Monthly Archives: October 2013

Why successful PPPs are tied to a higher purpose

Confederation Bridge connecting Prince Edward Island to New Brunswick courtesy Confederation Bridge
Courtesy: Confederation Bridge (Canada)

PPPs or P3’s– Public Private Partnerships – are becoming increasingly popular forms of private and public sector cooperation in infrastructure development and shared service offerings. We hear about successful partnerships in areas like ports, road concessions, real estate development and energy generation projects. This is especially true in countries that typically look for investment and expertise in order to free up capital for other programs or when the project involves a strategic resource, capital intense investment and long term cash flows. But little is said about the human element of the PPP and why an overarching sense of purpose – or a shared belief in what the project represents to its users– is characteristic of successful PPPs.

India has privatized several airports in the last 10 years and in August announced a fast track to privatize several more. This is in line with a global trend towards airport privatization in countries such as Australia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand and Peru. In February 2013, the Municipality of Quito inaugurated the new Quito International Airport in Ecuador; a PPP that includes direct participation by the Municipality of Quito, the Government of Canada, and the private sector.

With increased privatization and competition, successful airports – and airport PPPs specifically- have increased their focus on the airport experience and not only on development of commercial airport activities or the provision of a function or service. As we see with Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), branding is becoming a way for airports to distinguish themselves given increased competition in the airport sector.

csia_logo

CSIA is India’s second busiest airport and since 2006, the Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (MIAL), a joint venture between the GVK led consortium and Airports Authority of India, has led the modernization and upgrade of Mumbai’s international airport. The CSIA’s logo is in the shape of a peacock feather (a symbol of pride) and their branding efforts position the airport as a gateway to experiencing India’s dynamic financial and movie-producing capital.

Regardless of whether airports choose to promote characteristics like infrastructure (e.g. Atlanta) or personality (e.g. Perth), branding begins when partners understand the project’s connection to users. And because a brand is the result of consistency of actions across all product and service offerings and, in the case of a PPP, across actions of numerous project partners, it follows that PPP partners need to share a belief in a higher purpose in order to be consistent with what image they are projecting and how they are positioned in the hearts and minds of users. An overarching sense of purpose brings partners to the drawing board and keeps them connected throughout the project lifetime.

Belief in a higher purpose also ensures that project promoters from the private sector are connected to users and not just particular shareholder interests. This holds true with governments that have PPP expertise; Canada, India, Australia and the UK all conduct comprehensive government PPP programs and are more likely to reap the benefits of engagement with their private sector partners and the users of the PPPs. Partners share a sense of purpose and a belief in how the project will contribute to society as well as to specific communities and stakeholders.

In general, when there is an overarching purpose to a PPP there is more space for problem solving; it opens up possibilities for collaboration because project members are focused on the things they believe in rather than the things that they are responsible for. Decisions are made with the larger project purpose at heart; resulting in unexpected connections between departments, functions and organizations operating in industry sectors and markets with a connection to the PPP core business.

Belief is what makes talent and opportunity unite to create something of value for humanity; something that PPPs typically try to do given at least one partner’s public sector mandate. When partners grasp the partnership aspect of a PPP and sketch out and communicate the project’s vision, they not only lead a successful project but also create a successful brand.

Modern organizations understand the emotional connection to doing business and the “why” behind purchase decisions and client loyalty. Nevertheless, PPPs – and proponents of PPP – have yet to take full advantage of the emotional and human connections with their projects. Perhaps it is because of the number of partners involved in a typical PPP that branding does not take place but the dynamic nature of a PPP is precisely the reason why shared belief in a higher purpose and a unified brand is so vital to success. If a PPP has the potential to be managed as a brand, then every tangible and intangible experience associated with the project is part of the brand and can therefore contribute to the project’s equity. And who is not interested in project equity when we talk about investment and partnership?

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Savvy Saturday October 26, 2013

tea tree

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

-Socrates

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Savvy Saturday October 19th, 2013

“I like things to happen. And if they don’t happen, I like to make them happen.”

— Winston Churchill

Words to live by! Hipona Consulting – “Making Ideas Work”

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What do you see in your clouds?

What do you see in your clouds?

Here is my latest article in America Economia magazine. It’s in Spanish and it talks about how clouds are defined by the observer. When clouds – anything that clouds our vision –  appear in our lives it’s an opportunity to “unlearn”. Meaning, redefine what your vision is, take out the nice to haves from the have to haves and focus on the important elements of your project, business, job etc.

Thanks for following my blog and have a great week!

EMC

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Culture or Strategy?

I’m a huge Peter Drucker fan and with my participation in the upcoming global forum in Vienna, I am reading blogs, HBR articles and books about Drucker’s contribution to management, leadership and organizational effectiveness.

This post is about culture and strategy but from a consultant or sales perspective – let me explain.

If you are asked by a client or potential client to help them create a video, campaign or branding strategy to influence a change or action that goes against cultural norms (whether organization or society) – should you do it?

I think that culture will always trump strategy if they are opposed. As Peter Drucker is rumored to have said:

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” …or lunch or over lunch for that matter!

A few months ago, I read an interesting article by Seth Godin and in it, he touches on how a movie to stop people from driving and texting (or using their smartphone) isn’t going to solve the problem because it is competing against several cornerstones of “our culture” (referring to Western culture I assume). Godin states:

•The culture of the car as a haven, a roving office, and a place where you do what you like
•The culture of the Marlboro man, no speed limiters in cars, ‘optional’ speed limits on roads
•The culture of connection and our fear of being left out
•The culture of technology, and our bias to permit it first and ask questions later

And he advises in this same article that “if you get a marketing assignment where you’re out to change even one of these deeply held beliefs, consider finding a new client. All four? There’s no marketing lever long enough to do this work.”

Cultural norms are so strong that even the best marketing strategy might not work. While this may be frustrating it opens up an even bigger opportunity to consider:

A marketing (or business) strategy that goes along with cultural norms of society or of an organization, is almost certain to be amazingly successful.

So, going back to the question I posed at the beggining of this blog: should you take on a marketing assignment that goes against cultural norms? I would suggest rethinking the marketing strategy – not necessarily stepping out of the box but working within it to find a solution that uses culture to the best advantage in promoting or telling a compelling story.

Culture or strategy? Why not both?

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Visual Business Inspiration

parachute

“Starting a business is a lot like jumping out of an airplane and assembling the parachute on the way down.” – Unknown

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The Power of Belief: Developing a Nutrient Rich Snack Brand

Since 2007, I sit on the board of dmff. The following guest post is written by Juan Almeida, founder of dmff. You can follow him on Twitter @jac2769.

It is an inspiring story about entrepreneurship and persistence. This “social enterprise” has developed a nutrient rich snack brand that has the potential to contribute to economic development in the Andean region and to fixing the global malnutrition problem.

ism0905

The Power of Belief: Developing a Nutrient Rich Snack Brand

Our global society faces many problems; one of them – malnutrition – is something that everyone can relate to whether the output is undernourishment or obesity. The World Health Organization predicts that obesity related diseases — diabetes, heart ailments, strokes, kidney failure — are rising fast across the world, and they will be the leading causes of death in all countries, even the poorest, within a couple of years.

While finishing my studies in business, I got this idea in my mind and fire in my heart to be part of a solution; to work with my homeland resources in order to fix the malnutrition problem. I faced major obstacles in developing my food business: outdated paradigms, closed mindedness, corruption and lack of access to capital and markets. With every obstacle I became even more convinced that nutrition – and good nutrition – is relevant to everyone.

A couple of years ago, while in Cologne, Germany (photo) working on our entry strategy to developed markets, an “interested businessman” asked me how I would get funding to accomplish our company’s goals of “developing a highly nutritious, all natural, tasty quinoa bar brand while selling and distributing a snack that has 94% of the micronutrients and macronutrients required by kids ages 5 to 12.” I answered that the right funding will be there in the right moment once an investor recognizes that good nutrition is fundamental to a healthy lifestyle.

Malnutrition continues to be a major problem and the “nutrients for all” community provides a mechanism to raise awareness and implement solutions relating to malnutrition and obesity. If you want to be part of our solution and increase the odds of changing the food system, I humbly ask you to contact us and together we will create a nutrient rich food brand that will bring the benefits of good nutrition to people who need it.

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Savvy Saturday October 5, 2013

Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover – Mark Twain

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