Cheil Connec+ hosted a panel discussion at SXSW titled ‘Keeping up with the Outperformers’ where we discussed the evergreen attributes of Outperformance that can benefit start-ups, scale-ups and turn-arounds wanting to grow despite economic headwinds.
Panellists Janet Lee (SVP of Mobile Experience, Samung), Lili Tomovich (CMO, Barclays North America) and Jackie Crynes (Director of Strategy, Influencer Marketing at McKinney) spoke with moderator Ian Millner (CEO, Cheil Connec+) about their experiences of Outperformance.
Janet Lee spoke about the importance of intensity; not just of action, but also of thought. She recommended ‘cultivating deep thoughtfulness’ to engage more fully with challenges and opportunities. She also noted that Outperformers typically take talent more seriously and actively seek out these deeper thinkers with the “emotional and intellectual stamina” to initiate and drive success. She noted that in her experience, this culture of intellectual intensity will result in less frequent strategic pivoting (“you probably didn’t have a strategy to begin with!”), whilst at the same time creationg greater operational flexibility in your teams.
Lili Tomovich backed this up, noting that for her intensity is partly about doing more with less – always challenging her teams with two questions: (1) what can we do that is most meaningful to deliver results? and (2) what can we do to make our customers lives better? By having good answers to these two questions, it creates a bias towards action and iteration. And, crucially, it enables you to be ruthless and realistic about what you choose to do (and not do).
Lili also went on to talk about the importance of customer centricity and the tension between many Outperformers being digital native, whilst at the same time their customers still valuing the human element. Good customer experience must feel human, especially in sectors where the product can feel quite commoditised.
Jackie Crynes picked up this thread, speaking about how creator-led brands have been successfully specifically because they think community first and cultivate shared passion that can convert in to successful products and experiences. A key attribute here is that Outperforming creator brands demand more from data – obsessively using it to better understand their community, maintaining their attention and remaining original.
Data was a key theme for Janet too, noting that despite working at Samsung where she has access to big budgets, she guards against lazy decision making or costly mistakes by always tying decisions to objectives and KPIs. Being clear on what success looks like avoids purposeless perseverance.