Coordinates 05.18

Welcome to Coordinates 05.18

A newsletter for busy business, brand, and marketing leaders who want to stay in the know and be inspired about ways to make a positive impact on their business, brands, organizations, and themselves.

What is Strategy?
A few of my newsletter readers were interested in learning more about the history of strategy. So, in the Strategy Corner, I’ll be featuring good references on strategy to check out if you’re looking to deepen your strategy knowledge.
Let’s start with simply, what is strategy?
I like how A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin explain strategy in their book, “Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works.” Strategy is about “making specific choices to win in the marketplace.” In short, strategy is about choosing “where to play, and how to win,” and identifying the organizational competencies and structure to support the strategic choice being made.
To learn more about the book and its strategy principles, view this webinar with Roger Martin.
Not getting to the fun stuff? Try Strategy 30.
It’s often that I speak to senior level executives, managers, and people early in their career, alike, who say they get mired in the day-to-day business operations and find it hard to carve out time to do the strategic thinking and planning they need to do to move their business forward. Yet, most people believe this is the fun stuff to be working on, and, frankly, it’s critical for their business.
So, it’s time to find a way to make time for the fun stuff. Try Strategy 30, a rapid strategy session that takes just 30 minutes to make a shift around a choice you are trying to make for your business. Test out the method for yourself, and email me to tell me how it worked for you.

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Learn from Stitch Fix CEO, Katrina Lake, about how the company differentiates on personalization leveraging data science complemented with human interaction. As she writes, “It’s simple: A good person plus a good algorithm is far superior to the best person or the best algorithm alone.” I also love her story about being a “risk averse” entrepreneur and how she used her b-school years to test her way to her business idea and model. Take note if you are one of those interested in starting a company but want to do so in a lower risk manner. Read more at HBR >

Also, here’s a podcast interview with Lake, which I shared last month, in case you missed it and prefer to listen vs. read.

A primer from McKinsey on Customer ExperienceRead more >


Do you work in retail? Want a 1000% return on your investment? Learn from this study conducted with Gap that showed that providing consistent work schedules had a profound impact on both productivity and sales. It would be interesting to have measured employee engagement, as well. Here’s to the Pursuit of Excellence by Focusing on PeopleRead more at Inc >

In the new book, “In Defense of Troublemakers: The Power of Dissent in Life and Business,”Charlan Nemeth, a University of California, Berkeley psychology professor, argues why you don’t want to be surrounded by a bunch of “yes” people. Allowing for alternative viewpoints encourages better thinking and outcomes. Read more at Quartz >


A clever, on-brand use of Instagram for Burger King in Spain. Read more at Adweek >

Are we hitting subscription overload? This article suggests yes, and I’d agree. Expect more innovation in monetization approaches as an equilibrium is sought between business cost mitigation and consumer value. Read more at Techcrunch >


How to make consumers’ comfortable with sunsetting products? SweetGreen has some lessons. Read more at The New Yorker >

Big companies can do good, too. Danone North America has become the largest certified B Corp in the world. The company scored an 84.9 out of 200 on an impact assessment, which may not seem good, but that compares to most other companies rating in the low 50’s. Read more at Fast Company >

REI is taking a page out of Whole Foods book and establishing Product Sustainability Standards that its vendors must meet. It’s a step that could garner further brand loyalty by building trust around what the company carries in its stores. Read more at Quartz >

When building a brand, you have to speak to the head, heart, and gut, all which have an emotional connection. Learn how Airbnb and Strava built into their products elements that spoke to consumers’ “hearts.” This article contends that focusing on attracting the “lovers” of your product can guide both product positioning and effective marketing. Read more at HBR >


While geared towards fashion, these are 5 social media tips all brands can apply. Read more at Business of Fashion >


Get inspired by these 8 finalists in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas. Find the full list of finalists here.


These food Instagram trends show us just how pretty food can be.

Write like famous musiciansRead more at Adweek >


Whats Trending

We’re lonely. Not only are Americans stressed and anxious, we’re also lonely. Loneliness is becoming a national health epidemic. Read more at Weathervane Forum.

Book in Brief

“The Decision Book,” by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppeler. This is a powerful little book with “50 Models for Strategic Thinking.” It provides decision models that you can apply to both personal and professional situations. Start from these and customize them to your circumstances.

Have a Listen

When Work Takes Over Your Life. A great talk from Adam Grant’s podcast, “WorkLife,” for some tips on how to set boundaries around your work and practices you can test in your own business environment to reverse our “always on” work culture.


Get inspired by Patagonia’s CEO Rose Marcario in conversation with Kara Swisher on the Recode Decode podcast. Hear about the company’s ambitions to champion environmental and social good, which has also just happened to be staggeringly good for their business.

Want to have a say?
Thanks to those who have already provided us with input. We’d love to hear from more of you. Tell us the what you’d love to know but never have time to dig into, the types of things you find inspiring but can never dig up yourself.
Take our brief survey here(It will only take 3 minutes, promise.)

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