Iliyana's Blog

Imagining It Forward: Innovation, Change and Leadership in Business

[fa icon="calendar'] 16-Oct-2018 09:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Brands and Business, Marketing, Leadership

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"People can’t just be told change is coming and be expected to spring into action. They have to work through it."

I quite agree with this quote. It comes from Beth Comstock's book Imagine It Forward that I just finished reading.

Beth Comstock was the Vice Chair of General Electric and throughout her decades-long career she has gathered a ton of experience in marketing, innovation and change for business growth. 

The book is classified as a business and leadership book, however, for me it was more of a memoir or the GE story through Beth's eyes and experiences from the last couple of decades in a chronological order, detailing meetings, corporate issues and decision-making challenges. 

As impressive and at times difficult Beth's journey has been, I found it hard to identify the practical tips and a clear plan of action to make change happen while reading the book. Maybe that wasn't its purpose but rather to tell a personal autobiography. 

Nonetheless, there were some nice nuggets and important learnings that I noted on my kindle. I want to share these with you today. I've structured them based on some of the key topics I picked up: innovation, change and leadership. 

Innovation

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Using the Customer Code to Grow Better

[fa icon="calendar'] 02-Oct-2018 09:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Brands and Business, Marketing

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At HubSpot, one of our key principles is SFTC which stands for Solve For The Customer. 

Why do we believe in this?

Because we know that if you focus on your customers, your business will grow better in a much more remarkable and sustainable way.

But truly walking the talk is difficult. 

Not just satisfying but delighting customers is only possible when you have a company culture that puts the customer first through action. 

And you can't just have a department trying to push for this. A customer-first mentality needs to sit on top of the entire flywheel so that you can truly grow better

Such a mentality recognises that the customer experience doesn't start when a customer purchases and doesn't end when they stop buying or cancel. The customer experience starts with the customer's very first contact with you and never really ends. 

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The Hard Truth About Customers (And Any Individual Really)

[fa icon="calendar'] 15-May-2018 09:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Brands and Business

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We do a lot of research at HubSpot. 

It's how we remain able to deeply understand human behaviour and so manage to innovate by developing new software that people actually want to and need to use. 

We invented inbound marketing which helped thousands of companies out there drive good-fit leads through their own website and content, and then pass them onto the sales department that though an inbound sales philosophy became able to close these leads into actual customers and so grow the company's revenue. 

We preach what we teach and this whole methodology served us well for a long time. But by deeply knowing our own customers we're starting to see a shift where customer acquisition through the described approach above is not only becoming more expensive but it's also not as effective as it used to be

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9 Things You Need to Know About Trust in 2018

[fa icon="calendar'] 30-Jan-2018 09:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Brands and Business, Leadership

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"Firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something." - this is the definition of trust in the Oxford dictionary. 

The Edelman TRUST BAROMETER is the biggest study of trust. I cover it every year. 

The 2018 research reveals yet again a world of seemingly stagnant distrust where people’s trust in business, government, NGOs and media remained largely unchanged from 2017 — 20 of 28 countries surveyed now lie in distruster territory, up one from last year.

But 2018 marks a number of interesting shifts such as the return of experts, increased trust in journalists and bigger faith in CEOs. 

Let's take a look at the key learnings that I took from the research. 

9 Things You Need to Know About Trust in 2018: 

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Cultural Differences from West to East and Why They Matter in Business

[fa icon="calendar'] 05-Dec-2017 09:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Brands and Business, Cultural Differences in Business, Program Management

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I'm fascinated by culture. 

As someone who's lived in four countries over the last eight years, works in a global company, and collaborates with people from dozens of cultures on a daily basis, cultural differences are very much top of mind for me.  

It all started at university in a module on Intercultural Relations where I was introduced to the cultural dimensions study of Geert Hofstede, however, I do believe that cultural differences are heavily underestimated in the business world. 

They are not top of mind for when decisions are being made, emails are sent, meetings are run or changes are implemented. Essentially, cultural differences impact all of our communication

Cultural awareness is not something you are born with, it's something you develop.

To develop it, you have to study it, you have to experience it in work regularly and you have to reflect on it during and after certain situations so that you continuously grow your cultural awareness and next time you are faced with a similar situation, you'll know how to act better by adapting to the cultural setting and requirements.

Today, I'd like to help you develop that cultural awareness.  

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