This Week in Business & Brands: Mergers in Mobile, Marketing Mindfulness, and More

mindfulness outdoors

Leadership Lessons: Communicate to Curb the Churn

In today’s fast-moving world of business and brands, agility is a must for any organization looking to stay in the game. But too much change means you’re just spinning your wheels. The key to curbing caustic churn? Clarity and communication throughout the company. First, leaders must convey the best strategic message to the entire enterprise: one that’s authentic, has purpose, and inspires. Then, create a line of sight so everyone in the organization understands why change is needed and what it means for them personally. Without that transparency of motives and clarity on the strategy, employees will have no tie to the tactic and mere churn is to be expected. Finally, hold leaders accountable: that means “keeping the heat on them” to make communication a regular, key priority, full of clarity and truth. After all, if employees are not engaged or inspired, it’s not the message that’s at fault – it’s more likely an ineffective messenger.

Mammoth Mergers: Sprinting Ahead of China

It’s said the enemy of your enemy is your friend, which seems to explain the latest potential partnership between Sprint and T-Mobile in an attempt to outpace China in the race to speedy mobility. In the whopping $26 billion all-stock deal, the 3rd and 4th largest U.S. wireless carriers (behind Verizon and AT&T) will have to prove to regulators that the merger will do more good than harm. That shouldn’t be too hard, claims T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who imagines it will “create the highest-capacity U.S. network, lower prices, create jobs and improve service in rural areas.” It also looks like T-Mobile’s brand equity is more valuable than Sprint’s, as its name would grace the new merger with Legere at the helm. Promising to invest $40 billion over the next three years to upgrade networks to 5G technology, the new network will be ready to power self-driving cars and drones alike. As the U.S. currently ranks behind South Korea and China in terms of “5G readiness,” the conglomerate will hopefully help the country climb closer to the top in the contest that could control the mobile world…

Trendy vs. Traditional: Vitamins’ Retail Deficiency

In a consumer climate that’s ever more “mindful” about its “wellness,” the demand for healthy supplements is growing by the day. Unfortunately for GNC, it looks like that demand is being supplied online, which explains the retailer’s decision to close 200 stores this week. As customers spend $13.9 billion on vitamins and supplements this year, this fad of fiddle-fitness is nothing to sneeze at. So why is the native nutritionist brand striving to thrive? Blame it on the Goop: online blogs and affiliates are tapping into the market with strong branding and aspirational imagery, connecting with their (mostly female) consumers in a way that the traditionalists just can’t seem to capture. Seems like it’s all about the sell: proper packaging, soothing settings, and modern minimalism are the right match for these curative customers – not a bombardment of bodybuilding busts. Is there still time for the old guard to turn it around with a facelift? That is, a natural and organic one, of course…

Talking Tactics, Tête-à-Tête: Rebelling with a Cause

Is your organization settling for the status quo? Take a tip or two from Harvard Business School’s Francesca Gino, who urges leaders to encourage dissent for development in the workplace:

  • On commending criticism: “Whether it’s in conversations or in meetings, we often seek out the opinions of people who have something similar to offer. What rebels do is fight that instinct. They find ways to steer some conflict or encourage disagreement.”
  • On honest humility: “[Rebel leaders] don’t hide who they are, or pretend to know, or be something that they are not. You reveal yourself, and, in the process, you’re gaining respect and status in the eyes of others.”
  • On limitations and liberation: “Rebels work through the constraints, and, if anything, they become a source for thinking differently about the problem. The constraints don’t hold you back, but they’re a platform you use to think creatively about the situation.”

Art of Awareness: The Squeeze Stunt

That’s all for this week! We’ll leave you with this look at Philips’s humorous live prank at the Rijksmuseum, showing what’s missing from the big picture of a healthy diet…