On Strategy: We've got your back

Businesses have been told to adapt or die since the turn of the millennium (at least), with those that fail being swept into the ‘dustbins of oblivion.’

Since then, the pace of STEEP (social, technological, economic, environmental, and political) change has only increased.

The need to adapt is even less of a choice today; it’s essential – for organizations of all types.

Having a plan that helps navigate the choppy waters of change is more critical than ever.

That’s where good organizational strategy comes in.

As a leader, people look to you to set the course. But, in reality, strategy is most effective when it is owned by everyone in your organization and when it speaks to the external folks who are counting on you as well.

And *THAT* is where we can help.

Getting strategy right is vital, but tough.

It takes time, energy, and effort. It requires people to be clear-eyed and open-minded in challenging assumptions. It involves ‘thinking big’ and asking tough questions. Often, it can also require difficult choices.

It’s for all these reasons (and more) that an estimated 90% of organizations fail to execute on their strategies.

We can help you be in the 10 per cent that do strategy right.

We’ve helped organizations of varying sizes and from different sectors through strategy-setting processes, from planning to execution.

We’ve led the development of multi-year plans, and helped organizations set themselves up for success.

We’ve used different models, convened diverse groups of stakeholders, and helped turn ambition into action.

We have also led strategy rollouts and communications with key audiences – a key but sometimes overlooked component of effective strategy execution.

Your organization wants to change the world. We can help you craft a plan that will set you up for success. We’ll help you to get others see the vision. And we’ll give you the tools to keep competitors at bay.

Strategy, after all, is intensely competitive. It’s about making choices, and playing to win.

The first step is a conversation with us. Let’s have that chat today, and let’s get you on the path to strategy success.

NEWS RELEASE: January 8, 2020

WINSTON WILMONT RECIEVES IMPORTANT, PRESTIGIOUS CERTIFICATION

OTTAWA, ON (Jan. 8) – Winston Wilmont’s journey as a supplier of choice to purpose-driven organizations that want to change the world for the better today takes a major step forward.

The bilingual, Ottawa-based public affairs consultancy is now certified by Canadian Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) as a diverse-owned business.

This designation, styled as LGBT+ Business Enterprise, opens several important avenues for growth for Winston Wilmont:

  • Some of North America’s largest and most iconic companies and organizations understand the social and economic value of diversity in all its forms, including supplier diversity.
  • Leaders in this field have formalized procurement policies that mandate buying products and services from companies run by traditionally under-represented groups, including sexual minorities.
  • Some even incorporate these goals into performance objectives for procurement employees.

This certification tells leading, diversity-minded organizations that Winston Wilmont’s fundamentals are solid and that its ownership and structure can meet diversity procurement targets for parts of their supply chains.

CHRIS DAY, President, Winston-Wilmont, Inc.

The certification process is a rigorous one, and deliberately so. Winston Wilmont has been working with the CGLCC and its third-party assessment specialist toward this goal over recent months.

ABOUT WINSTON WILMONT + CHRIS DAY

Winston-Wilmont, Inc. is a bilingual, boutique consultancy specializing in integrated marketing communications, public relations and issues management, government and regulatory affairs, and event management and support. Founded by Chris Day in 2016, Winston Wilmont benefits from his extensive executive-level experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Chris has worked in and/or travelled to 77 countries on six continents (including work with both foreign affairs and immigration as a senior government advisor) and as such he forged deep connections around the world. Based in Canada’s capital city, Winston Wilmont has the knowledge and expertise to help global clients find success however they define it. Winston Wilmont adds value at every client interaction as part of its brand promise. A member of Ottawa Tourism, Winston Wilmont’s Live Local and  Capital Concierge business lines operate at the intersection or business and leisure travel, with a focus on forging meaningful connections and creating memorable experiences.

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For more information, please contact Chris Day at cdayottawa@live.ca or leave a reply below.

On Hindsight, Hard Work + Appreciation

This past fall, my partner and I crossed an item off our travel ‘bucket list’ by spending three fabulous weeks touring Japan.

Japan didn’t disappoint: it’s marvelously rich with history and culture.

We got to see a lot of it firsthand.

One place that really impressed me is Yamadera — a cluster of Buddhist shrines and religious structures built into a mountain-side and linked by 1,000 steps.

We started climbing.

And climbing.

The higher we got, the more in awe I was.

Building at Yamadera temple began in the mid-9th Century.

As I huffed and puffed my way upward nearly 1,200 years later, I thought about those passionate, dedicated devotees who carved their way through rock faces and felled ancient trees to make this place.

The sheer scale of the vision. The incredible effort required to bring it to life over several centuries. It was all very humbling.

And yet, our reward awaited.

Onward we climbed.

At Yamadera’s highest point is Godaido – a viewing platform that overlooks some breathtakingly beautiful, mountainous countryside.

From here, everything that went into making this place just seems worth it.

Closing out my first year as a full-time entrepreneur, I have a renewed appreciation for hard work and big goals.

I’ve always been someone who’s poured myself into my work. I’ve had some incredible professional opportunities in life.

But none has been more satisfying and passion-fueling than forging my own path, with great clients, and clear purpose.

I am building, learning, growing. And I have never been happier.

High atop Yamadera, I was again reminded that I am not alone in this journey.

Tucked into the wooden planks of Godaido’s roof covering I saw the business cards of entrepreneurs from around the world.

Who knows if these folks were hoping for divine intervention or simply a potential lead?

But my blue business card is now among them.

And if a call ever comes as a result, I will be ready to take it.

There are some big things in the works already for 2020. But I honestly feel it’s just the beginning.

For that, I am grateful beyond words.

The coming Parliament

Canadians have spoken.

Unwilling to give any federal party the power that comes with a parliamentary majority, Canada’s political leaders will have to work together to move agendas forward and get anything done.

Party leaders of all stripes are doing post-mortems on their campaigns.

What worked, what didn’t – it will all be dissected and analyzed in minute detail.

That work will continue for months.

But federal leaders and their teams must also look ahead.

The Prime Minister this week said he will unveil his new Cabinet November 20th.

A Speech from the Throne will follow.

And Parliament will resume sitting.

That’s where the certainty ends.

For many parliamentarians, this will be their first time in a minority context.

It’s uncharted, complex, volatile territory.

The governing stakes are high. One misstep, and it’s game over.

For organizations of all sizes and across sectors, there’s opportunity to be seized.

In the absence of a formal coalition, the government must secure support from at least one other party to maintain power: issue-by-issue, bill-by-bill.

Parties will look for causes to support and initiatives to back that have broad, mass appeal.

Smart politicos are also already thinking ahead to next platforms.

Because the reality of minority Parliaments is this: the next election campaign could be right around the corner.

Is your organization on political radars? Should it be? If so, what’s your plan? We can help. Get in touch today.

The power of ideas

Ideas power change. Big ideas can change the world.

As Richard Jerome wrote in a recent special edition of Time magazine dedicated to creativity:

Other creatures may be bigger or badder, but only people imagine possibilities — and make them happen.

“The Science of Creativity,” Time magazine, March 2019.

Human history is littered with examples of powerful ideas – good and bad – across every field of endeavour.

Arts. Politics. Science. Medicine. Invention. Commerce.

The list goes on…

Progress springs from an innate human trait: productive creativity.

People can harness our curiosity, consider new and different ways of doing something, and make things better (or worse). But the fact remains: ideas power change.

I have been very fortunate over the course of my life to meet and know some truly incredible, brilliant, and inspiring people.

Ideas people.

People from all different backgrounds, with very different perspectives and approaches, who have used productive creativity to do amazing things – each in her or his on way. In their communities, and well beyond.

Thinkers. Doers. Makers. Disruptors.

It’s the ideas people that have historically changed the world, and it’s those same people that will power it forward.

Winston Wilmont is a proud sponsor of TEDxOttawa’s “Solving for X,” October 10, 2019, at the National Arts Centre in downtown Ottawa.
TEDx events are all about ideas worth spreading.
And this year’s lineup is sure to get people talking and thinking.
Event details and tickets are at: www.tedxottawa.ca

Three (full) months on…

…Thank you!

If you’re reading this, it means you’re part of my now three-month-old journey of full-time self-employment.

You’ve stopped by my site, followed me on social, dropped a line of encouragement, acted as a sounding board, offered counsel or assistance.

You’ve helped. So, thank you.

The past three months have flown by.

I have had the chance to work with new people, old friends, and old friends in new ways.

I have come to know, and become inspired by, organizations that are doing great things – some for many years and each in their own way – to serve people and change the world for the better.

I have attended conferences, networking events, and courses. I have met interesting, impressive people and emerged with new insights, new contacts, and new skills.

I have joined new professional associations.

I have also formed a great new strategic alliance with my BFF and an American friend. Together, we’re lining up some truly exciting, even game-changing things. (Stay tuned!)

An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.”

— Roy Ash, WWII veteran and Litton Industries co-founder

There has been much to chew on over the last three months.

At times, it has felt surreal. At points, it has felt almost overwhelming. But not once – not even for a moment – have I felt regret.

Here’s why.

Because over the last three months, not only have I become a better communicator, a better strategist, and a better business person. I have also become a better partner, a more present son, brother, uncle, and a more engaged friend, yogi, and volunteer.

I’m busier than ever. But I am a better busy. A fully energized, firing-on-all-cylinders busy. It’s a busy-ness that shows no sign of letting up, and I pray that it doesn’t.

I have so much to do and so much to look forward to.

And each of you still reading has not only got me here, you’re part of what’s next.

So, thank you. Sincerely. I am forever grateful.

The power of storytelling

Does this goldfish look smug to you? She might have good reason to be.

At 9 seconds, the attention span of the once-lowly goldfish is now longer than the average adult person’s (8 seconds), according to a 2015 study.

Look familiar?

While that study could be more fish tale than fact, there’s no denying that modern attention spans are pulled in all sorts of different directions.

Just look at these numbers:

  • 700,000 : Google searches performed every minute
  • 100,000+: Digital words a person processes on average, every day
  • 5.3 trillion: Online ads shown every year

Human brains are amazing organs. In computer terms, they’re capable of performing 38 thousand trillion operations per second. (The world’s fastest supercomputer can only do 0.002% as many.)

But even brains have their limits.

For messages to capture attention, create trust, and inspire action, they have to transcend informational clutter like never before.

That’s where storytelling comes in.

Stories have the power to cut through the noise because our brains have hard-wired attraction to narratives.

Character-driven stories with emotional content result in a better understanding of the key points a speaker wishes to make and enable better recall of these points weeks later.” – Paul J. Zak, Center for Neuroeconomics Studies

But that’s only one of several science-based reasons stories stick.

  • Stories activate cortex activity, unlocking the senses and more areas of the brain than basic facts alone.
  • They release dopamine, which encourages greater and more positive memory.
  • They also allow audiences to connect to their own ideas and experiences – a process called natural coupling.

Stories shape messages into meaning.

From a business perspective, stories also create more valued experiences for audiences and better ROI for brands.

So, what’s your story? And how can we help you tell it so it penetrates a hyper-charged communications environment to produce results right away?

Three easy steps for you to follow right now:

  1. Fill out the form on the contact page to schedule a conversation.
  2. Allow us to create for you a customized storytelling plan.
  3. Let’s execute the plan together.

News Release: June 3, 2019

WINSTON WILMONT FORGES NEW STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

OTTAWA, ON (June 3) – Winston Wilmont is going global. Building on our national and international experience, Winston Wilmont President Chris Day today announces a strategic partnership with Las Vegas’ Magellan Marketing and Ottawa’s Tiger Lily Marketing.

The announcement comes as Tiger Lily Founder and CEO Kimothy Walker pitches the 2019 Canadian Export Challenge (CXC). CXC is a 1-day global accelerator and pitch competition tour presented by Startup Canada, in collaboration with UPS​, Export Development Canada​, ​and the Canadian ​Trade Commissioner Service.

The new partnership will take advantage of Canada’s status as the most connected G7 country and accelerate our access to the global market.

“Winston Wilmont is about adding real value for clients at every interaction; that’s part of our brand promise. This partnership with Magellan and Tiger Lily will increase our collective reach, enhance our service offerings, and create exciting opportunities for clients around the world.”  

Chris Day, President, Winston-Wilmont, Inc.

The partnership announced today seeks to:

  • leverage connections across two of the world’s leading industrialized economies;
  • maximize our unprecedented access to world markets, including emerging and developing economies; and
  • create sustainable, rewarding, and authentic experiences for the people we serve.

ABOUT WINSTON WILMONT + CHRIS DAY

Winston-Wilmont, Inc. is a bilingual, boutique consultancy specializing in integrated marketing communications, public relations and issues management, government and regulatory affairs, and event management and support. Founded by Chris Day in 2016, Winston Wilmont benefits from his extensive executive-level experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Chris has worked in and/or travelled to 77 countries on six continents (including work with both foreign affairs and immigration as a senior government advisor) and as such he forged deep connections around the world. Based in Canada’s capital city, Winston Wilmont has the knowledge and expertise to help global clients find success however they define it. Winston Wilmont adds value at every client interaction as part of its brand promise. A member of Ottawa Tourism, Winston Wilmont’s Live Local and Capital Concierge business lines operate at the intersection or business and leisure travel, with a focus on forging meaningful connections and creating memorable experiences.

ABOUT MAGELLAN + MICHAEL GOLDSMITH

Michael Goldsmith is a respected industry veteran with more than three decades of strategic destination marketing and management, aviation, hospitality and global tourism development experience.   Working with some of the most recognizable travel brands in the world, Michael has established a network of accomplished professionals to provide guidance, counsel and thought leadership to destinations and entities looking to create economic opportunities through tourism in a strategic, responsible and sustainable manner. Michael is a prolific global traveler and frequently shares his knowledge and experience as a featured speaker and panelist at international conferences and events.

ABOUT TIGER LILY + KIMOTHY WALKER

Kimothy Walker, a former network TV anchor and producer of 25 years, has been bringing together executive level consultants to provide clients what they need, when they need it through KWC Inc. and Ottawa Media Group (OMG) since 2014. Now going global with Tiger Lily Marketing, Kimothy is assisting clients who require strategic business development supported by effective marketing strategies and integrated services—from strategic planning and crisis communications to video production, social media and website development. Her team, with the combined experience of hundreds of years, has deep connections in Canada and around the world.

ADDITIONAL INFO:

Chris Day

Michael Goldsmith

Kimothy Walker

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Brand and the customer experience

Brand is holistic. Much more than a name, logo, or tagline, brand involves people’s every experience and perception.

While brand is a business’s most important asset, your brand is for your audiences first. Ultimately, it lives (or dies) based on how those audiences feel.

So the customer experience today is vital to brand promotion and protection. Perhaps more so than ever before.

Stanford researchers recently confirmed empirically that social content which embodies and conveys “brand personality” (like humour and emotion) leads to higher engagement than content that is purely informative. (Given the shift of advertising resources from traditional media to social, the findings are reinforcement gold for marketers who have to fight for promotion dollars.)

But when it comes to customer experience writ large, putting all your customer experience eggs in the social basket can leave your customers feeling scrambled, and fry your brand protection efforts.

Recently, I have had two experiences as a customer that have driven this point home.

After an atrocious ordering experience to get the computer I am using to type this post, my two-week old hard drive decided to simply stop working.

After more than two hours of trans-oceanic telephonic ‘technical support,’ I was still no closer to a resolution. Out of pure frustration, I posted to Twitter:

A near-instant reply was followed by a flurry of direct messages from a Twitter handle called @DellCares. After a couple of minutes of private exchanges, a new hard drive was being overnight couriered with a promise it would be installed by midday the following day.

Props to the issues managers @DellCares. Their handling of my Tweet was textbook quality resolution.

But if my initial order and subsequent technical issue had been better handled along the way, there wouldn’t have been a social issue (or public hit to the Dell brand) to resolve.

If anything, the company’s apparent willingness to move heaven and earth the moment a customer complains on a social platform may be counterproductive. It may in fact encourage public brand bloodletting. (I certainly wouldn’t have wasted more than two billable hours of my workday on the phone had I known that I could get action with a well-worded, 140-character complaint.)

Now contrast that example with another company’s approach.

ReTrak makes portable tech accessories; I recently bought one of their selfie-sticks to make it easier to shoot videos. When I got it home and unpackaged, however, I found it was defective. I sent an email to an email address that I found in the instructions asking what could be done (selfishly to avoid a return trip to a big box store on a Saturday). Within a couple of hours, I received an email that apologized for my inconvenience, and an offer to ship me a replacement, no questions asked.

Okay, granted, we’re talking about a 25-dollar stick, not a 2500-dollar machine. But the approaches could not have been more different.

Quick, seamless and courteous resolution in private vs. a maddening, inefficient, and ineffective customer Hell-loop.

One of the Dell people I spoke to suggested at one point that his company treated technical support as separate and apart from customer service. They’re different departments, he told me. I reminded him that to customers every interaction with a company ought to be considered customer service.

In my case was a brand hit avoidable? Absolutely. Who knows how many others have had similar experiences to mine? Does Dell capture that data and/or measure brand impacts?

Clearly, Dell has chosen to devote resources to rapidly address complaints on social. The company can, and ultimately did, offer good service. Arguably, though, it was too little, too late.

It may be more cost-effective in the short term for Dell to organize itself as it has, but I am left wondering how brand effective that approach is long term. (Several people I’ve told this story to have wondered why I didn’t just go with an Apple laptop. I certainly wondered that myself at certain points.)

And that’s the bigger point: what is the price of undermining one’s brand by failing to keep the customer experience in mind at every step of a company’s process and during every interaction? That may sound easier said than done, and it is. Yet plenty of organizations manage to get it right. (We all have stories of our own, no?)

I will assuredly buy another ReTrak product given their swift, effective action. But I will seriously consider purchasing another brand of laptop next time.

These two experiences have certainly made me think about my own customer experience practices, and how I will organize Winston Wilmont to assess, meet, and surpass my customers’ needs. I will strive to make every customer experience a positive one, and to add real value at every interaction. That’s why clients opt for boutique consultancies, after all. (Early feedback has been positive on both fronts, thankfully.)

The intersection of brand and customer experience is fascinating to me. I genuinely believe that getting ‘CX’ right every time will ensure long-term success, and reduce brand promotion and protection costs long term, regardless of your organization’s size or sector. So…

How is your organization doing in serving your clients? Do you have a brand promise? If not, why not? If so, what are you doing to live it daily?

Feel free to get in touch to discuss further.

What’s in a name? A lot.

Brand is everything for a business.

It’s not only a business’s most fundamental asset – something to be protected at all costs. It is also expressed in, shaped by, and subject to every single interaction a business has with its customers.

Brand is a holistic thing. It’s how people feel about your products and services. And that’s why it’s so hard to get right. You can only control so much of it…the rest is up to the people who you hope will keep you afloat.

We will be sharing some thoughts about branding in the coming days and weeks.

But, to us, a great brand story starts with the name.

Here’s the story behind ours: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6531188470604402688

The intersection of marketing communications, public relations, government relations, and more…and getting to success, however it’s defined.