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People are busy re-establishing their relationships with brands. Are you ready? Jim Carroll excels at keynotes which put into the perspective for brand repositioning, particularly as brands enter a new era of unpredictable relationships, velocity of change and challenges with message clarity.



For over 20 years, I’ve been working with numerous speakers bureaus around the world. These are the folks who have booked me into numerous associations, Fortune 500 or others events. I have relationships with most of the majors – the same folks who book Presidents, Prime Ministers, sports figures and celebrities into countless events worldwide.

And I’m always happy to say that I a very close and tight working relationship with all of them. They are often the experts in helping organizations to discover the right speaker with the right content for the right purpose – experts in their field.

One of these bureaus is GDA Speakers, a group in Dallas who have been around the industry for over 20 years. Gail Davis established the organization almost by accident. (It’s a really compelling story which you can read here). They’ve booked me into numerous events — and given my inclination for golf, the fact that they booked me into the PGA of America and into an event at St. Andrews, Scotland, they are pretty dear to my heart!

GDA recently launched a series of podcasts with many of the people they represent, and I was thrilled to be part of their launch week. They are covering a regular stream of topics and issues, and there is some pretty compelling stuff. It’s available online at their site, gdapodcast.com (and Twitter, @gdapodcast). Visit and have a look at some of the interviews so far, and they are only into week 2!

You can listen to my podcast here, and read the full transcript on that page.

What’s really cool about this project is that its a combined initiative of Gail and her son Kyle. He’s worked in the tech space, including a stint at Square in San Francisco, but is now working with his mom to bring great content to the world in new and innovative ways.

I don’t know about you, but I always think its cool when a mom and son are working together, particularly on digital projects!

Here are two extracts. Listen to the podcast, subscribe to the series via iTunes, and open up your mind to opportunities!

  Well, the easiest example is probably what could potentially, and what is already happening with energy. The idea is that you’ve got some backyard energy. You’re generating solar, wind, whatever type of energy. I’ve got my energy, solar, wind, and just as we’ve shared music in the early days of Napster, we’re going to share energy. We’ll create our own little… We’ll call it a microgrid, little community energy grid in which we’re sharing the energy we generate. Well, we tap into that and we link into that backyard weather sensors, local weather sensors, and we’re feeding in weather information from other sources, which helps us to understand when we can best generate solar, or wind, or other energy. Not only do we have these individual intelligent devices in our homes, but they’re starting to network to each other. They’re starting to talk to each other, so they become their own little intelligent system that can better predict when should we be generating energy and take ourselves off the main grid so that we’re becoming most efficient in terms of what we do.

    The second example, vehicle to vehicle communications. Everybody’s talking about self-driving cars. Obviously there’s a lot happening there, but there’s a lot of other stuff that is underway as well. The concept is, my car is going down the highway and it’s not only self-driving, but it’s got the capability to talk to intelligent sensors that are embedded in the roadway, so the intelligent highway infrastructure begins to emerge. Not only that, my car can talk to your car, can talk to other cars with telemetry, radar, and other technologies so that we’re all acting sort of together as one. We’re not just becoming single vehicles going down the highway, but we’re vehicles that are traveling together. We’re aware of where every other vehicle is. We’re aware of conditions on the road, not only within the next 100 feet, but within the next two miles. That’s a very good example of an intelligent connected system, and that’s the obvious next step of what’s going to happen with the internet of things. There’s just tremendous technological advances like this that are underway.

Video: The Future of Packaging
August 31st, 2016

Another clip from my keynote in Prague – this time around trends involving the future of packaging.

Smart packaging. Intelligent packaging. The packaging is the brand. The Apple-ization of packaging!

There’s tremendous opportunities unfolding in this space — packaging is no longer an inert container that simply holds the product — it’s becoming an integral part of what the the product is!

What’s coming fast? Packaging that talks to you. Pharma packaging that does “electronic event monitoring” for patient adherence. Food packaging that automatically uploads calorie, carb, sodium and other data to a customer’s smartphone. Packaging with a unique code — you can send a text to very the product is not counterfeit. Packaging that links to your phone and builds a relationship with you. Packaging that lights up when you pick it up!

And even packaging with mini-LCD TV’s built in!

I’ve been speaking to packaging companies since 2003 !

AskTheExpert

“I keep discovering things that I think world-class inno- vators do, such as focus on their speed and ability to change. They focus on understanding how their customers are chang- ing or changing their business model before they change it themselves”

Here’s a quick little article in which I’m asked a variety of questions around innovation. Get the PDF.

A few key observations that I make:

  • “I think people shouldn’t make the word [innovation] mysterious. They need to understand that it’s not just about the invention of new products or new services. It goes back to that fundamental issue of ‘how do I run my business better, grow my business and transform my business.’ I think if people get caught up on innovation as new product development, they miss a huge opportunity in terms of what they can do.”
  • “One of my catchphrases, which I picked up from a big financial client, is: “Think big, start small, scale fast.” That can work for big organizations, but it can also work for a small company.

“Think big”—you’re small and obviously want to grow. You’ve got to have really big ideas and big goals in terms of what you might hope to accomplish, in terms of trying new ideas and exploring new things and doing things you haven’t done before.

“Start small”—play with a lot of new technologies, try a lot of new ideas, take risks. Do some projects in which you might succeed at some things and you might fail, but at least do things. So you start small, you try out a whole bunch of small things. This builds up your experience, and the more experience you have, the better position you’re in for success in the future.

“Scale fast”—learn how to scale it. How do you ensure you can keep doing these things as you grow?

 

 

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“Innovation is about much more than just new products. What is innovation? It is running your business better, growing your business and transforming your business.”

I just found this article, which ran on the ERA blog after my keynote on the future of real estate, for their 2013 conference. It’s a good read!

——

5 Things World Class Innovators Do that Others Do Not,
by Tara Reid, from Owning the Fence, ERA Real Estate Blog

Consider this: 65 percent of current preschoolers, kindergartners and first graders will work in a career that does not yet exist. And, if you are working on a degree based on science right now, it is estimated that half of what you learn in your first year will be obsolete by the time you graduate.

That is how fast things are changing in this world and according to Innovation and Trends Expert Jim Carroll; the future belongs to those who are fast. In fact perhaps media mogul Rupert Murdoch puts it best: “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.”

During the ERA 2013 International Business Conference Think Tank, Carroll explained that to keep up, you have to get ahead the way that today’s best thinkers and changers do. Here are 5 things world class innovators do that set them apart from the rest.

  1. Think big and bold. You can view a future trend as a threat or an opportunity. Take it as an opportunity, embrace it as change for the better and prepare to make the trend work for you by thinking beyond the now. How can you make the trend bigger and better? And, how can you help others navigate change? For example, in real estate, keep in mind, according to Carroll, people want a qualified advisor to help them get through the biggest investment of their lifetime. Figure out how to exceed their expectations and you have carved out your niche.
  2. Check your speed. You have to move quickly to stay in the game. World class innovators constantly up their speed while checking their quality. For example, it took Apple two years to sell two million iPhones; it took them two months to sell two million iPads. It then took them one month to sell one million iPhone 4’s but only one day to sell one million of the upgraded iPhone 4S model. They get faster while they get better.
  3. Reframe the concept of change. Innovation is about much more than just new products. What is innovation? It is running your business better, growing your business and transforming your business. If you want to be innovative think about how you can use technology to address those three actions.
  4. Ride generational acceleration. According to Carroll, the next generation thrives on moving things forward. Follow their lead and adapt to new ways of thinking and acting. Half of today’s global population is under the age of 25. Your role is to understand their ideas so that you can manage their capabilities.
  5. Challenge organizational sclerosis. Ever hear or say the words, “It won’t work,” or “I don’t think I can,” or “It’s too risky?” Such phrases are symptoms of organizational sclerosis, the fear of change. It is important to think big, be fast and transform how you do business so that you do not end up in an innovation rut. When change gets scary, keep this in mind: “Some people see a trend and see a threat. Innovators see the same trend, and see an opportunity.”

With these five actions in mind, turn your next “oh no!” moment into an “a ha!” moment. Take that threat and turn it into an opportunity to grow. The world is not going to stop changing and trends will pop up even more quickly so grab on, hold on tight, and go for it!

Earlier this year, I was featured in the UK’s Retail NewsAgent 125th anniversary publication, with a variety of comments on trends that will impact the retail space, such as this quick quote which commented on the integration of Siri, automobiles and the shopping experience.

CarCreditCard

I just came across this additional quote in one of the articles, about the future of in-store interaction and payment.

The pace of change in the world of retail right now is simply staggering!

Two things will be consistently present in nearly every type of retail business, according to Jim Carroll – mobile phones that influence our purchasing decisions and LCD TVs – and there is going to be a distinct link between the two.

“I played out a scenario for the leadership team of Gap in which I had ‘liked’ them on Facebook so had a relationship with them,” he says. “I walk into one of their stores and it will recognise me and run a customised commercial on an in-store TV saying ‘welcome back Jim. We’re giving you a $20-off coupon today and in aisle seven there is something you might like.’”

Mr Carroll believes that the technology currently used by Oakley in snowboarders’ sunglasses – which gives wearers access to Facebook, hill conditions and statistics from their run – will also influence retail in the near future.

“Apple is cutting deals with all the car manufacturers to get Siri in them. By 2017 we will be driving along and you will ask Siri in the augmented reality dashboard which store has X product. She will put five stores on the map and you will pick one, which the car’s autonomous driving technology will take you to. What’s more, you will have payment technology embedded in your car so that will be your credit card too.”

It might sound like a goofy scenario, but it isn’t really. Right now, we’re seeing major cell companies working to cut deals with automotive companies to get SIM-cards into automobiles — partly to support in-vehicle WiFi, but also to support the potential for future payment transactions. And while we see a well publicized failure with augmented reality with the pullback of Google Glass technology, there’s no doubt that there are rapid advances occurring with augmented reality technology.

The other big part of this trend is known as ‘shopper marketing’, an intersection of mobile, location intelligence and social networking technology — the idea being that there are methods of providing for in-store promotional opportunities.

You can read the full version of the Retail Newsagent 125th anniversary article with a variety of observations from various futurists on the future of retail here.

Some months back, the folks at Retail NewsAgent in the UK sent me a series of questions asking about the future of retail. They were busy preparing for their 125th anniversary issue, and were interviewing a number of fellow futurists for insight into the trends that might shape and impact the sector in the future.

RN_125-SmartphoneThey’ve run a pretty lengthy article which I’ll post later this week, but here’s a short little article that they also ran in which two of us talk about the impact of the smartphone on the overall shopping experience.

The entire PDF is available on the right, but here are two quick extracts:

Canadian futurologist Jim Carroll, adds that the relationship between consumers and their smartphones introduces new shopper marketing opportunities too.

“I did a session with the leadership team at Gap. I played out a scenario where I had a Facebook relationship with Gap and ‘liked’ them. I walk into one of their stores and they recognise me and run a customised commercial on an in-store TV, saying ‘Welcome back Jim. We’re giving you a $20-off coupon today and in aisle seven there is something you might like’.

“Every 15-year-old is already giving away all their private life and they are not going to care about privacy when they get 20% off by linking their mobile to a screen in store.”

Mobile innovation is also changing payment technology at rapid pace.

“Control of the speed of innovation in every industry is shifting to Silicon Valley and the likes of Apple and Amazon are innovating a lot quicker than traditional retail companies,” says Jim Carroll. “As soon as Apple puts a chip in the iPhone that supports credit card transactions the industry will change at lightning speed.”

Over the years, I’ve done a tremendous number of presentations into the retail sector — check here for a glimpse! On the page, I use one of my favourite observations about the world of retail in a world of fast paced change: “The average consumer scans some 12 feet of shelf space per second. Mobile interactions in the retail space are about to become common. You’ve got but multi-seconds to grab their attention.

Obviously, if everyone is carrying around a smartphone, then that becomes a primary window in which to try to grab their attention!

 

I’m covered in the January / February issue of an Australian publication, Think and Grow Rich. It’s oriented toward franchise operations. Enjoy!

 The Power of One
from Think and Growth Rich
January/February 2014

TGR14_CurrentIssue

Notes Jim Carroll: ” look around and I just see a countless number of methods by which a franchisee can run the business better, grow and transform their business. And that’s what innovation is all about!”

Despite a small slump in figures during the Global Financial Crisis, franchising has come out of the mire relatively unscathed and in fact the numbers for franchisors and their franchisees are looking very healthy. TGR looks at what the franchise sector can expect as we embed ourselves in the 21st century.

Many top companies, from Disney to Visa, have hired futurist Jim Carroll to speak about his views on the future. So it is interesting to hear his views about franchising. He told Multi-unit Franchisee, “There’s nothing to fear really, if you view future trends as being full of opportunities rather than as a threat. I find that many of my clients think about future trends and think, ‘Oh, this can’t be good, it’s going to be pretty difficult to deal with.’ The first step with getting into an innovative frame of mind is to think of every trend as an opportunity, not a threat.

“So let’s think about a few of them. Consider social networks; there are huge impacts on how consumers perceive, interact and provide feedback on brands. Obviously, if you don’t pay attention to the trend, it can turn into a big negative for you. But if you get involved, engage the new consumer, and continually experiment with new ways of taking advantage of this new form of interaction, then you are doing the right thing.”

Carroll went on to say that to be successful you must keep up-to-date with current trends.

“There are just so many opportunities to grow the business. We’ve got all kinds of new location-intelligence oriented opportunities – people walking around with mobile devices that have GPS capabilities built in. Think about instant couponing apps that might encourage customers to drop in and purchase something. There are new methods of getting the brand image out there; we’ve seen so many franchise groups with successful viral videos. For restaurant franchisees, there’s the rapid emergence of the new health-conscious consumer and opportunities to reshape the menu to take advantage of that. I look around and I just see a countless number of methods by which a franchisee can run the business better, grow and transform their business. And that’s what innovation is all about!”

In Australia, the outlook is just as optimistic and there are many entrepreneurial franchisors taking this kind of innovative approach that would make Carroll proud. For instance, the Franchise Food Company led by Stan Gordon launched its Gives Back campaign in August 2013. The initiative hopes to help a number of local community groups and initiatives by donating a total of $10,000 to a variety of causes over the next 12 months.

Gordon says the program will provide much-needed support to charities and community initiatives, to help many Australians who have been met with adverse circumstances or might be doing it tough.

“Cold Rock is all about giving people a reason to smile. The campaign is for anyone and everyone who’s working hard to make a difference in their community; whether you’re supporting a local sporting team, raising money for serious illnesses or fighting to save a historic landmark, we want to hear from you so we can help you along the way.”

The unique and inclusive initiative, housed on the Official Cold Rock Ice Creamery Facebook page, offers charities and community groups four opportunities to receive a one-off donation of up to $2,500.

Community groups and individuals are asked to submit an application detailing why they need a helping hand via the Gives Back Facebook Application.

Running over the coming 12 months, Cold Rock hopes to assist a variety of organisations with meaningful donations and build on the strong history of giving that Stan Gordon and Cold Rock has developed through years of community involvement.

It’s a unique use of social media and a great marketing tool, as well as a community initiative.

Meanwhile, the FFC continues to acquire strong franchise brands. The company’s latest acquisition is the iconic Trampoline brand, which fits nicely into the treats niche along with Mr Whippy, Cold Rock, Nut Shack and Pretzel World. FFC is unique, but like any franchise business, systems are crucial and will remain so, no matter how many years we move forward.

Pacific Retail Management is one of the largest franchise companies in Australia, with ownership of Go Sushi, Wasabi Warriors and Kick Juice Bars.

Part of its success is its systems management. Julia Boyd is the project and marketing coordinator. She says, “Pacific Retail has implemented strong operational systems to assist their franchise partners at every stage of training. Travelling operational team members continue to visit all national stores throughout the year and stay for up to a week or more to assist the business. They help to improve sales and are heavily involved with the franchise partners and any issues they may have.

“Support can also come from fellow franchisees in the group who are experiencing the same things and working towards the same goals. When franchisees work together towards a common goal, you can achieve great success and a cohesive team.

“Being part of a franchise network also means assistance and guidance from industry experts with the set-up of the business. This can include help with site selection and brokering of the lease with the landlord; financing through franchisors relationship with lenders and major banks; expedited process from initiation of agreement to store opening; and ultimately the sale of the store including finding a buyer.”

Of course franchising won’t be for everyone. With the advent of social media and vast new ways to reach clientele, the model will become easier to manage and far more sustainable. However there remains a lack of independence.

“Some prospective business owners are put off franchise networks and prefer to remain independent to avoid such established systems with little room for individual creativity, having to adhere to the operating systems in place and the initial payouts including franchise fees and training and marketing launch costs,” Boyd says…


Excerpted from an article originally published in the February/March 2014 issue of Think & Grow Rich Inc. magazine. You can access the Web

 

Late last year, KOA (Kampgrounds of America) brought me in to keynote the annual franchisee conference in Orlando, Florida.

There’s a lot of change in the world of camping, and KOA is in the midst of a re -branding exercise. They liked me because I promised, as part of my preparation, to do a lot of original research on a wide variety of trends impacting the ‘outdoor hospitality’ industry. And I did!

Here’s a little gem on why there’s a decrease in the amount of camping that you people do. Kind of fun to watch!

Was it a good talk?

The feedback has just come in, and the clients comments are just absolutely thrilling:

Jim Carroll’s session with our franchisees was extremely timely and exactly what we were looking for.  Based on where we are in our system and the changes and innovations we are implementing, we could not have selected a better speaker.   One of the things that made Jim’s message so powerful for our franchisees was the amazing detail and customization Jim included in his session.  We’ve gotten a great reaction from our franchisees and I’d highly recommend Jim to any franchisee system looking for a message of change and innovation delivered with a lot of great energy and humor.  He was great!” Mike Booth, Assistant VP, Franchising, KOA Franchise Services

and

Jim Carroll was fantastic!  He was funny, well organized, and communicative.  The effort and detail he put into finding out about our industry and our franchise system made it possible for him to connect immediately with our franchisees.  He was by far the easiest speaker we have ever worked with and anticipated our needs every step of the way.  I’d recommend Jim to anyone looking for a futurist who delivers an outstanding presentation – in both relevant content and a dynamic and fun delivery style.  We loved him!” Jenny McCullough, Director of Training and Events,KOA Franchise Services

I think the thing which really makes me stand out in the market is the effort, research and customization I put into my keynotes. You can read about this: I wrote a blog post some time back, “What Goes Into Building a Great Keynote?

Convenience Store Decisions gave me a call, and wanted to speak about some of the trends impacting the industry.

The intervivew was a piece of cake — I do a lot of keynotes in the retail space. And just last year, a leader in “forecourt marketing” (which is industry speak for c-store marketing…), featured me as the keynote speaker at their Digital Forecourt Marketing Summit

 “It won’t be too long before I am able to fill up my car while my iPhone is communicating with the c-store,” he said. “By the time I walk into the store an LCD TV panel up on the wall is going to recognize me and greet me with a customized commercial.”

Here’s the extract of my observations from the article. (Small error in the article though – I’m not based in Dallas, but Toronto!)

Shift in Consumer Demands
Dallas-based futurist Jim Carroll sees healthier foods becoming a more fundamental offering at more convenience store down the road. “You wouldn’t think it, but there is a very seismic change going on in terms of what the stores are selling,” he said. “I think they’re realizing that what people are consuming—fried foods and fatty snacks—is changing. People are much more conscious of their food consumption.”

This is a trend that Carroll has been hearing about personally—directly from c-store operators. “Wellness—focusing on nutrition and an active lifestyle—is certainly a trend,” he said. “You think about the number of convenience stores that have undertaken a shift to fresh food. The focus is not on Doritos and Twinkies. Sure, some operators do focus on these items, but your industry leaders and top quartile chains are embracing change.”

Retailers, Carroll said, are trying to get away from the traditional popping chips paradigm. “If you play into the sort of ‘life to go’ issue and recognize that people want to get in and get a healthy meal quickly, why not have those items at the ready in convenience and gas stations? Even 7-Elevens now are selling sushi.”

Promotions, too, will gain impact, Carroll predicted. “It won’t be too long before I am able to fill up my car while my iPhone is communicating with the c-store,” he said. “By the time I walk into the store an LCD TV panel up on the wall is going to recognize me and greet me with a customized commercial.”

Once the store recognizes a particular customer there are endless possibilities to upsell merchandise via text messages and electronic coupons. The constant in the equation is change.

“I see c-stores undergoing relentless change in terms of what they do,” said Carroll, “because I think consumers change so quickly. That’s a major part of what’s going on—a very fast format shift. There is a South African chain that is converting its entire c-store strategy over to fresh food—a complete format shift, because even over there they are seeing that same kind of demand for fresh food served fast.”

Pex2013

Read my Foreword for this report on the new era of customer interaction

Next week in Orlando, I’m set to be the opening speaker for the 14th Annual Process Excellence Week 2013 in Orlando – with folks from most global Fortune 1,000 organizations in the room.

The focus – aligning fast paced change to a customer centric world, and the need to align business process to market, customer, technology, business model change.

There’s a lot to cover
and a lot to talk about — and I’ve got 45 minutes to get these folks fired up about the fascinating opportunities unfolding in their future as we devolve to a world in which the future belongs to those who are fast!

The folks at PEX have just released their seminal 2013 white paper, “Transforming customer feedback into opportunity.”

And they were kind enough to ask me to consider writing a Foreword for the report — to which I responded with an unequivocal yes. I pride myself as a speaker on the obvious need to go above and beyond client expectations — it’s not just about the keynote, it’s about an opportunity for transformation of a profession! And turning customer feedback into opportunity!

You can read my Foreword from the report by hitting the image.

You can also request a full copy of the report here — you will need to register.

Three of my favorite comments from my Foreword:

Fix things fast
When things go wrong with a customer relationship fix them fast. Have a communications plan.Be prepared to reassure the customer quickly. In this new era of hyper-information feedback, don’t let the customer sit and stew for a moment — proactive information and proactive action is the only weapon you have, and you have to use it.

Admit that mistakes will happen

It’s ok. It’s the 21st century. Bad things go wrong all the time. Accept that, and use that as a go- forward strategy.

“Things will go wrong and we will work to fix them fast” is a better strategy than “we plan on rolling it out and holding our breath that things don’t get messed up.”

Empower people with niceness

Customer-centricity and the instant-age demands that the customer be made happy — quickly.

Give staff who have not previously had the authority, the authority to do things to the customer that are nice. That will help to ease the early part of the “pain process.”

Every company in every industry is in a situation in which the customer is more empowered than ever before. Accept that — work with it — learn from it — and use it as the base for innovation!

 

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