This month's issue: The Value of Human Contact.
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Simple. Powerful. Elegant.

A Newsletter from Creative Ventures

Issue #116

Big News

The success of our Over Coffee video series has resulted in a freshly completed four-part customized video series for one of our clients.  Each custom video follows the client’s requested content in the Creative Ventures style, and no video exceeds five minutes.  This is a great application of simple raw video strategy, with some post-production work by Colin.

Colin’s and my first joint stage project was a huge success.  I presented our latest strategy, The One Click Armageddon program, while Colin simultaneously delivered a lesson in sketchnoting, our process for using a visual vocabulary for recording ideas.  It was great fun and we not only provided a strategy for value in a digital world, but also gave the participants a new way to see problems and opportunities!

Our Over Coffee continues to get some great feedback. If you haven't seen one yet, here is a link to the last video we released. Keep an eye open for the next episode this week! 







"With a plan and purpose, there can be value in EVERYTHING." 

- S. Angle

We had a ton of responses to our newsletter that launched our ONE CLICK ARMAGEDDON strategic platform, and now that we have put the idea into play with one of our largest clients, I want to offer a little more of the concept for you.
Now I love the “one click” order button and the two-day delivery that have redefined the online shopping experience, thanks to Amazon.  I’m not sure of the real value in a two to four-hour delivery promise unless you are ordering a tourniquet, but I get the idea of increasing the “I want it now” demand from today’s web-based shopper.

Amazon wants to be the source for everything you want or think you need.  I have no trouble getting stuff from them, but don’t be mistaken:  what you get from Amazon is stuff.  It comes in a stuff container (a box) delivered by a guy in brown shorts.  It is its own level of value and its staggering success has made almost every industry re-evaluate its roles, goals, beliefs, and identity.  So, if you don’t sell “stuff,” your market is not defined by a box, and your challenge is leveraging the intellectual equity you have built in your career.  You have to strategically leverage the things only YOU can do for your clients.  This is the idea of a new model where grace, kindness, and our sense of personal connections will become true strategies.

I want to talk about a different level of value, good old fashioned human contact.  Think the of it as the “anti-one click.”  Despite all the digital coolness of the immediate gratification age, your customer and client is still a human being.
Building value around a simple transaction can be done with a click, but building value around a relationship model remains uniquely human.  Despite the bright shiny technology in our pockets, at our offices, and embedded in our homes, people have a strong desire to have an excellent YOU experience.

Think of technology as a leverage tool:  it doesn’t create your experience, it simply leverages it.  Then, when you finish leveraging your technology, what’s left?  It’s the rest of your client experience.  It is the customer beyond the algorithm.  It is quite simply you and they.  The client experience in the relationship business, where the idea escapes the gravity of a mere transaction, IS the strategy.  The need for core elements as simple as being friendly, doing what you say you will, a human, emotional contact beyond the product, and a little empathy with the listening and communication part of your client equation are the golden elements of something intensely personal.
These ideas take focus and time.  They often are shrouded in a plaintive wail of “How can these behaviors actually do anything to make a difference?”  In fact, they are the linchpins in building and maintaining relationships.  Think about it.  Relationships are social constructs, and social constructs are based on ancient ideas, the deep desire to be sociable, to connect.  These are the ideas and skills that will allow you to succeed well beyond the advent of a “stuff” strategy. 
Einstein said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction.  The world will have a generation of idiots.”

So, here are three ideas to help you polish your relationship skills and build a better model of focused human value.  


Do This!


It’s inventory time.  Take a look at your current client experience model and make a list of every element that builds the way clients encounter you, your company, and its various products.  It’s time to get rid of some of your “old” stuff.  Jettison your bad ideas.  If you cannot define the exact and implicit value of a program, either get rid of it or modify it.  Stop doing what you have always done simply because you have always done it.  Look at your communications.  If you do a newsletter, give it a face lift.  Get rid of all the complexity and give your clients access to your experience and knowledge.  Be brutally honest in compiling this list.  When you get rid of bad stuff it opens time and space for something new and meaningful.  When Mark Parker took over as CEO of NIKE, he called his friend Steven Jobs and asked, “What advice do you have for me?”  Jobs told him that Nike made a lot of great stuff, but also made a ton of crap.  Jobs said, “Get rid of the crap.”  Parker reduced the number of Nike products and saw immediate success.  

CREATE A NUCLEUS OF NEED - Think like this:  “I want my relationship and client experience to be such that my customers cannot imagine doing business without me.  I want a strategic focus on creating a sun-like radiance of need.  I want to be the nucleus of my client’s life around what I do.  So, how do I become the central part of the recurring buying process?”  You have to develop a connection strategy.  There are a lot of touch points in your client experience.  Clients interact with different parts of what you do.   How consistent is your message?  What is it like to deal with every member of your team?   The importance of a YOU-centered strategy has to pass through all levels to reach the core of the nucleus of your client’s life.  Check the whole machine.  Does your team get it?  

This whole idea is about change, doing something differently.  Think of it as a needed evolution of your business.  Not competing with the A to Z of Amazon but instead creating a value-based model around a client experience that is focused on people.    It is about simple steps and the movement of ideas.  When restaurateur extraordinaire Danny Meyer decided to open a burger joint, the Shake Shack, he didn’t begin with revolution, but instead with evolution.  By making a better burger with brisket, chuck, skirt steak, and short ribs he launched an idea.  His one-off burger joint became a $1.6 billion IPO, but it wasn’t just the burger that caused the 41 US and 24 overseas eatery unit explosion, it was the human aspect.  Extend the hospitality beyond the four walls.  When a child is crying bring them a cup of custard.  Think, “How can I make the customer feel loved?”  Is that so far from what you should be thinking? Combine an evolution of what you are doing with a bit of customer care to create a revolution!  It ain’t about the burger, it’s about how the whole idea makes you feel!



It might not surprise you to learn that many of our agricultural products take up to $5 billion of various chemicals to protect them from bugs.  Oxitec is a biotech company that has a natural idea.  With a little genetic magic they can produce an insect to introduce to a species that will limit the bad bug reproduction by eliminating self-replication.  Diamond Moth larvae ravage broccoli (not sure what’s wrong with that), and a modified moth will stop a portion of those larvae from killing the veggies.  The same idea when used with certain mosquitoes can radically reduce the spread of Dengue Fever.  Test markets in Brazil and Panama have had promising results, so much so that Oxitec was named one of the world’s most innovative companies by FastCo magazine.    


Sustainer Homes have a great repurposing idea for all those old shipping containers that have ended their useful transportation life by turning them into really cool tiny homes.  With an average square footage of 323’ they are a totally portable home idea.  They have a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living area.  An almost completely green footprint features a solar powered electrical supply, sophisticated rain water system and a waste water recycling process that passes the water through six plant based filters.  The entire living system is computer-operated with a human-friendly interface.  These little homes can be shipped anywhere and set up in a couple of hours.

If you are a college or high school football fan you have probably noticed a group of guys on the sidelines flashing various large image cards to their team.  These cards feature everything from pop culture icons to local eatery logos.  What you are seeing is a machination of an idea that Mike Gundy had at Oklahoma State.  He wanted a better way to quickly communicate plays to his team, one that did not require sending a player in who then had to communicate the play to the quarterback who then passed it on to the other players.  He sent a crowd source request for ideas to the student body, and Glen Alabee submitted the first form of “sight line” communications.  It was a simple four color formula and when used it radically increased the speed of the play calling.  Why?  We pick up visual cues at an incredible speed and everyone can look over to see what play is called.  Visual drives almost 87% of all that we store as our memory.  Think visual!  

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