Adapting to Change Can Be a Slippery Slope

When you ski the conditions are often fleeting. It may start off sunny and end up snowy; the snow conditions can be powder at the top and slush at the bottom; the light goes from bright to flat, and the wind can pick up at any time. I recently went skiing in Utah with a group of 11 skiers ranging in age from 14 to 77.  Here is what I observed, and how each lesson can impact your performance in the workplace.

Fear can create doubt in an instant.
When visibility changed and it became difficult to see the slope, the youngest and oldest skiers became a bit paralyzed. They seemingly lost their ability to ski and needed to have their confidence rebuilt. Others followed more experienced skiers and were visually guided down the mountain and eased off the cloudy, windy ridge with no fear at all. The key is to adapt to conditions and find a focus to guide you through turbulence.

Internal voices have a strong influence.
We discussed the idea that everyone in the group knew they could get down anything. We might not ski it well but you know you can get off the mountain. One day, a few consecutive falls created a momentary lapse of confidence for one of my family members. After a break inside for lunch they regrouped, but that lack of confidence had an impact on their ability to perform. The key is to control the voice in your head. Shifting from a negative to positive outlook directly impacts outcome.

The equipment is rarely to blame.
We often look for who or what to blame when things don’t go well; in skiing it easy to focus on the boots or the skis. I found myself longing for a brand of skis that I had rented last year—the Nordica Belle to Belle. The day I got them I felt stronger and more in control. Did those around me believe that I skied better than the day before? No, but for me they were game changers.  The key is to be aware of our crutches, and use them to help us adapt and excel.

You can enhance confidence in others.
In this example, the group was able to influence the outcome of an individual. By positively reinforcing members who suffered from self-doubt, we were able to shift their confidence and, in turn, their ability to ski. Are you watching the group and individual dynamics during times of change? The key is, as a leader, to get those paralyzed by a big moment back on track… or you risk letting their fear steer them off trail.

Shifting resources can improve outcomes.
One day we hit the slopes early and the snow was very wet. Many people’s jackets and gloves were not fully waterproofed. As some of us had to leave early that day, we accessed the situation. I took off my dry shirt and traded with my sister before heading down. Another took my dry-liner gloves and, if we had thought of it, we should have given someone my daughter’s jacket. Our ability to generously shift the dry clothes to those staying allowed them to have a more productive, enjoyable afternoon when the sky cleared. The key here is to ask, “Do we reassess the situation and change course enough?”

These lessons may sound simple, but times of rapid change, when fear of the unknown seems to loom around every corner, can be paralyzing, make us doubt ourselves and steal our confidence. We can help each other adapt, change course and reassess situations as a group more quickly. However, often we try to plow through with the doubt in our head (or in our equipment) thus reducing the chances of optimizing the situation and creating the strongest outcome. I will take my lessons from the mountain back to the office, and I hope they might inspire you to adapt as well. Happy skiing and happy leading!

Women’s Leadership Network NY Hosts Q&A with Danielle Gray

For the Sapient
NY Office, the highlight of International Women’s Day week was our Q&A
session with Danielle Gray, former Senior Advisor to President Obama, moderated
by John Casey, Head of PR & Media Relations for SapientRazorfish.  

She made her
way to the front of the audience with little notice. For someone who has made
such a great impact on recent American history, Danielle Gray came across as down-to-earth
and relatable. After describing her “normal Long Island kid upbringing” going
to public schools and bar mitzvahs, and her early aspirations of being a
cartoonist, she recounted key moments from the years since. Taking us from how
she got to the White House, she brought us to the work she’s doing today as a
Partner with the world’s largest law firm.

Ms. Gray spent two
years campaigning for Obama’s presidency and then five exciting years in the
White House serving in his administration in senior
legal and policy positions, most recently as Assistant to the President and White
House Cabinet Secretary. In just those few years, she was instrumental in the
judicial selection and confirmation of both Supreme Court Justices Sonia
Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. In describing the appointment of a Supreme
Court justice as “law nerd heaven,” and like playing “fantasy Supreme Court,”
she had the audience giggling. Then on an earnest note, she told us
“Justice Kagan was a professor [at Harvard Law School] and mentor. [Confirming her]
was a unique honor of mine.”

responsible for helping pass the Affordable Care Act, she calls this
legislation as a high point of her time working with President Obama. “This
mattered. People’s lives would be better for it.” But before it passed, she
confessed to another unforgettable moment. Invited to a very last-second
meeting about the plan, she ran to the Oval Office in track pants and a
cashmere sweater—with a hole in it. Worse than being razzed by Obama, a staff
photographer snapped a shot of the working session that would hang prominently on
the White House wall, among other public places. Mortified, she recalled “the
photo was all over the place. Friends were sending it to me!”

leaving the White House in 2014, she became a partner at O’Melveny & Meyers
in New York, addressing issues at the intersection of public policy and
government. With a true passion for public service, she spends a good amount of
time today doing pro-bono work for the NAACP defense fund and helping to
safeguard voting rights and immigration rights, most recently fighting the
travel ban.

asked by a young woman in the audience about how we as average Americans can
make a difference, Ms. Grey spoke about the importance of protests like the Women’s
March and she encouraged the audience to keep it up and stay active, from supporting
our local leaders to making phone calls to Congress. “They really do matter.”

So how
did Danielle Gray become the incredible woman she is today? As women who inspired
her, she cited her mom, Justice Elena Kagan and of course, everyone’s hero,
Oprah. See, she’s just like us.

Leadership Network seeks to empower SapientRazorfish women through inspiration,
advocacy and guidance to help them achieve their greatest potential.

Making the Most of Company Culture

The purpose of your company culture is not entirely about having happy employees; it’s also about strategy, and happy employees is often a positive by-product.  Company culture should be focused on getting the most revenue, not on making sure all the employees love their jobs. Again, happy employees often helps to optimize revenues, but the culture should not be focused on creating happy workers, but instead on building revenue quickly and steadily. So as a leader or entrepreneur, think about making sure employees are productive first.

Productivity Isn’t Just the Culture

Building a company that maximizes productivity means that many aspects should be considered. In dealing with employees, some of those would include compensation, career path, perks of the job, and the company culture. The strategy you put in place in dealing with the people in your organization is equally as important as the strategy you put in place for the service or product you provide.

Strategy for both people and products needs to be well planned and not only should it focus on all that can and should be done, but also on what should not be done, as well as what markets not to chase. The most successful strategies are tightly focused on who they want to reach, what they want to offer, and how to best present that. Equally true, it should be just as precise in dealing with staff and leaders within the company.

Things to Consider

Professional firms such as PR agencies, law firms, and doctor’s offices don’t usually have a “fun” or “happy” office culture. Instead if you start work at a PR firm, you will quickly understand that the hours are long and often the work-life balance is skewed heavily to the work side of that equation. However, the same types of working environments also tend to promote faster or workers shift from one company to another more frequently to climb the ladder. Also, at some firms where creativity or technology are core to what the company does, employees may work long hours, but other perks are there – allowing employees to bring their pets to the office, work from home frequently, and “play” rooms in so that when workers need to take a break, they don’t have to travel far, and can get back to work faster.

For customer service-based companies, employees are often under a great deal of stress and there is no ability to just shut down and let off steam during the work day. As a company, the employees they  want are ones who are driven to perform at their highest levels and enjoy working under pressure.

Tech companies that are innovative in what they do and the products they create, tend to function better when employees have many chances to “play.” Setting up workstations that allow employees to walk on a treadmill, or scooters and skateboards to use as they move around an open and large work space may be great ideas. Lots of bright colors and “thinking” toys everywhere, as well as open work stations allowing for free flow of conversation and exchange of ideas also may be integrated into the company culture to improve productivity.

Be Aware of Changes

Culture should be established to promote productivity and sometimes the nature of an industry or individual organization may change who they serve and what they offer. In those cases, the culture should be reviewed to make necessary changes to support the new goals for productivity.

How has company culture been strategized for your organization?

[INFOGRAPHIC] Writing For Financial Services Clients: 3 Essential Tips For Success

Money is a loaded issue.

That’s the first thing Senior Copywriter Burr Johnson noted in his 2016 blog post “3 Things To Keep In Mind When Writing A Financial Campaign“.

The piece went on to become one of the year’s most popular post, and for good reason — Burr offered up three solid, actionable tips for copywriters who are catering to financial services clients.

Recently, Studio Manager Susan Sargent transformed Burr’s advice into a handy infographic that you can print out and keep at your desk. Check it out below! If you have anything to add, let us know on Twitter.

3 Things To Keep In Mind When Writing A Financial Campaign

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Wilde Agency is an award-winning integrated marketing agency that specializes in understanding and utilizing the science of human behavior to drive superior results for our clients.

If you’re interested in learning how we can help you improve your ROI, please contact John Sisson, President of Wilde Agency at 781-251-2745 or

The post [INFOGRAPHIC] Writing For Financial Services Clients: 3 Essential Tips For Success appeared first on Wilde Agency.


Marketing budgets in 2017 are usually tight. To maximise profitability, every pound, dollar and euro must be allocated effectively.
At Britannia Communications we focus on five key digital strategies that can be implemented intelligently to get the most out of marketing budgets.
Our day to day digital experience is supported by the latest Smart Insights, Global Marketing Survey which asked digital agencies and marketing directors to: “Select one marketing activity that you think will give your business the biggest incremental uplift in leads and sales in 2017 “.
The survey had 2,352 responses from marketeers around the world.
These are the results for 2017:

We recommend fully utilising goals in Google Analytics, to effectively measure the source and quantity of leads and sales. By comparing sources such as paid campaigns, organic traffic and social media channels, we recommend applying the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule.
Understanding the data, indicates which traffic sources generate the majority of conversions for your budget allocation. Use the Pareto Principle and identify the top 20 percent of your traffic sources that generate 80 percent of best results.  We advise our clients to make this the core focus of their budgets.
Not all marketing solutions allow for full control of how much is spent and who is targeted. Instead of spreading your budget thinly on a large variety of platforms, our preference is to focus on the channels where we are in full control of both targeting and cost. Examples are the online advertising giants, Google, LinkedIn and Facebook.
The more control you have on what you spend your budget on, the more you will be able to trim or adjust what works less efficiently and focus your resources on success.
Any marketing campaign, online or offline, should be always started on a small, test scale with narrow targeting. Once profitable, the campaign can be effectively scaled.
Scaling can mean experimenting with different campaign types on the same platform as well as adding other channels. Remember that each platform requires its own formatting optimisation and not auto posting from a social media aggregator which simultaneously multi-posts on multiple platforms.
The reasoning behind starting small and waiting for the ROI to come in, is two-fold:
Firstly, the profit from the initial campaign supports additional campaigns and/or platforms. Secondly, the market is provably providing in real time, reliable data about exactly what works well. It’s all in the data! You can safely and continuously resource additional marketing efforts on based on immediate and visible success.
You should also consider the importance of having a statistical relevance in results before deciding on whether to scale up your investment. Always support your decision with sufficient data insights. Our experience shows that in B2B marketing, the more specific the niche, the more precise the targeting.
Every pound, dollar and euro and every minute spent on marketing should communicate the same message. This potentially includes accounts that have never been previously used for paid campaigns such as Instagram or, in some cases, Pinterest and Twitter. In business time is money. Therefore, social media accounts and similar branding efforts are never free and should be seen simultaneously to paid marketing solutions, such as print collateral and paid online advertising campaigns.
Integrated and intelligent digital marketing demonstrably results in a much higher ROI.
Remarketing or retargeting means that we target website visitors who did not convert yet on the same platform they were targeted to begin with. For example, potential clients who clicked on an ad in Google but did not convert are targeted again on Google with the same or different ads. Cross-channel remarketing takes it up a notch by retargeting users on a different platform. For instance, potential clients who clicked on an ad in Google but did not convert are now seeing ads on Facebook and Twitter that are tailored to the pages they visited.
Cross-channel remarketing will boost the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns.
Britannia Communications is a strategic UK digital marketing and communications consultancy which intelligently designs and implements digital and social media strategy for leading UK and international organisations.
With a weekly social audience of 2 million+ social media users, Britannia Communicationsis currently ranked #3 of 500 UK agencies for digital influence by Klout, #44 worldwide by Onalytica and #19 by

Let’s play!

I’ve always admired Steven Johnson’s charisma (watch his Ted Talk, you’ll be smitten). So being able to hear the man himself speak for the launch of his new book “Wonderland” was, well, wonderful. And a delightful hour of entertaining tales, from defecating ducks to AI.

Play (as trivial as it may sound) is what’s been shaping the world

The evening began with a glass of wine – fun already! – and a quote from Brian Eno: “Art is everything that you don’t have to do”. Now I love this quote. Not only because it gives an unusual and simple, albeit pretty open, definition of art, but because it shows that necessity isn’t everything. That style over substance may not be such a bad shout after all. And there’s great value to be found in the beautiful, the ludic, the superfluous.

Which was a charming segue into Johnson’s argument, pushing the story even further, that it’s our desire to entertain ourselves and experience beautiful things that’s been responsible for the greatest innovations in human history. That “play” – which he purposely labels in turn as games, delight, music, prettiness, fashion, and more – is the mother of invention.

So off we went on a one-hour journey from Paleolithic age to present-day Silicon Valley where Johnson employed his talents of storyteller to demonstrate, amongst other tales, how women’s wonder for new fabrics inspired the industrial revolution. How the automaton of the Digesting Duck – a scandalous French invention! – was the grandfather of pattern making. And perhaps the most relevant to us now, how music keyboards gave the world the idea of using all ten fingers to control some sort of automated device.

But I found particularly insightful the explanation he gave as to why play is such an engine of progress.

Play is powerful because every time we engage with it, something different can happen

It’s the dopamine that does it! Imagine you’re a caveman hearing notes from a flute made of bone for the first time – a sound that’s new, different, enjoyable and therefore worth fiddling with. Switching on a little alarm in the brain that something interesting is happening and pushing you further down the exploration alley. Surprise and delight are powerful forces indeed, and the “curiosity reward”, says Johnson, what’s been accelerating advances in AI.

So what about the future? “You will find the future wherever people are having the most fun”, suggesting that we look at the latest game crazes such as “Pokémon Go” to see how it might inspire the way people use such technology for less trivial pursuits. But Johnson also reminded us that technology isn’t the be all and end all. And as we have a tendency to talk about innovation in terms of gadgets or software, we should think of it in terms of spaces, nurturing environments where serendipity can happen.

Which made me think on the way home. The world of adland is supposed to be fun, right? And we’re lucky to have to generate ideas for a living. But in the midst of helping sell products and make businesses profitable – which we’re absolutely here to do – are we still having fun? Because if “toys and games are the preludes to serious ideas” (Charles Eames), let’s make sure we, as an industry, create a space of play in which we can engage in our hobbies, experiment and play. Let the magic happen. Wonderful.

By Caroline Baron

Buy the book here

Buy the book here