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Issue Explorer

Organizations have issues, just like people have issues.  Sometimes, and stubbornly, we call them problems. But whether issues or problems or giraffes, we've pulled together some of the most compelling that we have been called upon to provide consulting help.

Same Old Marketing Yielding Worse Results?

Isn't that the definition of insanity?  Well, we think so, because if you are stuck with the same old marketing models, worrying about market share and forecasting and not paying attention to the dramatic changes happening with your customers, then you need some help.

Guiding Star Communications and Consulting believes we've entered the next great age - the age of commodities.  And if you are going to get past this - the most significant challenge to face marketing in our times - then you need to be leveraging all of your assets in a conscious way to gain differentiated space in the minds of your buyers.

You need to understand the pains experienced by your clients and potential clients.  You need to eat, breathe and live for those problems, and look past the "product push".  You need to solve problems with a solution - a harmonious collection of your best assets + your approach and philosophy - to get ahead.

Guiding Star Communications and Consulting offers a novel platform, with an experienced team, a few great tools and an inquiry process that works, to get you fixated on the problems and how you can create memorable positioning and uncontested market space. Then we bring years of expertise to disseminating the right information, linking sales with marketing in one great and connected team.  Insight. Gained. Shared.

Ready for Expert Help from Guiding Star?

Need to Create Brand Ambassadors?

We kind of get the message from the microblogging and viral sharing tools that have become important in the internet space - relationships really matter.  After all, who are you prepared to believe when it comes to buying a solution - the salesperson or a friend who recommends the solution?

We've all encountered remarkable products (which are usually bundled with great service, education, and an easy distribution channel to become a solution) about which we couldn't say enough.  Could we suppress our delight by not sharing?  Not usually.  And while creating that "viral load" - of winning brand advocates - can be done in a variety of ways, the usual hallmark is a solution experience that went way beyond expectations.

Let Guiding Star Communications and Consulting show you how.  Between development of service level standards and a platform for delivering a solution (and not merely a product) and the implementation of consumer advisory panels, we can craft memorable programs that propel your brand into orbit. Insight. Gained. Shared.

Ready for Expert Help from Guiding Star?

Competition has Heated Up?

Marketplaces across all verticals have heated up, driven by enhanced distribution platforms and global access, via internet, to key information about a range of products in any category.  It leaves bite marks that hurt, and constant anxiety about whether we can weather the competitive storms.

Let's face it... we sometimes get stuck in a rut of failing to evolve our own product and its associated elements (service, learning and information, delivery channel).  This happens when we adopt a "batten down the hatches" mentality and fail to consider, first, the needs of our clients and potential clients.  And it happens, in large part, because we fail to create total solutions to real problems that are causing our clients pain.  When we talk product, we're often like the telephone solicitor, and the potential client just wants to eat dinner in peace.  We just can't create loyalty when we are busy focusing inwardly.

Guiding Star Communications and Consulting helps you place competition in perspective.  When you focus on your clients and potential clients, and stop accepting the downward and destructive spiral of commoditization, you can put competitors firmly in their place and largely out of your mind.  We help you learn about your market through consumer advisory panels and research.  Then we're with you to engage your team in the changes that are needed - more ideation, more client orientation, and a creation of problem/need/solution sets that are workable.  Finally, we help you with the loyalty factor so that your clients and potential clients are breathless - because you've wowed them.  Insight. Gained. Shared.

Ready for Expert Help from Guiding Star?

A New Product is Struggling to Make It?

Your team has done its homework - and you are ready to bring a new product to market. Your hopes exceed your worries.  Wait a minute... worries? 

Well sure.  It is natural to be apprehensive about success, especially when your market is already crowded.  Does your offering have the unique features that will make it stand out from the completion?  How committed are members of your team?  Do you really know what problems your offering solves, and how to get prospective clients to feel the deep pain of those problems?  And is the competition right on your tail?

Let Guiding Star Communications and Consulting create clarity in your (small) pool of worries.  Through implementation of unique and memorable enduring consumer advisory panels, market insight research, and the application of our unique platform for developing marketing and social positioning, customer personas and ways to translate this through your organization, you will learn what is needed to expend just the right energy and resources on your launch.  Insight. Gained. Shared.

Ready for Expert Help from Guiding Star?

Need Deeper Insight into the Market?

Operating in an information vacuum is not fun to most of us.  We are a society addicted to our facts and insecure in the face of uncertainty.  And we've often lost our anticipatory skills as well... it's just hard to predict anything when the globe is your soccer pitch.   We run and we duck and we weave and we email - and still, we don't feel we've got a grasp on the market.

There's one really powerful and really simple solution - consumer advisory panels.  Bring together a group of clients and potential clients - people who fit the buyer profile or persona, who have experience in your marketplace.  Engage them in live group discussions and exercises - usually supported by good food.  Make them your enduring brain trust by extending the panel experience with a private web portal that allows them to give you instantaneous advice on the issues of the day.  You'll gain depth of insight and breadth of reach, creating brand ambassadors along the way who are invested in your solution but who can see the forest for the trees.

Guiding Star Communications and Consulting does advisory panels and processes.  Our experience in agenda design, group process and ongoing engagement will stoke a warm glow in your market. Insight. Gained. Shared.

Ready for Expert Help from Guiding Star?

Business Meetings Going in Circles?

There's business meetings and there's BUSINESS meetings. The first - well, you know the sort, people arrive late, one person dominates the discussion, the oddball always throws curveballs to see where it goes, and the fidgeting leads some folks to get out their BlackBerries and twiddle. Good luck getting much accomplished. 

Guiding Star Communications and Consulting provides intelligent pathways and a set of ground rules to keep the really important business meetings focused and true north. Our expert meeting facilitation starts with a comprehensive process of developing an action agenda and discussion guides that formulate where things must go and when.  We bring the best of participation style methods to each meeting we develop so that your participants, regardless of their "natures", are drawn into to the meeting to contribute and add value to either the learning or the discussions.  We use a number of tricks - including audience response technology - to keep the meeting moving and stop the domination and side tracks too often see.  It adds up to fun, focused, friendly and facile.  Insight. Gained. Shared.

Ready for Expert Help from Guiding Star?

Live Group Training Breaking Your Budget?

Send out correspondence - a time and resource consuming process.

Organize flights and accommodation - a time and resource consuming process.

Hold internal meetings to figure out an agenda and "something fun to do" - a time and resource consuming process.

Bring in a consultant/facilitator - a time and resource consuming process.

Move everyone off their jobs for a week - a time and resource consuming process.

It adds up very quickly.  There's little doubt that live group training can be effective. But because of the litany of concerns, it is also an activity easily cut when budgets are tight.  It leads to doing things locally or doing less.  After all, how much impact does training really have, since way too often, the behavior of the employee participants shows no lasting change?

Guiding Star Communications and Consulting can help you enter new orbits with online facilitated group training.  Facilitated web conferences held synchronously (i.e., in real time, where employees connect from home) can dramatically reduce costs and allow employees the convenience of connecting from home or remote office.  Asynchronous web training serves up rapid e-learning on-demand (and on-need!), allowing total convenience for employees while incorporating facilitator/trainer/expert feedback through web forum, live web chat or quiz + feedback.  You may even create rich virtual environments with highly visual interfaces that mimic reality - the convention floor, the cocktail party, etc. - and that incorporate both asynchronous and synchronous components in an amazingly intuitive environment. Online training just makes sense (and cents).  Insight. Gained. Shared.

Ready for Expert Help from Guiding Star?

Training Not Fostering Desired Behaviours?

It is really easy to forget that training is ultimately about behavior change.  Learners need to be given the knowledge, shown techniques, and acquire skill - all of which is about behavior. So when learning doesn't stick - when learners sit for 2 days in a workshop on a critical set of skills to be, then go back to their roles and make only subtle short-term changes (or no changes at all... or worse, detrimental changes) - you have every reason to be irate.

Learning stickiness comes when learners have had opportunity to practice what they've learned, understand the negative balance of the implications of their old behaviours, and shown that what is proposed will work and deliver real benefits to them. But that is just the beginning - because stickiness requires a motivational element and frequent (and sporadic) reinforcement.  Too often, training feels to the learner as though it is delivered "against her/his will" - leaving the learner of the "same opinion" (or worse, "same behavior") still.

Guiding Star Communications and Consulting manages the details to create behavior-altering learning.  We incorporate fun and feeling into our learning, and accommodate the variety of learning needs. Our tools include learning needs assessment, live group and rapid e-learning, online (and live) simulators and processes to evaluate learning outcomes.  Online simulator tools are among the most significant breakthroughs in technology to support deep understanding and practice, and Guiding Star Communications and Consulting can help you build simulators to your specifications and needs. It adds up to sticky learning and changed behavior. Insight. Gained. Shared.

Ready for Expert Help from Guiding Star?

Still Talking Product in a World that Demands More?

Product marketing, quite fortunately, is on its death bed, hastened by a global information web that makes products and services available from countless vendors.  (Heck, even we were daunted about putting up a shingle - it's a commodity world out there.)  In its place comes various strains of a new form of marketing - the best moniker for which is solution marketing. Solution marketing places marketers in the shoes of their clients to understand aspirations, needs, behaviours and motivations, all in an effort to provide input into what a proper offering, or solution, might look like.  And these days, having a well priced quality product is just the price of entry - it doesn't guarantee success.  Offering a solution, however, is more compelling - it takes into account the core offering, the education or information which surrounds the offering and makes it better used and more fully integrated into the lives of users, the range of value that can be added to make the user experience top-notch and the means through which (potential) clients may access the solution (e.g., distribution channels). 

So - begin with the audience in mind.  Guiding Star Communications will shine light into your market, helping you to learn what constitutes a solution, with a customized best practice process.  Then we'll help you share that light and warmth of your solution with your (potential) buyers to win you growth that matters, collaborating with you and our book of talent on innovative custom solutions.  Insight.  Gained.  Shared.

Ready for Expert Help from Guiding Star?

Starfish, shells and other beach remnants are like the issues that we need to explore