you might not be speaking with a real person.

    While many argue that robotic technology in retail will wipe out jobs backers of Bots in retail say that they will encourage the human worker to engage more with the customer because they will have machine support to locate products and dispense them. Robots can stop staff spending time on labour intense jobs, like stocking checking and payment process, and encourage them to make real human connections with the shopper. We strongly believe that human touch and interaction will remain key characteristics of the whole luxury industry.

    To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

  • Tech Changes That Will Transform the Face of Luxury Fashion

    The luxury fashion industry, including luxury boutiques and department stores, have been undergoing a massive change caused by the digital revolution. True, the influence of the likes of AI, blockchain and virtual reality is penetrating every industry but it’s within the fashion industry that such innovations are really interesting. After all, the wide adoption of machine learning (as an example) is one thing but if you think of it within a retail environment then we can really start to see into the future.

    Today’s market demands convenience, next year (and the years following) will see the continuation of multi-channel retailing. However, budget will be preserved for areas that allow businesses to understand customers on a deeper level – this includes customer experience teams (notice the replacement of word ‘service’) and technology that predicts spending behaviour and makes spending easier.

    It’s well known that luxury is industry based on individual touch and fine details – quite possible the totally nemesis of everything a digital revaluation stands for – speed, choice and ready availability. However, if iconic brands and designers are hoping to appeal to buyers in the future – they have to step up and acknowledge that even craft-led products cannot remain untouched by digital technologies.

    Why should I stay up-to-date?

    The digital revolution has changed the luxury retail landscape sustainably. Not only do luxury brands reach out to customers differently but those consumers also interact with brands in a way they never have before. Fact is, the internet has changed so many buying habits and brands have to respond to the continual challenges this poses. Of course, this also creates challenges for retailers as they try to keep up – last year gave us many examples of brands who struggled to keep up and disappeared as a result.

    If you are a luxury fashion brand, it’s imperative to stay on top digital advancements in the technology and marketing arena. After all, consumers have never been so demanding nor have market conditions been so volatile. Keeping abreast of digital innovation is not just a like to have – it’s never been so pertinent. Take a moment to read the below and remind yourself of some of the opportunities available to you in the coming year (and beyond!).

    Time to Get Your Brand an Online Presence

    It might seem just ridiculous to have to suggest this, but it’s imperative that every luxury brand have a web space. We say this because, fact is, 40% of luxury brands are not available online. These brands put everything they have into physical stores, ignoring the precedent set by the likes of Net-A-Porter who prove that the customer is willing to pay full price for online luxury fashion.

    For the millennial generation, online is the platform for discovery, their first introduction to retail experiences but also brand experiences. Most luxury brands know this but the problem lies in the fact that brands are aware of the necessity to go digital, but often lack the experience and knowledge in this field – this slows down the process. However, it’s imperative that brands don’t waste time due to inexperience or ignorance, and start partnering with allies who can guide them through the process. At Think Positive, we can take you through the whole process towards becoming not just digital but digitally competitive and conversational.

    Call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

  • Designer Childrenswear Brings In The Bucks

    Furthermore, Tods Bottega and Prada also make shoes especially for small feet and Net-a-Porter has registered the domain Petite-a-Porter. On top of this, Harrods have over 66,000 sq ft devoted to little people.

    However, despite the company of these heavy-weights, the decision to launch into this market is not one to be taken lightly. Here we give the low-down on marketing designer-wear to the littlest consumers.

     

    Later Life Parents

    More and more people are having children in later life, which means that by the time they become parents, they have a higher disposable income. Not only this, but they have had a longer time with a disposable income and might already be converted to luxury brands. With this in mind, it’s important to remember to keep parents connected to the brand even when they make the transition to parenthood. Many luxury brands achieve this by offering diaper bags and accessories which can be bought pregnant, retaining the consumer throughout every stage of their life.

    Target Mum

    While the clothes are crafted for little people, most of the target market is too young to shop for themselves. This is where the strategy has to work to target mum. In fact, many retailers tap into the concept of children being a focus of parental aspirations – with many mothers styling their children in even more luxurious goods than she herself wears. It’s not a new concept, to want the best for our children but it’s more prevalent now in its extension into childrenswear. In fact, countless retailers are reporting on the experience a mum has when shopping for her daughter and the fact that her spend at the cash desk is much higher than was she just shopping for herself.

    Celeb Children

    Instagram and other social media channels have greatly increased the popularity of designer childrenswear. The likes of Harper Beckham, North West, and Blue Ivy Carter have become poster girls for a new generation. The latter of which will soon launch a clothing line while Harper Beckham already has her own Voguepedia page and countless parenting websites devoted to stealing her style. This celebrity child revolution has served designers well as they continue to be inspired by their style and clamour to dress these famous child faces.

    Mini-me

    Chloe Bebe has items that have been directly picked from their womenswear collection, proving the increasing affection for the “mini-me” trend. However, it’s not every womenswear or menswear trend that can be directly transcended into childrenswear – on the contrary, look carefully and you’ll see it’s the trends that are more timeless. Think of white cotton dresses, cream Macs, wool coats and the essential Peter Pan collar.

    The childrenswear market is booming, last year sales reached over $135.6bn worldwide. If you want to capitalise on its potential and launch your own childrenswear brand, get in contact with Think Positive to learn more.

    Call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

  • How To Expand Your Product Range Effectively

    You don’t have to be the owner of a large business to benefit from this type of expansion. In fact, multiple product lines allow any growing business to capitalise on its reputation whilst diversifying risk. On top of this, the number of product lines that can attract buyers with different preferences the better.  It can not only increase profits by attracting a wider market segmentation but can also even out any seasonal sales patterns. To put it simply, adding new products to your current product line can help you compete better in your industry. Read on to learn more about how to expand your product range offering effectively.

     Know When It’s Time

    The best time to introduce a new product is at the end of your current product’s life cycle. Every product you introduce has a life-cycle – some being long, others being very short. At each stage of the product’s life, your marketing strategy differs:

    Introduction phase – here the marketing objectives are all about creating awareness.

    Growth phase – in this phase you need to penetrate your market and target for growth.

    Maturity phase – in this phase, marketing initiatives are all about defending market share which has been earned.

    Decline phase – when your product starts to decline, it’s time to phase out the weak product and reduce expenditures. This phase is the optimum time to introduce a new product and retain your loyal customers.

    Of course, that’s not to say that a new product cannot be introduced at any stage, often businesses opt to introduce new products merely for expansion. It’s just important to create a unique value proposition for the line extensions and work to position them to the market segments, whether they be current customers or new.

     

    Know What the Customer Wants

    A good product to add to your portfolio is one that you know your customer wants. How do you gauge this? Mine for customer feedback. If you own a retail space, keep track of the times a customer makes a request and leaves disappointed. If it’s a webstore, analyse web data to understand the searches your customer makes. Ensure that every single sales representative keeps a list of all the products customers request, the date requested, and the intended use for the product.

    Watch Your Competitor

    No business is an island and you would be naive to think you cannot learn a lot from your competitors. One sure fire way to learn the most about your competitors is to speak to your suppliers. Believe it or not, your suppliers are a sure-fire access point to your competitors because they probably service your them or because they’ve made it their job to understand them simply to court you better. Building on market trends, rather than just inventing them, is the smartest way to avoid wasting money on those trends that turn out to be fads.

    Find A Leading Expert

    Product range expansion can be a mine-field and it’s wise to partner up with experts in this field. At Think Positive, we help businesses expand their product ranges effectively and profitably.

     

    Get in contact to learn more.

    To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

  • Lessons From Harrods That Every Brand Should Know

    Harrods has hit new records, reporting annual sales in 2017 as £2bn. This is a stark contrast to reports surfacing just 10 years ago which speculated that the family-owned business was in trouble. What Harrods did to emerge triumphant is a lesson many retailers who face a downward turn could learn from.

    Plan Your Space

    By total definition, Harrods is a department store in the ranks of its contemporary Selfridges and the more accessible John Lewis. And yet, when you think of Harrods it succeeds in standing alone and many credit it to Al Fayed’s attempts to make Harrods less of a department store and more of an emporium. Famously quoted as saying “You want to buy a car? An elephant? You name it, it is here” – Al Fayed clings to the belief that more is more and in doing so, makes Harrods the number one destination for, well, just about everything.

    This concept makes Harrods a destination for everything a consumer could hope to buy but is only possible thanks to management’s clever planning of floor space which is crafted to ensure the most profitable departments have more square metres. Sure, you can go to Harrods for a fridge – but they are using those square metres to drive in those 

    Retail Experience

    Of course, Harrods is a multiband bazaar unlike no other. Instead of focusing on function and planning a retail journey that takes the customer from A to B, Harrods works to serve up a great dealt of retail theatre. Drama is everywhere, right down to the décor, the kitsch Egyptian Room (with giant gold sphinx and images of the Luxor temple) and the permanent shrine to Dodi and Diana. While Selfridges works hard to make their windows and pop-ups a discussion point, Harrods makes sure that all the entertainment goes on in-store and it’s this promise of something special that serves to ensure that over 100, 000 visitors a day walk through Harrods’ doors.

    Down with Digital

    It’s acknowledged that Harrods missed a trick or two when the digital revolution came. They probably struggled to identify how their brand proposition could be presented away from store. However, they’ve proven that it’s never too late to catch up with an all singing and dancing website which ships Harrods to all corners of the world. A big cash investment into digital media came this year and the sales support this clever decision.

    Superbrand It

    The superbrand has a lot of weight for luring consumers into store. Especially those consumers who want to shop from a wide range of brand offerings at once. Harrods work particularly hard to ensure all new collections from cutting-edge designers are on display in their halls. In fact, floor space devoted to designer labels well succeeds floor space devoted to own label which is a reverse move from usual department stores who try to push their own label in an attempt to drive direct profits.

    Customer Loyalty

    Harrods put a strong emphasis on customer loyalty. Going beyond the ‘never knowingly undersold’ they work to offer credit card and customer loyalty schemes that succeed in provoking repeat purchases. It might seem simple to offer a customer loyalty programme, but department stores are increasingly under fire for being impersonal – so Harrods’ management team increasingly try to connect with the customer and give the brand not just an identity but a face.

    Harrods offer modern-day retailers a great lesson in how to stay true to your mission but how to adapt it when consumer confidence falls. If you are a brand looking to understand how to plan your retail space, manage your digital marketing or introduce a customer loyalty programme – get in touch with Think Positive today.

     

    To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378 

Revive and Rebrand!

It’s been a whole year since Maria Grazia Chiuri took the reins at Dior. During that period, the fashion house has undergone branding on a very subtle level. Firstly, the brand has worked to become more relevant, speaking to a youthful generation which, in turn, has served to make it more commercial. Of course, the re-orientation towards a new target market is not always easy for an established brand but there are some keys to success. Read on to learn how to undertake a successful rebranding.

What Is Rebranding?

Branding is essentially all the elements that people think of when they think of your brand. This includes your messages, logos, visual, slogans – anything that is used to get customers to understand your messages and brand philosophies. If you are contemplating a new branding, what is important is a consistent new message and the communication of a new idea that is totally clear to your customer.

Know When It’s Time

Dior’s rebranding coincided with the appointing of a new Creative Director, and it’s often new management who usher in a new direction. However, rebranding need not always wait for new faces. On the contrary, a change can also come when a business is seriously underperforming or failing to attract the key demographic. For Dior, the challenge lay in the pressure for the fashion house to provide cutting-edge design marred with what women actually want to wear. The solution; slogan t-shirts (a basic coveted item in everyone women’s wardrobe) accessorised with shoes and bags. The new product proposition was billed as “new products at Christian Dior” and accounted for 17% increase in sales.

Make A Plan

Once you have figured out what is wrong with the current brand proposition, it’s time to take the steps to change it. Start by setting a time frame and be specific about what has to happen when. Also, set a time-line for results as this will help you later evaluate whether the rebrand helped or not.  After this, it’s important to let your employees know about the change and why. Your staff forms part of both your brand’s image and message and it’s important they not only embrace but help communicate the change.

Commit

Commit to the change, put the new branding out there on everything – including stores, website, social media channels. It’s important to be consistent – embrace your new brand and don’t look back.

Clearing Out

Of course, we appreciate that stock costs money which is why you don’t need to embrace rebranding of your product as all or nothing. Perhaps, some of your current product still fits with your forward vision and you can incorporate it side-by-side with new product. For things that no longer fit with your new message, offer them up in sales and don’t be tempted to squeeze them into a space with your new product.

If You Do Fail

Sometimes, rebranding just doesn’t go as planned despite the planning. If this happens, know you are in good company. Remember Gap’s new logo back in 2010? Probably not, after all it lasted a whole week before they regretted it. Also, back in 1980 Coca-Cola tried to rebrand as “New Coke”. It never caught on and classic Coke, as we know it today, was back on the shelf in just months. If anything, a rebrand served to show the consumer just how much they lovethe original.

 

If you are a fashion brand, considering re-branding – get in touch with Think Positive to learn how we can help!

 

To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

The Importance of Visual Merchandising

The purpose of visual merchandising is to enhance the aesthetics of a product with the purpose of generating sales. When it comes to enhancing a product’s appeal, visual merchandising plays an important role in the culture of a brand as well as the feel and the total look. Done well and it can draw customers into the store or can make them close a sale. If you are a brand looking to learn more about the importance of visual merchandising, read on to learn more.

 

Success Factors

The key success factors of visual merchandising start at the front of house. This includes the store’s appearance including signage, lighting and window displays. Going into the store visual merchandising (also known as VM) encompasses staff uniforms, point of sales (any displays positioned right at the cash desk), ticketing and instore displays. When done correctly, all these elements should come together to showcase a brand with a unique identity. So much so, that when the customer enters the store – they are immersed in an experience that is totally unique to that brand.

Brand Experience

When it comes to VM, it’s important to make the customer secure in their experience. This means that the visual components that showcase your product must in some way be related. This will ensure that the correct demographic is drawn into the brand but that the brand values remain loyal. Of course, this is not to dispute the success of brands who manage to constantly challenge perceptions of retail design. For years, Selfridges has earned a reputation for being the owners of London’s most inspiring window displays – charging artists and designers alike with creating pop-up windows that serve to provoke. And yet, dig deeper into what is seemingly a work of contemporary art and you’ll see that every window is geared to one particular product whose brand identity gels just perfectly with the window setting – which leads on to the importance of themes.

Themes

Brands can better execute a VM strategy if it’s set up as part of a theme which can then remain loyal to throughout the store. Themes are what is used to tell a story and ways of sharing the story is through colours, fonts, design, photos, pictures and even new layouts. One current trend is the raise of the “pop-up” collection, a store within a store. In pop-ups, the customer is immersed in a stand-alone experience – almost like they walked into another store. Strong in its own identity, even in a shared space. With more and more bands fighting for space in department stores, the importance of VM to a brand grows and grows. The fact is, a customer no longer just wants to buy a brand’s product, they want to feel a brand’s presence.

 

Tonality

Tonality is your brand’s consistency of message in all marketing materials. It also refers to your brand’s tone of voice, as well as the feel, look and overall completeness of your brand. To achieve tonality, all VM elements have to come together not just instore but also online. This also includes any third-party spaces (including online and offline) which can proof more difficult to control and which is why many brands are stringent with their brand guidelines.

To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378 

All You Need to Know About the Ethical Designer Fashion Movement

The media are continually reporting on the state of ‘fast fashion’ but designer brands also come under pressure to invest in sustainable methods of production as consumers become more and more aware of their footprint on the planet. While designer brands aren’t manufacturing mass volumes in such a speedy state, there is always a reason to look at ways to design, source and manufacture clothes in a way that benefits both people and communities whilst reducing the impact on the environment.

What is Ethical Fashion?

According to the Ethical Fashion Forum, the ways to produce ethical fashion falls into three categories. These are commercial, environment and social and an intention to specifically tackle the following issues:

  • Countering fast, cheap fashion and damaging patterns of fashion consumption

  • Defending fair wages, working conditions and workers’ rights, and supporting sustainable livelihoods

  • Addressing toxic pesticide and chemical use, using and/or developing eco- friendly fabrics and components

  • Minimising water use

  • Recycling and addressing energy efficiency and waste

  • Developing or promoting sustainability standards for fashion

  • Providing resources, training and/or awareness raising initiatives

  • Protecting animal rights

Best Ethical Fashion Brands

Stella McCartney

Ethical fashion is higher than ever on the agenda for luxury brands. Stella McCartney is credited with spearheading the movement, with her AW17 campaign which she described as a way to ‘to portray who we want to be and how we carry ourselves; our attitude and collective path. Our man-made constructed environments are disconnected and unaware of other life and the planet which is why there is waste.’

A committed vegetarian, Stella never uses fur or leather in her designs which makes her a leader in sustainable fashion. As a spokesperson for PETA, Stella has also said  ‘we address… ethical or ecological… questions in every other part of our lives except fashion. Mind-sets are changing, though, which is encouraging.’

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood has built her whole brand around a theme of rebellion and her current rebellion comes in denouncing fast fashion and joining forces with the Ethical Fashion Initiative. One of her slogans, as part of the ongoing campaign is,  ‘This is not charity, this is work’ – blending the idea of social work and fashion into a t-shirt.

Christopher Raeburn

Not a typical mainstream designer fashion brand, Christopher Raeburn have earned their designer stripes through innovative signature which is based on the waste created by the fashion industry.  They offer bespoke products, which is essentially what luxury designer fashion is.

These ethical fashion brands offer just a few promising examples of an emerging harmony that is developing between social-problem solving and design thinking and social-problem solving. This is here to stay, it is not a trend. If you are a designer fashion brand it’s imperative that you address your ethical policies and corporate social responsibilities. Consumers are now demanding more and more transparency and are increasingly aware of the negatives of mass-produced clothes. Get in touch with Think Positive for more information and learn how to enable your customers to make responsible choices.

To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

The Real Cost of Fashion Weeks

In case you didn’t know, we’re currently in the throes of fashion weeks, having just bid adieu to New York and a big hello to London. Not only are the Fashion Weeks an opportunity for designers to unveil new collections but they also form a mighty powerhouse with a huge economic impact. No doubt about it, any fashion brand worth their clout wants to be part of a Fashion Week –  but how much would it really cost you to put on a show?

 

Admittance

Fashion Weeks in Milan, London, Paris, and New York are open to all. This means that any designer that wants to put on a show can do so. However, the challenge is to gain official recognition on the organiser’s calendar and brands need to apply two months in advance to secure a calendar listing.

Costs

While acceptance into the inner sanctum is straight-forward, the main obstacle is cost. According to a report by Fashionista, a brand can organise a fashion show for around $200,000. This includes the production, models, PR, stylists, and venue. The fact is, putting on a successful show is costly and can be significant for those who are working on a small budget. The most basic show costs £ 100,000 but the budget increases the bigger the brand often approaching the £1 million mark. Of course, the budget is determined by your venue and the models booked – both of which are considered an important sales and marketing tool.

 

Venue

The determining factor of venue is always cost. In London, small venues can be rented for £10,000 while larger venues can be rented for upwards of £50,000.  The budget will determine where your show is set, bearing in mind that some venues are listed and protected buildings which means they are extremely expensive. On top of this, some buildings don’t allow any modifications in the interior so your theme has to be in tune with the building (and not the other way around). It’s also worth noting that the venue can determine the number of guests you can invite, so ensure you can fill a big venue before booking it.

Models

 

A model can be booked for up to 20 shows in any given Fashion Week. While it might seem like they are only on the catwalk for a few minutes, you have to remember that additional hours are clocked up in fitting, hair, makeup and other relevant appointments.  Generally, castings for Fashion Weeks are only done a couple of weeks before the shoot – with everyone from stylists to makeup artists joining in and having a deciding vote.

 

Guests

 

The bigger fashion houses employ an agency to take care of their guest list. The ideal guest list includes famous buyers, potential customers, brand ambassadors, celebrities, and the media. All of these guests will be seated in the first rows (FROWS). It’s worth noting that the reported RSVP return rate is only 50%, so out of 100 invited guests – only 50 turn up. The savvy fashion brand counters this by planning, over inviting to avoid any empty seats.

To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378 

  • The Artificial Intelligence Future of Design

    Amazon isn’t internationally recognised with designer fashion (yet) but the company looks set to lead the way when it comes to AI fashion creators. Forget stylists and designers, the e-commerce powerhouse has reported that they are working on several machine-learning applications that might serve to identify, react to and even create the latest fashion trends.

    While the image of a robot designer at the head of Dior seems far-fetched, the algorithms that Amazon are using aren’t that much of a reach. In fact, the company claims to be able to identify products popping up on social-media posts and jump on a trend before it becomes, well, mainstream. And it’s this collecting of research in its infancy that Amazon believe might serve to create a better product offering and increase the popularity of their clothing business

    Imagine it – Amazon spots a trend and quickly designs clothes via an AI and then produces them on-demand! It would change the whole fast fashion model as we know it and pose a real threat to the designer powerhouses who compete with seasonal collections. However, the reality is a little less sci-film film and more to be viewed as a tool that might assist the fashion industry in making more informed choices. We’re talking about a platform that might identify influencers before they have actually influenced. The ability to back a trend before it’s even sprouted and have stock in accordance to demand.

    Of course, Amazon isn’t the first company to address the importance of users’ social media activity with forward-thinking brands already using Instagram and Pinterest to track fashion trends and react quickly. We’ve already talked about the idea of personalised shopping experiences and how brands like Louis Vuitton are serving to create a unique product that is worthy of sharing on social media.

    However, Amazon’s advancements in this field don’t stop at mere trend prediction. On the contrary, their algorithms are being pushed to new levels with machine learning that can analyse images and decide whether something is stylish or not. The software is said to produce feedback on fashion and make suggestions for improvement. This advancement is said to be cutting edge since machines generally require real-world situations to make comparisons against.

    While Amazon continue to push the potential of fast fashion, such advancements don’t look likely to pose a threat to designer fashion which still values qualities like craftsmanship. However, even the label powerhouses will be sitting up and taking interest in the new methods Amazon are using to collect market data.

    As cutting edge as such advancements seem, fashion shapers need not panic just yet. There will always be a very real need for a fashion designers because, ultimately, people are innovators. In fact, to date, there hasn’t been any new music or fashion style that has been generated totally by machine that has been adopted widely by people. So, while machine learnings can continue to give us new market insights, the need for people at the forefront remains higher than ever.

    To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

  • The Rise of Out-of-Town Designer Discounters

    Savvy shoppers know there is only one place to head to for designer goods that won’t break the bank and that’s designer village outlets. These out-of-town establishments boost price tags that are 30-70% cheaper than the high-street’s RRP which makes them a no-brainer for those who value designer swag with more accessible prices.

    However, the designer outlet village as we know it wasn’t always as accepted and just 10 years ago they were considered a pretty risky investment. Then, of course, the recession came and shoppers were forced to be smarter with their money. Today, outlets boost greater growth than traditional designer shopping arcades. Not only this but outlet villages tend to offer much more flexible lease agreements than shopping malls. This means that retailers can ride through any volatile market conditions without feeling locked in. It also means that many retailers can ‘test’ a discount value proposition and see how it fairs – explaining why we see so many designer discount concepts ‘pop up’.

     

    Although some designer houses like Louise Vuitton and Hermès have shunned outlet villages as devaluing their brand, it actually seems to prove very little threat to the brand image or value. In fact, Gucci, Prada, D&G, Michael Kors and Burberry are all part of the outlet revolution serving to make discount spaces shopping destinations. And destination is the word, given that shoppers actually have to drive to these locations. However, that doesn’t seem to be too much of a pain-point since such locations are even noted as one of the most popular locations for visiting tourists. In fact, Bicester Retail outlet in Oxfordshire reports that three out of every four Chinese visitors who come to the UK visit its retail park. In fact, Bicester Village is understood to have the highest sales density of any shopping centre in the world. Their success is attributed to their international marketing to affluent shoppers from all around the world and a wealth of brands include Hugo Boss and Alexander McQueen.

    Of course, some retail reports highlight the success of the retail outlet as coming down to the shopping experience which is deliberately engineered to attract traffic as opposed to attract anyone passing. It’s this that might just make outlet shopping a different target for online retailers who have succeeded in effectively killing the high-street. Simply put, those who visit outlet villages tend to come for the whole experience. The destination is part of the pleasure.

    With the commute to the destination comes the added pressure to “buy now”, after all – the bargain might not be available again and, so, retail villages report lower footfall than the typical high-street but a higher spend per person. In fact, the decision to spend is already made by the time the consumer is in the car – from that point, all retailers have to do is show them things they like and offer a clearly communicated discount against the RRP.

    If you’re a brand considering a destination shopping experience, get in touch to discuss how we can support you in finding an outlet and opening a successful retail space.

    To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

  • Is the Activewear Market Worth Tapping into?

    If you are a dedicated follower of fashion, you might have noted a particular trend infiltrating the catwalk and penetrating the high-street. We’re talking about the rise of activewear as daywear, which has got many designer fashion houses to sit up, take notice and respond with their own statement collections. Some are calling it the ‘back to school’ effect, which might rekindle the fitness promises made back in January, whatever the reason – activewear is big business ($83 billion by 2020 according to Morgan Stanley).

    Nike and New Balance are market leaders in the UK activewear market with snapping-at-the-feet competition from Sweaty Betty. However, just before the market leaders nestle down into complacency, Instagram followers have announced enough love in their hearts to promote activewear to daywear and a whole fleet of apparel companies have jumped on board. This includes Tory Burch who launched Tory Sport back in April (and got the nod from Anna Wintour) and Ivy Park which is co-owned by both Beyoncé and Topshop’s Sir Philip Green.

    You only need to walk down your local high-street to sense the shift in product offering. What was once a street reserved for only designer daywear has shifted to offer running tights, crop tops, and even trainers. It’s this changing landscape that leads many brands to believe that the activewear market is penetrable, that its cherries are ripe for the picking but what does it really take to compete with industry giants like Lululemon ($2.1 billion in the 2015 fiscal year) and Nike (who generated $8.6 billion in the same year)? The answer; technical know-how, funding to scale up and a little leverage from a celebrity face never hurt.

    Consumers are more suspicious than ever and if activewear falls so obviously out of your brand’s remit, it’s best you don’t sell yourself as experts in the industry. Instead, open the door for collaborating experts – those in the field of activewear who can advise in a technical capacity. Even if the sportswear never sees more than a Waitrose, it seems savvy shoppers but value on performance

    Emerging activewear brand Kit and Ace, highlights the key to getting ahead in a saturated market is to scale quickly and notably. Founder Shannon Wilson says “With any good idea, there is always a lot of competition. We wanted to get ahead of everybody else and create a strong presence.” For Kit and Ace, growth was 61 shops in 5 countries in just 2 years. However, while the rapid expansion is impressive, it’s worth noting that half of the Kit and Ace showrooms are pop-ups, which have allowed Kit and Ace to enter the market without full-scale commitment.

    The power of a celeb automatically opens doors. During its launch, Ivy League was available in Topshop, Nordstorm and Selfridges. Beyoncé even leveraged her own Instagram account to give the brand credibility before it was even available.

     

    If you’re a retail brand that has identified the activewear trend as one for you, take comfort in the fact that Harper’s Bazaar is predicting that this trend has longevity right into winter and the power to withstand summer thanks to the staple statement crop-tops. Get your development, cash-flow and marketing strategy in-line and it’s a market that still has room for new entries – contact us to see how we can help.

    To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

  • Millennials Are the Future

    A Millennial is defined as anyone born between the early Eighties, an era that predates the mobile phone, to the early 2000s, crowned as the Internet age. Although it might seem that this section experienced a rapid jump in technology, Millennials are connected through their common mind-set which is largely considered to be disruptive, free-thinking and individual. This sub-set is 80 million strong and have the potential to become the largest spending generation in history which is why luxury brands what to woo them now.

    Whereas luxury was a term previously conserved for the realms of watches, shoes, and bags, nowadays Millennials are using it to describe anything from tableware to travel. The fact is, Millennials choose experiences over things and, so, luxury brands need to re-evaluate how they proposition luxury as an experience. One way fashion-houses are looking to channel this is by creating interaction way beyond the runway, giving Instagram influencers special treatment and access to shows. Essentially trying to get Millennials to fall in love.

    To some, this investment in a younger demographic might seem fruitless – after all, how many millennials have enough disposable income to spend on a designer bag? However, fashion houses know that the journey towards luxury brand investment starts as a series of stepping stones – a Burberry fragrance at school, a scarf at University, a trench-coat with the first bonus. The key is to engage loyalty in its infancy, to reap the rewards later, so long as each branded experience serves to strengthen affection. The goal is to get ordinary people to aspire to own amazing things, so that, one day, those amazing things form part of the normality.

    So, with the strategy in mind, which brands are successful in really speaking to the core of Millennial fans? Both Louis Vuitton and Burberry are credited with getting to the core of what makes a Millennial tick, with celebrity ties and contracts with the faces of the moment (including Cara Delevingne and Gigi Hadid). Louis Vuitton even have a campaign inspired by the character of “Final Fantasy”, a strong and powerful female character adored by gamers worldwide.

     

    However, it’s not just the marketing strategy that serves to lure in Millennials but also the product proposition. Both LV and Burberry have products which range in value from hundreds of pounds to thousands of pounds – which ensures a fan can engage with multi-levels of products and experiences throughout their lifetime.

    What’s been proven is that the brand that will capture the hearts and minds of Millennials will be authentic with the ability to produce original content. They will have to pivot between digital space but be able to appeal to independent thinkers in real-time, through original experiences and interesting spaces. If luxury fashion brands cannot get Millennials attention now, they are not going to get their attention later down the line.

    To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

5 Secrets Behind Successful Fashion Brands

Whether you’re a multi-national company or a newbie designer crafting from your living-room, the path to success is the same. However, not every multi-national will stand the test of time, nor will every designer flourish to become a house-hold name because not every brand knows the secrets to real, long-lasting success in the fashion game. That’s not to suggest that there is a secret formula, or an elixir of longevity in the fashion business. On the contrary, the fashion world is fickle and breaking into (and staying in) it takes hard-work and resilience, yet there are some things that successful fashion brands do better than their rivals, as retail fashion business consultants, we know these secrets and break them down in five steps:

 

Successful Fashion Brands Know That Detail Is King

Even as small-fry, it’s important that you behave like a champ when it comes to detail. Do not overlook detail in favour of racing ahead, hoping that one day you can revert back to it. Now is the time to nail the fine-print, start as you mean to go on and begin first with your branding. Even before they achieved worldwide domination, Nike were savvy enough to know that one day consumers would identify the brand by a simply ‘swoosh’. Imagine that conversation back in a small boardroom, it would almost seem arrogant, but it highlights the importance of detail even from the start-line.

 

Successful Fashion Brands Hook The Customer With Colour

Once you commit to the detail it’s important to be aware of the bigger picture in which fashion retailers exist.  Successful fashion brands do not commit to logos, fonts, or product ranges just because they simply ‘like’ them – they do it because they understand the science behind everything and that rings especially true with colour. Colour is used as a selling tool in logos, advertising, packaging and even in the fitting of stores, and successful fashion brands know what colour evokes a positive purchasing decision. You can read more about the science of colour here but know that green symbolises growth, freshness, and fertility (think of Starbucks), orange represents joy, sunshine, attraction and success (think of Hermès) and red evokes feelings of passion and assertiveness (think of H&M and Rayban).

 

Successful Fashion Brands Don’t Try To Please Everyone

If you look at successful fashion brands, you will see that they don’t try to target everyone (at least not until they have a multi-brand portfolio the size of Burberry). Instead, they identify a niche and gun for them, staying true to the values that the core target market invests in. Every fashion brand consultant will insist that, as you build a business, you try to stay true to your end customer but apply this focused ethos to your total journey – you cannot be everyone’s friend, this goes for suppliers and employees. Do not take on the mission to convert everyone, focus on pleasing your niche and please them well.

Successful Fashion Brands Ask For Advice

When the CEO of Boden started his empire he famously called the CEO of Tesco and asked him out for lunch. During that date, Johnnie Boden is said to have picked Terry Leahy’s brains on all the steps (and pitfalls) to success. Successful fashion brands know that no man is an island and a lot can be learned by speaking to people in similar industries. You don’t need to have the ear of the CEO of Tesco (although great if you do), but network in the right circles and you won’t knocked off kilter by any industry changes.

Successful Fashion Brands Believe In Themselves (Long Before Their Customer Did)

Finally, BELIEVE –  if you don’t have sheer belief in the potential of your fashion brand throughout any hardship, why should you expect your customer to?

To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

How Retail Weathers Summer

We cannot control the weather, but we can control our reaction to it by responding early and positively impacting our businesses. Fact is, in retail, the weather can have an all-compassing effect – influencing everything from what retailers have on the shelves, to impacting price, operations, marketing, sales and merchandising operations. In fact, savvy retailers know that the weather is a magical layer in the retail mix which serves, in some way, to predict how consumers feel.

 

Minor

It’s been proven that even minor changes in weather can have big impacts on retail sales. Cold spells can drive retailers into the store for extra layers, sun sees a search for shorter sleeve lengths and a real change in mind-set which sees consumers ditching layers. Therefore, it’s important that retailers are reactive to weather patterns and armed with weather information at key decision points.  However, when it comes to fashion, the lead-times are far longer than the MET office’s insight and, so, retailers are often predicting weather predictions armed little more than last year’s sales.

 

No year is the same

The problem with predicting turnover based on last year’s sales, is that no two summers are the same in terms of weather (certainly not in the UK). Follow any retail reporting and you’ll find reports of exceptionally wet summers single-handedly contributing to the loss of sales. Instead, savvier retailers are taking seasonal data and opting to honour a percentage of it only with long-term production (anything from 50%-80%). This means building a collection that leaves room for a quick response channel that can be much more reactive to weather conditions.

Quick response

Summer is one season to keep things closer to home! While there is a price advantage to sourcing 100% of apparel collections from Asia, the advantage to sourcing in Europe is that lead-times are reduced and the supply chain is much more reactive. Not only this, but couple it with the possibility to buy finished goods and you have a supply chain model that gets goods into store in a matter of days.  While finished European goods will be derivative to less margin, failing to have goods in store when your consumer demands them will be conducive to no sales at all.

 

Over-planned

On the other hand, optimistic future summer planning coupled with bad weather will leave retailers with excess summer stock that makes its way into mark-down come sale time. While there isn’t a magic formula reducing mark-downs, some retailers play it safe with broad investment in basics which can be turned around to the next year. This includes colours which are generally neutral and shapes which are considered classical and don’t succumb to trend influences.

The fact is, the great British weather has varying effects on consumers’ lifestyles, the economy, and retail – the best we can do is remain reactive!

To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

The Brand Power of Celebrities

Whether it’s Nicole Kidman for Chanel, Lara Stone and Justin Bieber for Calvin Klein or George Clooney sipping Nespresso, there is no denying that the status of a celebrity can propel the awareness of any brand. Fact is, people idolise celebrities, so when famous people are seen in adverts with a new product, target consumers are prompted (subliminally or directly) to buy that product. Simply put, the right celebrity face can widen your business, but this special partnership has to be carefully managed and planned. But how do you start?

 

Pick carefully

It seems obvious, but the first step is to hunt for a celebrity who fits with your band. This means identifying an ambassador who has an interest or a direct link in the message you want to communicate. For example, if your brand is child-friendly, don’t link up with a celebrity who is frequently papped falling home at 5am. Consumers are getting savvier and it is no longer enough to endorse a celebrity to read a script, so stay true to the vision of who you would like to represent your brand and do not sacrifice on it.

 

Reaching out

Ok, you’ve identified your perfect celebrity fit but how do you go about reaching out? We suggest making this process as organic as possible. Send the celeb your product and ask for a quote – if the celebrity likes (and believes) in the product, you are already half way there. The most common way to get your product into the hands of celebrities is through their agent, who can usually be found simply by Googling.

 

Introducing yourself

 

Send the agent an email with all the information you have about your brand, detailing which celebrity you are considering (bearing in mind that agents often represent more than one client) and explaining the commitment you require (including brand advertisement, radio interview etc.). The agent will be able to inform you of the celebrity’s interest and give you a price.

 

Leveraging the potential

If the celebrity agrees to partner, and the legal contracts are locked down, it’s time to understand how to get the best bang for your buck. Our advice is to recruit public relations experts to leverage the full potential that comes with a well-known face. Their objective is to nail down as much press exposure as possible, which also means briefing the celebrity fully on the brand so they are equipped for any media questions. This also means giving your celebrity full access to the brand value proposition so that they can photograph them for their social media platforms.

 

Measure the success

 

It’s worth asking your PR company to keep all the cuttings from media coverage and then corresponding these to sales during the weeks following. Further ways to measure success includes larger brand awareness in target consumer groups (which can be measured through focus groups) and the raising awareness in a wider category (thus, opening sales opportunities up to a wider audience).

To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

Know When It’s Time To Launch Your Own Business

Antonio Marsocci we’ve met so many people who’ve fallen victim to lost opportunities. From fashion designers, to boutique owners to luxury shoe-makers.  Our inner circle has seen ambitious and inspired entrepreneurs stay imprisoned in their 9-to-5s because they never knew when it was time seize the opportunity. This wasted skillset and opportunity goes on to manifest itself in burnouts and a future spent agonising over unfilled potential.

Of course, this is not to belittle the bravery that comes with leaving a steady (albeit unpredictable) job. But if you have been fostering a flourishing luxury ‘side-line’ for a while now, and wonder when it’s time to promote it to business, read on;

  1. Time is stopping you scale If you’ve brought your potential new business to life by working weekends and evenings, then a big bravo! However, it’s going to reach a critical point when this limited time is simply not going to offer the opportunity to scale a business. Business building goes way beyond the simple act of doing and encompasses creating long-term sustainability.If you have reached a point where time has become a constraint to your vision, it’s likely you are ready to start letting go of those apron strings

  2. You have enough cash to survive Of course, we’d all love to jump ship when our new business is widely profitable but it’s more realistic to know that you have enough cash flow to survive your new vision in its infancy. Take stock of your current situation and make some projections on what you need to survive until you can start to pay yourself a liveable salary. Be careful to not compare this to your current full-time take home pay, we’re talking about you in maintenance mode, the most streamline you can be.Of course, money shouldn’t hinder your dreams but it’s important to be realistic to avoid a trail of debt in a year’s time and no idea how it happened.If you believe that you have a pot that can sustain the cross-over, it’s probably time to make the leap

  3. You just know There never really is ‘the right time’ to produce an offspring and this also holds true when the baby is a business. The idea of everything falling into place is a myth. It’s up to you to create conditions that make you feel totally at ease with reaching for the next step.With that in mind, think about what you need to take your business to the next step. Once you determine the real factors that have to come together, make yourself accountable. Create a timeline and set a deadline – then jump, whether you really feel ready or not!It’s always going to be a difficult decision to leave stability for a volatile cash-flow and hours that look more, well, 9-midnight but if you know in your gut that you want to get your venture of the ground, it’s probably already time to make that happen.

To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

  • How retailers sell a new season

    For the optimists, summer is still totally in the air, sandals are cemented to feet and winter seems so impossibly far away.  On the other hand, the pessimists are still firmly rooted in their winter boots and reluctant to remove those layers. Sometimes, it seems like never the two camps shall meet and agree on what season we are actually in (at the start of Spring).  This was until the fashion world proposed some kind of peace-core, with the middle ground known as ‘transition’.

     

    What is transition?

    ‘Transition’ is that moment when you suddenly realize that you’re sweltering in your winter jacket, but it’s too cold to go coatless.   It occurs sometime in early spring, but think of it like a middle season, a little stop off before we hit Summer and it’s often a place where many people lose their way.

    Of course, retailers have been quick to identify this void and try to maximize on it with a collection known internally as ‘transitional’. Think of transitional as capsule collections specially tailored to ride this period through. As we leave winter and approach summer, you can expect trench coats, cropped trousers and Breton tops with shortening sleeves.

    What problems does transitional bring?

    Transition sounds like the miracle solution for that in-between season but the logistics behind the model is more complex than it may first seem. First up, the timeline is totally problematic since transition can literally consist of a matter of weeks and can also become totally void if temperatures unpredictably soar. Similarly, if spring never really surfaces, and winter seems never-ending, then the need for transition is canceled. This unpredictable environment proves problematic with forecasting, so less and less retailers are working with traditional supply chain models when it comes to range planning for this period.

     

    Instead, retailers are looking to quick response possibilities – product particularly sourced as and when it’s needed, in a nod to the buy now, wear now model championed by Tom Form and Burberry.  Quick response channels include local buying, air freighting, seasonless merchandise, and buying ready finished goods in a model which is totally anti-establishment compared to the long-term lead times that currently underpin fashion buying models.

     

    Managing stock

    This dialogue is not new; the fashion world has been debating over “consumer’s needs” for decades. It just seems that the Internet (namely Instagram) has brought the debate to a head. As we sit now in April, the current fashion model dictates that our in-store options are high-summer collections, while our aspirations are already geared to next winter.  This model leads not to just frustration but a real decline in sales if the environment (namely the weather) does not lend itself to styles and designs. Transitional offers a great solution but stocks have to be managed in a way that they are depleted by the time high-summer really does soar. Retailers have different tactics for managing this stock depletion, including aggressive prices and limited editions but, the fact is, transitional is a small period that may or may not need to be plugged meaning it will always be a volatile ground where most retailers prefer to tread lightly.

    To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

  • The secrets behind the Italian’s success

    It’s currently Milan Fashion Week (hereon known as MFW), where the movers and shakers of Italy’s fashion industry get together to give the nod to the trends we can expect to penetrate mainstream by Autumn/Winter 2017. Amongst these decision-makers and influencers we count editors, journalists, bloggers and power designer houses like Dolce and Gabbana, MaxMara, Versace, Valentino, Armani, and Prada. In fact, anyone with a vested interest in fashion currently has their eyes on Milan, so it seems hard to believe that just 70 years ago Italy had no real notable fashion industry. So how did a country grow from off the fashion radar to being one of the big four (rubbing shoulders with London, New York, and Paris)? Here we break down success, Italian style.

     

    Prada – Straddling the market

     

    In 2008, most of the world experienced an economic crash and yet, during that period, Prada was reporting growth and rapid expansion into Asia. How they did is a series of complexities, but it’s widely agreed that their success lies in straddling the market so that they encompass everyone – from the wealthy and the fashion conscious to the aspirational wannabe. In fact, Prada has positioned themselves so well with entry price points to mortgage your home prices, that they have widely become a house hold name (with a movie, The Devil Wears Prada, paying homage).

     

    Versace –  Engage the audience

     

    The theatrics we see on runways were not typical of the fashion world just 30 years ago. On the contrary, before the super model explosion of the early 90s – modelling used to be a pretty serious business with models coming with one size fit all measurements. It was Versace, particularly Donatella, who first put super-top models on the catwalk (against her brother’s wishes). Famously countering her brother’s aspirations for chic and sophisticated, Donatella said “on the catwalk you need charisma. Otherwise, can you imagine the boredom?”. And so she paved the way for a generation of designers who would understand that building a brand, was so much more than just creating clothes.

    Diesel – Be Innovate

     

    When Renzo Rosso founded the company Diesel in 1978, he wanted the company to be a leader famed for taking chances and occupying a distinctive niche in people’s minds. This meant creating a design-team that turned their backs on fashion forecasters and style-dictators, working to create a unique and individual style that would be the cutting-edge of innovation. You only need to look at Diesel on an individual product basis, or as a collection as a whole, to see how they use unique detailing, new washes, and treatments to stay ahead of competitors.

     

    Armani – Stay in control

     

    When asked about the secrets of his success back in 2004, Giorgio Armani actually dared to proclaim “I did it my way”. Continuing to elaborate, the designer said “my way was always to be as personal as possible. Just because everyone else is doing something, that doesn’t make it right”.  In fact, this one-directional approach is so encompassing that Armani owns 100% of the company, refusing to appease any shareholders.

     

    While the designer admitted that this bullish approach does come with consequences (a tendency for a self-centred and autonomous approach) he insisted that this unwavering one-directional focus kept his ship steering during volatile and turbulent times.

    To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

  • How Retailers Can Leverage Profits Through Customisation

    Credit Levi Strauss & Co who put the customer in control of product customisation back in 2004 with a consumer based system that derived at a ‘personalised pair’. Today, Nike offer a similar service which allows for customisation options costing up to $100 more than the average RRP. Similarly, Converse allow customers to supply their own graphics to turn trainers into completely unique one-offs. While luxury retailers Louis Vuitton “Make it Yours” Campaign offers a selection of patches which can be crafted to your liking – making something totally bespoke. Forget one-size fits all, customisation is now mainstream and to appease a generation of millennials, who demand instant gratification, it’s immediate and happening instore.

    Unique Customisation

    In-store customisation ensures that the customer takes one product from the shelf and leaves with something totally customised and individual. This fulfils the needs of generation Z whose nuance, it seems, is to be seen as individual. However, from a retail perspective, POS customisation serves to offer something significantly substantial – it gets footfall into the store, it promotes a positive purchasing decision and it makes a profit.

    The face of retail

    The retail model has changed considerable in ten years and the way that consumers make purchasing decisions has been significantly altered. Consumers now stand instore with smartphones to read product reviews and compare prices. They have social media platforms that allow friends and family to weigh-in on shopping decisions and a whole host of e-stores that have accessible products ready for delivery the same day. The fact is, as customers have taken control of their shopping experience, their expectations of retailers has increased. Part of this change in expectations is for retail merchants to curate individual experiences specifically for each consumer and one customer-centric solution is the accessibility of customisation.

    Close the deal

    Of course, it’s not just the potential to pull customers instore but closing the deal that counts. Nowadays, the channel where a customer is exposed to a product isn’t necessarily the same place they buy it, which is why it’s important to provoke customers to pull the trigger in merchant spaces. This is where product customisation steps in to strengthen the user experience by inviting customers to become part of the product creation process, and the better the consumer experience, the more opportunity to open conversions and build a loyalty. The fact is, in-store customisation helps cement positive purchasing decisions with 45% of shoppers spending money on personalising a product in 2015 (Forrester, 2015).

    Profits

    Not only does the opportunity to customise products appeal to the millennials appetite for personalisation but it’s already proven to be a service that consumers are willing to pay a premium for (Deloitte, 2015). Not only this but thanks to affordable tools and consumer-facing technology the tailoring process has never been cheaper. Plus, with each customisation process comes the possibility of a marketing boost as consumers take to social media to show off their looks.

    The fact is, retailers who have a platform which supports customisation and personalisation already have a significant competitive edge, after all the only way to encourage the customer to shop in-store is to offer a distinct experience not comparable online. As retailers give consumers the power to ‘design-it-yourself’ they will stay connected to customers, have a high presence on social media and will see a boost in profitable revenues.

    To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

  • Think Positive in your Work

    Do you remember a time when you were more enthusiastic in your work? Even passionate? When you felt you could make a difference? When every day was another opportunity? If that has faded over time, perhaps it’s time to think positive. Would you like to feel that way again?

    What can think positive give you? By thinking positively you can have: improved performance, more productivity, better teamwork and less stress. Thinking positively helps you: stay focused on solutions and get the job done; give yourself the chance to succeed; be clear about your team’s strengths and make the most of them; be a role model (and even an inspiration) to those around you; know what you want and what you need and also know that you are entitled to ask for both.

    The first step is attitude. The step is to ‘think positive’.

    As a busy manager or executive your are beset by conflicting issues: KPIs, targets, team performance, corporate politics, staff development, customer demands, etc., etc. When was the last time you thought to yourself, “We can’t do this; it’s too much.”? Were you right? Probably. What if your starting point had been, “We can do this, I just don’t know how yet.”? The first attitude shuts down the problem and expects failure. The second attitude invites success. The second attitude is thinking positively. The way forward might be straightforward, it might be convoluted and complex. But if you begin by believing there is no way forward then you certainly won’t find it. We find what we expect to find. If you tell yourself, “We can’t.” then you won’t. Thinking positively is believing otherwise – knowing that the solution is there, waiting for you and your team to create it.

    By way of analogy, in martial arts there is not only the action (the blow, the block, the push, the throw) there is also the intent behind the action. Without the correct intent, the action is empty and likely to fail. In your work, what is your intent? Are you focussed on where you want your career to be? Do you project your team towards a successful future? Or are your actions empty and by rote?

    Thinking positively is not self-delusion. It is not ignoring the facts. It is not a magic spell or good luck charm. Thinking positively does not guarantee success – success depends on you. However, with a ‘think positive’ frame of mind, you are more open to opportunities, more aware of the benefits in every situation and interaction, you are looking for success. Think positive gives you the motivation to make your success happen and so you are more likely to succeed. It is as simple and difficult as that.

    What kind of manager or executive do you want to be? How do you want others to see you? Nobody wants to be seen as defeated or depressed. The people around you want hope and motivation. By thinking positively you can give them that hope and motivation and move forward together.

    To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

Your Network

There may be times when you feel stuck. Sometimes you’re missing a vital piece of the puzzle. Sometimes you’re just having a bad day and need a little help. Well think positive; that’s what your network is for.

So what is it? Put simply, your network is everyone you know: friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, clients, neighbours, and so on. With some, the connection is strong and reinforced every day; with others, you may not have spoken for years but the connection (however tenuous) can still be there.

It’s a cliché – but true – that everybody is different and everyone in your network will have a different set of skills and knowledge and attitudes. When you need something that you can’t provide for yourself, someone in your network might be able to help. Likewise, when they need something, you might be able to help them (a true network is two-way; symbiotic not parasitic.) Also, everyone in your network has a network of their own. So even if no-one has what you need, they may know someone that does and be willing to connect the two of you. This has the double benefit of you getting what you need and also expanding your network.

Your network can provide you with advice, feedback, support and encouragement, new skills, contacts and opportunities. Although it is worth remembering that not everyone you know will be helpful in every circumstance. Some members of your network may waste your time, reduce your confidence, criticise you or resent you. So part of the art of active and conscious networking is to make decisions about who you keep in your network and to whom you reach out (whether to ask for or to offer help.)

So how do you extend your network? Making new friends, joining classes, clubs or professional associations through your work; all these can bring you into contact with potentially like-minded people. The more people in your network, the more options you have. But don’t forget that your connections require maintenance. It is much more difficult to ask favours of (or offer help to) somebody if you haven’t communicated with them for years. A good network has connections that are strengthened by frequent contact.

The internet, of course, contains many ways of creating contact: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr are well-known, but how about LinkedIn for business networking or Delicious for bookmark sharing? Why not start a blog or a YouTube channel and share your expertise – whatever it may be – with the world? There is plenty of online advice and articles on how to use these sites and services for your benefit; either personal or business.

Finally, don’t forget that for everyone you know, you are part of their network too and you will find that the more you think positive then the more valued a network member you are.

To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

Workplace Stress

Stress at work appears to be one of those issues that never quite goes away. A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) survey states that in 2008/09 up to 415,000 people believed they were experiencing workplace stress at a level that was making them ill. With this in mind, it is likely that stress may be an issue for you or your teams at some point. From a profitability point of view, the figures also suggest that stress costs UK businesses up to £700 million per year. So let’s think positive about this negative topic.

What is stress? The HSE’s website states that stress “…arises where work demands of various types and combinations exceed the person’s capacity and capability to cope.” It is important to note that this definition avoids blame. It does not say that the “work demands” are unfair or that the person is inadequate. Of course, both those situations are possible, but the essence of the definition is that there is a mismatch between the work and the worker.

Although symptoms are always specific to the individual, the following may indicate a stressed condition:

  1. feeling unable to take decisions

  2. reduced concentration

  3. problems with sleeping

  4. increased alcohol or caffeine intake

  5. chest palpitations

  6. over time, a lack of self-esteem

So, first of all, assess yourself. Do any of those feel familiar? If so, then it’s worth examining your situation with the following six questions:

  1. Are my work patterns and environment healthy?

  2. Do I have what I need to do the job?

  3. Do I know when I’m doing a good job?

  4. Do I feel my job is important?

  5. Am I recognised as an individual?

  6. Am I learning and developing?

If you can’t answer “yes” to any of them then that gives you a clue as to where some stress might be coming from. A good manager or executive will also ask themselves these questions about their teams and – where necessary – raise the subject with individuals. Most large organisations these days will have HR policies around stress and work-life balance which give a platform for such discussion.

The obvious question is: what to do about it? Options fall into two categories: quick fixes for when you (or another) are feeling stressed ‘in the moment’ and longer term solutions for ongoing situations.

‘In the moment’ – take a short walk (physical activity changes the focus and removes you temporarily from the stressful environment); find something to laugh at (release those endorphins); drink some water (if our body is dehydrated it is operating below its best) or herbal tea (less caffeine, remember!); or if circumstances allow, take a quick nap (20 minutes’ sleep can significantly reduce stress levels.)

Longer term – self-awareness (learn what your stress indicators are and then pay attention to them); discuss workload with a manager (it may be an issue of quantity or it may just need re-structuring); talk to a GP (particularly if physical symptoms are experienced); learn to say “no” assertively (it is easy to fall into the trap of taking on too much at work); and ultimately, a change of job or role may be indicated.

Most of us experience workplace stress at some point in our lives and careers. Perhaps we should see it as a positive sign, letting us know that we need to look after ourselves a little better. The important thing is not to ignore it but to take notice and take action.

Image Management

The corporate environment tells us that performance is important. We have performance targets, performance reviews and performance-related pay. However, performance is not all there is, there are also unwritten rules in every organisation. Whether you like it or not, people judge you based on what they observe. It’s human nature; we all do it, often without even realising it. In the workplace this means that judgements about you are based on all sorts of factors; not just your productivity. Even more potentially worrying, these workplace judgements can influence our pay, projects and promotions.

Still, think positive: if you are aware of the unspoken rules as well as the spoken then you can play the corporate ‘game’ with more confidence.

In his 1996 book, “Empowering Yourself: the Organizational Game Revealed”, the American business consultant, Harvey Coleman outlined the three factors influencing advancement and success in the workplace.

Performance – what you actually do; the quality and volume of the work that you produce; the clarity or otherwise of your decisions, your strategy, planning, etc. This is the factor that tends to be openly acknowledged.

Image – your appearance; how you dress; how well you appear to ‘fit in’ with your colleagues. First impressions count and this is the first visual impression that you make on those around you. Do you appear to be a ‘team player’ or a ‘loose cannon’?

Exposure – your visibility within the organisation; how well your name is known; your reputation. Doing superb work while never leaving your office or desk will not on its own help you advance. You not only have to be good, you have to be seen to be good.

So far, you are probably reading this and thinking, “That makes sense.”, maybe even “That’s reasonable.” but Coleman’s research went further. He identified a percentage split between the three factors showing to what extent each influenced advancement: as follows:

Performance = 10%;
Image = 30%;
Exposure = 60%.

The chances are that this still feels familiar to you, but it probably doesn’t feel fair. Well, to think positive, at least you know now and can make your choices in light of that knowledge. This research does not necessarily mean that you have to who you are in order to progress. You may, for example, choose to continue focusing on good work (performance) while doing more to bring it to the attention of others (exposure) and not change your appearance (image) because it feels important to you. But at least now that would be a conscious choice, made from a position of awareness.

Ultimately, whether you wholly agree with Coleman’s findings or not, they do provide food for thought. Ask yourself: “What is my reputation with my colleagues and how might that impact on me at work?”

To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378

Conflict Management

Workplace conflict is common. With the increasing complexity of projects, products, marketing, strategy, policy, leadership, etc. it is inevitable that people will have differences of attitude, view, belief, opinion, value or need. This is often seen as a bad thing but wait… good decisions are those that take into account a number of perspectives. Without conflict we lose richness and our decisions lack depth. The more views taken into account in the decision-making, the less chance that the course of action will fail later on. Your art as a leader, lies in thinking positively about conflict and seeing it for the valuable phenomenon it is.

So how do you navigate the conflict and resolve it as quickly and efficiently as possible without losing the benefits? Here is a model which may help.

Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann’s research during the 1970s identified five basic modes of approaching conflict based on the levels of importance you attach to your own needs and to the needs of the other person:

Competing – your needs are paramount – you stand up for what you think is right or, perhaps, simply try to win. It may be that you see achieving your objective as more important than preserving the relationship. Good for quick decisions but it may come across as harsh.

Accommodating – the opposite of Competing – perhaps you don’t care about the issue or maybe harmony is more important. Unlikely to lead to the best decision, but you may be able to demand a favour in return later.

Avoiding – attaching no importance to either your needs or theirs – sidestepping the conflict; it may buy you time, but it does not resolve the differences. Only really appropriate where the issue is trivial and everybody’s attention should be on more important matters.

Collaborating – the opposite of Avoiding – a genuine attempt to satisfy everybody’s needs. Sometimes time-intensive, but if parties are committed, it can lead to new and original solutions. The only true ‘win-win’ approach. Good for situations in which a good quality decision is essential; where quality is more important than speed.

Compromising – all needs are important but it is acknowledged that not all needs can be met – agreement is reached but nobody gets everything that they want; it is democratic but not always satisfying. Useful where a deadline may be looming or where any solution is better than none.

Ultimately, the ‘correct’ approach depends on the situation, how much time you have and the relative roles of the people involved (politics is always a powerful factor.)

Next time you are faced with managing a conflict with or among your people, why not take a moment to think about which of the five approaches is the most positive to take?

  • Motivating Others

    Motivation often comes down to individuals and circumstances and what works today may not work tomorrow, which is why it can feel difficult and time-consuming. But work done willingly is always better than work done unwillingly and your people’s commitment to their work is worth its weight in gold (even at today’s prices!) so let’s ‘think positive’ and take a look at motivation.

    There is a huge amount of research and theory on what motivates people in the workplace (e.g. McGregor’s X and Y or Reiss’s 16 basic desires), how personality types can influence an individual’s motivation (e.g. the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) and there are models to help us examine how self-awareness influences motivation (e.g. the Johari Window), but a starting point would be Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

    Abraham Maslow’s psychological research led him to identify a pyramid or hierarchy of personal needs common to all of us:

    1. self-actualisation – achievement of full personal potential

    2. self-esteem – independence, recognition, respect

    3. social – sense of belonging, friendship, love

    4. safety & security – protection, shelter

    5. physiological – food & drink, warmth

    Each of these needs depends upon those beneath it receiving some satisfaction. In other words, you can provide all the coaching and personal development training you like (to meet Need#1), but if the individual feels that they receive no credit for their good work then your coaching will not motivate them (because Need#2 is not being met.)

    Furthermore, to illustrate how people’s personal lives and working lives cannot easily be separated: you can give someone a public thank you for all their hard work at the team conference (to meet Need#2 and maybe even #3) but that will mean very little to them if they are having trouble paying the mortgage (Need#4 is under threat.)

    So, what people need in order to feel motivated will vary from individual to individual and from one day to the next. What can you do? First: ‘think positive’ (of course!) Second: communicate. Talk with your people. You need to know how they feel; what is going on for them in the workplace. That doesn’t mean you should pry or be too invasive with your questions, but you can and should show an interest. Give them the opportunity to tell you what they need. And when they do, you acknowledge that need, show you understand that need and, where possible, meet that need.

    Granted there may be some factors or incentives that are not within your control. Do acknowledge their existence, but devote your energies to that which you can provide.

    Finally, how often should you do this?

    “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing that’s why we recommend it daily.”
    — Zig Ziglar (motivational speaker)

    Ask yourself: “How motivational a manager am I?”

  • Workplace Assertiveness

    Business depends on good communication. In order to work together, Production must understand Design; Marketing must understand the customers; senior executives must understand everything. You would think that with this great need for understanding, people would place a premium on ‘win-win’ communication in which each party seeks to understand the position of the other. However, business also thrives on competition and in the workplace we often see the ‘win-lose’ principle of competition influencing the way in which we communicate. Let’s think positive, take a closer look and see if we can coach ourselves into better workplace communication.

    Assertiveness theory states that we have a number of rights; such as the rights to:

    1. your own feelings, needs and opinions;

    2. ask (not demand);

    3. refuse (say “no”);

    4. make a mistake;

    5. change your mind;

    Of course, if you take those rights the other half of the deal is that you also take on the responsibilities of respecting that others have those rights too, and of asserting your own rights in a reasonable manner.

    Back in the world of hard-working executives in the business environment, this begs the question: do we have these rights in the workplace? The answer is yes. However, there are factors that can erode those rights. For example, your contract will require of you certain duties; it’s difficult to say “no” to that. The hierarchy may put pressure on your rights: it’s difficult sometimes to refuse the boss’s requests. Deadlines and targets can be stressful and it’s more difficult to be assertive when you feel stressed. Perhaps you want people to like you (a ‘please others’ driver) and worry that they won’t if you don’t help them. Finally, given the state of the economy, you may have concerns about job security.

    Therefore one of the big workplace assertiveness issues is the ability to say “no” when faced with unreasonable demands. Here’s a quick guide to standing your ground (when you decide that it’s appropriate to do so) when you feel you’re being asked to do something that is beyond your remit, capacity and/or capability.

    First, ask for clarification. Before you refuse, ensure that you understand what is being asked and why (e.g. is the person just trying to offload their own work or is this a ‘drop-everything’ corporate priority?)

    Second, say “no” clearly, briefly and calmly, providing reasons for your refusal. The other person has the right to understand your position; after all, they may feel their request is perfectly reasonable. The important thing is to keep the channel of mutual understanding open. Do not apologise repeatedly. By all means, be sorry that you are unable to help them, but be clear about the fact that (based on the information you have) you are unable to help.

    Thirdly, be prepared to listen. If they are able to offer new information or reasons then you may feel it reasonable to change your position. But only because you have decided that their request is now reasonable. If it remains contradictory to your job role, business priorities and perhaps even your personal life, why would you change your mind?

    The reasoning here is that unassertively saying “yes” to everything doesn’t make good business sense, causes you stress and can become a pattern of office behaviour that is increasingly difficult to break. Sometimes, it is actually thinking positive to say “no”.

  • Leading through Change

    These days the theme of organisational life is change. Your teams are constantly subject to alterations and shifting priorities in working methods, market forces, staffing structures, etc. Of course, you too are subject to all of this. However, as the manager or executive, your role is to think positive and find a way through change; for both you and your people. If, as is often said these days, your people are you biggest asset then it makes sense to have their interests at the heart of any major change programme.

    So, how will they react to the latest initiative? Will they be ‘thinking positive’? Well, as we saw in last week’s article, “Working through Change”, the answer is: possibly not. People’s individual reactions to workplace changes tend to go through a number of stages: Denial, Resistance, Exploration and Integration. The first two in particular can result in negative behaviour and your job is to help your people through these stages as smoothly as possible.

    The ADKAR model can help you help your teams; it can also provide an objective approach to change management that can keep you positive when dealing with their emotional responses. The ADKAR model was developed by Prosci, an American business research consultancy, following studies of over 700 organisations around the world. The model offers five key stages for managing organisational changes: Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. When looking ahead and planning your change strategy, the model can be used as follows:

    1. Awareness of why the change is needed. List all the reasons for the change; Why is the ‘old way’ no longer appropriate? Why is the ‘new way’ better? And so on. Now, how many of your people are aware of these reasons? Only when you can answer, “more than 50%” should you move on to…

    2. Desire to support and engage with the change. List all the factors that will motivate your people to change; both the positive factors that pull them towards the ‘new way’ and the negative factors that push them away from the ‘old way’. Rate your people’s level of motivation; again, at least 50% is needed before moving on to…

    3. Knowledge of how to change. List the skills and knowledge needed to successfully change (including the knowledge of what the change involves) and rate your people’s knowledge and training in these areas. 50+%? Then go to…

    4. Ability to perform the change. Consider the skills and knowledge you have listed. Now rate your people’s ability to apply and use these skills and knowledge. Once you have more than 50%…

    5. Reinforcement to maintain the change. What measures are in place to ensure the change is permanent? What incentives are in place? Rate their effectiveness in supporting the change. 50% or more?

    So, that’s the ADKAR model. Why not think positive and apply it to a significant change you are managing in your organisation?

  • Team Dynamics

    People are not the same – obvious perhaps, but true – and in any workplace team there will be a wide variety of types, preferences, attitudes, skills, knowledge, etc. All these differences will interact together and produce different team behaviours. Ultimately, the effectiveness and efficiency of your team will depend on whether these differences work together or against each other.

    So, understanding the people in your team is crucial. As a manager or executive you need to know each individual in order to bring out their best possible contribution to the team effort. What role should they play within the team? What role would they like to play? What role would be best for them (and the team?) As ever, these questions can seem daunting when faced with a group of individuals whom you must turn into a functioning unit.

    Worry not and think positive. There are many theories and models available to help you. One of the more established is that of Belbin’s Team Roles.

    A team role is defined as: “A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way.” Nine roles were identified by Dr. Meredith Belbin during a period of research at Henley Management College, England.; as follows:

    Action-oriented roles:
    IMPLEMENTER – organised; disciplined; puts ideas into practice; may be inflexible.
    SHAPER – energetic, pushes forward; thrives on pressure; may lose patience with others.
    COMPLETER/FINISHER – sees things through; conscientious; deadline-focussed; may be inclined to worry.

    People-oriented roles:
    CO-ORDINATOR – leader; confident; provides focus; may be domineering.
    TEAM WORKER – caring; diplomatic; works to resolve conflict between members; may be indecisive.
    RESOURCE INVESTIGATOR – networker; enthusiastic; explores new possibilities; may lose interest in ‘old’ ideas.

    ‘Cerebral’ roles:
    PLANT – creative; unorthodox; produces original ideas; may ignore details.
    MONITOR/EVALUATOR – careful and accurate; objective; sees the ‘big picture’; may appear over-critical.
    SPECIALIST – expert; dedicated; knowledgeable and skilful in a specific area; may dwell on technicalities.

    Effective teams have a balance of roles; each role making an important and distinct contribution. However, that is not to say that every team must have at least nine people! One individual can fulfil the function of more than one of Belbin’s roles and that same individual may perform different roles in different teams and over the course of their career. Team roles are not fixed in stone. The important thing is to know what each member of the team has to offer and to play to their strengths and to manage their weaknesses.

    Think (positively, of course!) about your team in the workplace. Is the team balanced? Are you clear as to who is fulfilling which roles? Are any of the roles missing; if so, who 

Contact
  • LinkedIn Antonio MARSOCCI

Think Positive Antonio Marsocci Ltd

114b Endymion Road

London, SW2 2BP​

Tel: +44 208 6787378

info@antonio-marsocci.com

CODE OF ETHICS