At last week's annual meeting of the Corporate Event Marketers' Association in San Diego, EWI Worldwide had the pleasure of introducing Scott Miller, the keynote speaker and author of "The Underdog Advantage."
Miller (a well-known consultant to political candidates and leading consumer brands) has a thesis that, no matter how large or successful your company may be, it is best to act like an underdog and behave like an "insurgent" (not an incumbent)--especially useful in these crazy times.
Of course, you must decide if you agree with him or not--so, without further delay, some of the highlights of his presentation:
Miller believes you must first get difference between an "incumbent" and an "insurgent." Listed below are his thoughts which he credits to one of his former clients, Steve Jobs:
Incumbent=big, bureaucratic, heritage-driven, slow, superstitious, hate change
Insurgent=mobile, agile, hostile, flat, fast, destination driven, heretical, love change
Based on the above differences--and the flow of his book--Miller lays out his "Six Steps for Using Insurgency to Win":
1. Do the Doable...
>Define what a win means/define what your destination is
>Set achievable objectives
>Get some first downs/traction/momentum
>Be active--remember "only dead fish swim with the stream"
2. Move the Movable...
>Lock down loyalists
>Move soft supporters to hard supporters
>Define votes you need to win--who within an organization do you really need to be connecting with
3, Perceptions Rule...
>What they think of you is who you are. If you want them to think differently of you then change the perception
>Remember everything communicates and everything matters
4. Communicate Inside/Out...
>Create missionaries and evangelists among customers, clients, the industry
>Transfer ownership of your strategic vision so that it grows and permeates the industry
>Define the future of your industry and then tell everyone what's going to happen in that future
>Create a winning culture = "I'm part of something great" + "I can make a difference in this pursuit"
5. Play Take-Away...
>Business is usually a zero-sum game (especially marketing) where you only win if someone else loses
>Don't just play to win, decide who is going to lose
>Match your strengths agains their vulnerabilities
>Protect your hard and soft supporters while you focus on their undecided and soft supporters
>Take the puck!
6. Speed Wins...
Miller focused on this quote from General Douglas MacArthur: "The history of failure in war and any other human endeavor can be summed up in two words: too slow."
Have we heard many of these points before? I would say yes. Do I agree with all of them? Not really. But, like all presentations, I find uncovering the nuggets buried within them--things you may not have thought about or have forgotten--are usually worth the listen.