As a preface, check-out our Day 1 blog - it helps with the context. Anyway, we’ve just wrapped up Day 2 in NYC at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show. It was a special day starting with a keynote from the serial entrepreneur, Richard Branson. Branson did not disappoint, he was cheeky and smart – leaving the audience feeling like they’d just had an intimate conversation with him. The day finished with another keynote from hospitality royalty, Danny Meyer. Meyer is probably best known for starting Shake Shack, but also owns the Michelin star rated – Grammy Tavern and The Modern amongst other restaurants. Meyer espoused the importance of hospitality over product, as the only way to not become a commodity. So like we did yesterday, here are our top 3 learnings from Day 2:
- Conscious Capitalism is the New Capitalism: As a B-Corp (read about it here) we are big proponents of conscious capitalism. This is the philosophy that basically says the old model of just pleasing your investors with returns…at the expense of all others (employees, customers) is broken. Conscious capitalism is about using business as a force for good. Something that Richard Branson spoke about a lot: ‘It used to be that people worked for companies and the only thing that mattered were the shareholders and bottom line. Now we want greater purpose in life..if we could get every business in the world to adopt a problem it would solve big things for the world…If we don’t do things like this and we leave it to governments and the social sector it won’t get much better’. Could not have said it better!
- Creative Direction Kills Commoditisation: Another great learning – we live in times where product is increasingly easier and cheaper to buy online – we live in a time of commoditisation. You can overcome this through strong and edited creative direction – or said another way not being everything to everyone. This was a point made by Danny Meyer. He reiterated that you have to know where you belong in your customers lives and not be unrealistic. For example, he doesn’t expect people are going to be going to one of his restaurants everyday night. It’s about knowing who you are, and what part of your customers lives your fulfil. To quote Meyer ‘If the thing we sell at our restaurant is available at every other restaurant, we’re a commodity…if you’re just selling stuff you’ll be in a commodity heap…I love stores with a flavour or a thread…It’s painful to be a good editor. We want to make as many people happy as possible but we can’t be everything to everyone’.
- Specialise and Priortise: Sounds logical right, but much harder to put into practice. We sat in a talk from Target US CIO, Mike McNamara (ex. Tesco). He spoke about arriving at the company and having 800 ‘priorities’ in the IT department. His first request to management was to give him ‘less people and less money’. Funny, right. His philosophy is simple, he was trying to create a model that would allow him to prioritise and hold his people responsible for the work. During his presentation he spoke about 3 pillars that helps them transform the online business: 1. Fewer, bigger things – done better; 2. Ruthless prioritisation and 3. Agile ways of working. As a part of this movement to be more flexible he sat down the leadership team and gave them 5 post-its each – on which they had to write their top 5 priories. From this he gathered support for focused bigger initiatives. He was asked the obvious Amazon ‘billion dollar’ question – to which he replied: ‘They play against a different set of financial rules and they have convinced the investor community it’s the right thing to do’. True that.
That’s a wrap on our second day, one more day to go! If you want to keep up to date in real time with NRF check-out our Twitter or follow the #nrf17