Archive for May, 2013

7 secrets to a successful, enduring business

(2) Catherine AllenWhat makes an agency successful begins not with fancy corporate jargon or a client roster of well known brands, but with the people at it. Choosing who those people are and who they collectively can be is a daunting challenge overall, but impossible without knowing what you stand for. That’s why core values are so important. At SHIFT, our core values are part of employee reviews. They’re part of monthly team meetings, when team leaders recognize accomplishments by their team members aligned with each of the values. They’re part of our hiring process, and candidates are evaluated based on how aligned they are with the values of the firm – and we’ve turned down many, many people who look good on paper but they weren’t going to be a good fit based on values.

Core values help you to implement the essence of strategy: knowing what to say no to. Without them, you’re a car without a GPS, and you’re just as likely to drive into a bad neighborhood as you are to get where you want to go.

If you want to learn more about what the values mean, read this series by SHIFT Senior Vice President Catherine Allen on each of the values and how we interpret them.

If you want “the secret sauce” to longevity as a business, it’s adhering to values like these, especially when the temptation to do something easier or more profitable arises.

Nibbling at the Apple

Blighted apple

It’s becoming fashionable to take a bite out of Apple. There was Jean-Louis Gassée’s scathing article in the Guardian. There was Jon Gruber (of Daring Fireball) damning Apple with faint praise: blaming the media for cherrypicking the news to weave a narrative about Apple’s slow demise. I expect the chorus to grow louder before it weakens. Blood in the water, and all that.

Apple doesn’t do itself many favors. Its trenchant secrecy used to seem cool – and I daresay it would still be considered cool – if not for the fact that a) competitive technologies are legitimately “catching up” to the iDevices and, b) the company’s accounting tricks seem increasingly slinky and mean-spirited.

Bloomberg reported: “Apple avoided as much as $9.2 billion in taxes by financing part of a $55 billion stock buyback with debt rather than offshore cash that would have been billed by the U.S. government.”

Juxtapose that legal money laundering with the typical mindset of the prototypical iConsumer. I daresay most of Apple’s biggest fans are Obama supporters, and certainly the media tastemakers skew more liberal. At some point the corporate accounting chicanery will sound a discordant note that continues to toll. “These guys at Apple? These are not good guys. They are not pro-American. They’d go to any length to avoid paying taxes that would benefit America’s defense, infrastructure and education. And worst of all, sin above all sins: their tech is now only on-par with everybody else.”

In other words: not cool. Not anymore.

What do you do about this if you work at Apple PR?

Find out my suggestions on the SHIFT Communications blog.

Todd Defren

Did you know 70% of Facebook users are mobile?


…at least some of the time. That’s the latest in our findings after reading through Facebook’s Q12013 SEC Filing. See what other surprises are on tap for marketers in our summary on the SHIFT Communications blog post.

Show some social media love would ya?

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