THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST
821 – Innovation and Engagement with Symmetri Consulting's Bella Rushi
Josh Elledge intro 0:01:
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With us right now, Bella Rushi. Bella, you are the founder of Symmetri Consulting, and symmetrI, we're going to spell this because it's not your typical symmetry spelling. Its symmetry is S Y M M E T R I Consulting.com. Bella, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you, Josh, for having me. From a high level, what does Symmetri Consulting do?
Bell Rushi 0:51
Sure. So what our company does is we focus on organizations and helping them align their business strategy with their innovation strategy. So basically, helping them build innovation through channel, customer engagement, their process or network, showing them different ways to build integration capabilities.
And so that sounds great. And so now, let's pretend that you're talking to a fifth grade class, and because I want to make sure that that, that folks understand exactly, you know how we do that, and like why this is important.
Sure. So it's basically building your strength. So when I work with a client, you know, one of the first questions we ask is, what are your goals? Right? So, and then we take those goals, and we say, what are your capabilities? What are your strengths, and what are your weaknesses, we do an organizational assessment. And that helps us understand where the company is already at with their strengths and where their weaknesses are. With those strengths that are identified, we can help you build strategies and new innovations based on them. And the ones that you really need to match your goals, we help you build those capabilities. So I can give you some examples. So if you're, you know, if you're looking at, you know, reaching your audience, and you want to build more customer engagement, you want to create awareness for your product, you really have to build that customer engagement and your channel developments, you really have to focus on those, so that you can create awareness for your, for your product, or your new service. Yeah, it can get out there, right. And you have to get on social media, you have to get on all your channels, and really build that interaction and the connection with your customers, get them excited about your product or services, give them the education that you know that they're looking for, and identify the pain points. So really, building customer engagement is something that a lot of companies are scared to do, because they're not sure about which channels on social media to use to find their customers how to build communities. And that's something we help with.
Okay, so I want to make sure that it's because it sounds like there's two different things that we're talking about. Right? So we're talking about creating a culture of innovation. But it also sounds like we're talking a lot about engagement. what's the what's the intersection there?
Yeah, sure. So it's, it's in order for you to deliver, deliver your product and your services, obviously, you have to have a strong culture, you have to have a good alignment between your business strategies and what your brand new innovations are, right? So your new services, or the new product that's launching. So there's a lot of internal strengths that you need. And then when you do actually get to the market, right? How are you building the right channels to talk to your customers? How are you finding your customers? Is it through traditional channels? Whether it's through retail, or pop up stores that you can do? Or is it through digital media? Or is it a combination of those? Where are your customers hanging out? Do you have the latest insight on your customers? And are you really you know, addressing their pain points when you offer your product or your service? So it's a really combination of everything to be successful in delivering your product and your service?
So let's say that someone's listening to us right now. And, you know, they're small companies, they've got 2030 employees, you know, and they're going through some growth, but they want to do so in a way where, okay, you're so belly, you're talking about, you know, fostering this culture of innovation. What are the Firstly, how do we do that? Or how can we? How can we weave that into our daily practice to make sure that we're starting that off? Right. And then we can continue that because I don't think any company I don't think anyone wants to be in a company where you're just kind of rest. You just think you're going to just rest on your laurels for the next 10 years. Exactly. It is moving far too quick for anybody to do that.
Yes, no, very true. So, you know, there's a lot of things that you can do. But really, it starts with, you know, breaking down those silos, when you see a lot of companies and you have a lot of divisions within your company, and they don't share information, right, there's not knowledge sharing that's happening, or they're just focused on whatever their portfolio is. So really, first thing would be breaking down those silos and even identifying to see if your company even have silos because some companies have them, but they don't even realize it. But that's why they're not performing well together. So that's one of the things that we see a lot in companies, especially large organizations, because you have so many different, you know, different departments, like you have your supply chain department, you have your department that's doing the research, then you have this supply, the product development, right, and then you have your marketing department really needs to come together and work together to share that information and share their best practices to move forward. We offer Do you know, in depth things where we're doing culture mapping, and seeing where your culture needs to be to get to where you want to be, in terms of reaching your goals, that's just more of an extended step. But the first thing is, you know, just identifying what you have silos within your department and breaking them and how can you work collaborative within your divisions?
Yeah. And so when when folks hire you, what are they like? What's the pain point that they're experiencing? How do they know to hire you?
Sure. So usually, the customers that we help out with are the ones who are working to build separate their they're looking to develop, deliver a new product or new service. And they have a pipeline of ideas, they're just not sure which ones to select from, which you know, which new product or service is really going to get out there. And that's going to be that's going to deliver the best value to the customers. So most of the larger companies we've seen, or, and even some midsize companies, but they have a lot of great ideas. And some of them, they're actually trying to implement those ideas or projects at the same time. So what we're helping them to do is select the right projects, the right ideas, and go through the funnel and actually deliver it to the market really focusing on that project that's really going to give you the return on investment as well as deliver the best value to the customer. When you have too many projects launching at the same time. Yes. Yeah.
Yeah. You know, I wonder how often it is that, you know, maybe we don't make, like, when we're inside the I've heard this, you know, I love this illustration, right? It's like, it's really valuable to bring in fresh eyes. Because, you know, a lot of times this happens with marketing. This happens in so many areas, right? So we're inside the bottle in our company, like, I can't, I can't do I mean, I can do simple design stuff. But when it comes to like, over, you know, like bigger branding type decisions, or Yeah, no way, am I going to try and do that same thing with prioritizing, like, internally, you know, we can ask good questions, I think of ourselves and we have a really, you know, our, our Director of Operations is pretty fantastic. But even then, it's like, We're too, we're too in the bottle to be to be able to be objective. And so, you know, for us, we have to rely on fresh eyes. So hopefully, you know, we're doing good to get, you know, information from our customers or clients and that sort of thing. And, you know, but prioritizing, you know, where should we be putting r&d? Like, I can come up with ideas, but I don't know that those are the best business decisions, unless I have someone objectively understanding it. And I guess that that's kind of where you come in, right? That objectivity?
Absolutely. So what we do is we help with you know, I also we offer ideation workshops. And what we do is we collect lots of ideas from the organization. So everyone's invited everyone from your suppliers, your employees, your stakeholders, right? But then how do you prioritize ideas, and that's where we come in and help. So it's basically aligning those ideas with what your goals are. And obviously, you can have a lot of big goals, right. But obviously, you're not going to be able to implement all the ideas very quickly, you'll need ideas, you'll need data to see if it's going to work. Some of the ideas will have to go through an experimental phase. So it's breaking up those ideas and you know, and saying which one is going to actually become a project and you know which one we're going to work on in the Future. So it's just not, I'm working on an idea today or a project today that you can implement right away. Because you have the resources, you have the strong capabilities. So taking your ideas and saying, this is something we want to work on in the next couple of years, and this need that data to collect to, to build that project better. So you can have more chance of success, and then bringing it back to, you know, your current work and implementing it and then testing it out and making sure that it's working. So it's rollout of making sure that you're testing your ideas, you're making sure you're aligning with your what your goals are, yeah, even if you if you even have the capabilities, if you don't have those capabilities. You know, for example, your show, if you don't have a good social media bill, and you're, you know, you're doing your show, and you're trying to expand, well, that's one of the areas you would need to improve on, right? So you want to make sure and identify where are your strengths or your weaknesses in order to get to your next project, and then develop those better to help you execute them.Josh:
Yeah, no, Bella, as an as an agency, or as a consultant yourself, you've worked with some pretty, pretty Cray companies. You know, historically. And I know that you and I were talking, you're like I got some pretty hardcore NDA here. But you've been able to maybe without, you know, naming names are the ones that you can share? Can you maybe kind of talk about some of the folks that you've worked with and kind of the outcomes or maybe the challenges that that you help solve?Bella:
Sure. So I can give you an example. This is a few years back where I worked with a leading pediatric skincare brand. And they were struggling at this time with their sales. At that time, the new market trend with skincare was all natural and organic products. And everyone was using them. So they started losing shares in the market because their product was not identified as a natural organic brand. So first thing they did is they they reformulated their product to make it natural and organic. Yeah. So the we came in to help them as when we had to launch the product. And we had to create marketing materials for that. So we took a step back and said, Okay, what are the goals? Right, so we wanted to regain the market share that we originally had, because we were losing it. So all the competitors out there, because there are so many with natural organic products. And we looked at there, we identified all their strengths. So one of the strengths was the brand, the brand name, that this company has been around for a long time and has lots of credibility people on this company, right. So that's the brand. And then we knew that they had great channels, digital as well as channels where they were able to connect with lots of retailers and connect with them. They had strong relationships with them. Another great capability they had is they had really good community of customer engagement on social media already so and they had a fantastic product. So they had four strong capabilities in their favor, that they had really, you know, a great chance again, regaining their market share. So we took all this information together, we would develop content based on their brand trust and their brand credibility. And we really put it out to all of their channels, building content, building awareness, with their customers about the new natural organic product, that they just go for the skincare space, and, you know, through a series of time, and lots of customer engagement, creating awareness, they were able to regain market share as well as sales. So, you know, it took good amount of work, but just really identifying your strongest capabilities and making sure you're utilizing all of them. Yes. What's important key piece here.Josh:
Yeah, yeah. And I'm curious about your guidance on engagement today, um, and what works really well with truly engaging your customers because, again, it's what you don't want to be right is just this monolithic company like you want to be you want to build relationships and friendships and true connection with your customers. What are some of the ways that you see that happening effectively today, Bella?Bella:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think you know, to create the best type of engagement is really doing work like co creation work, which a lot of companies are starting to do. Nike, you know, Lego does it. Lots of companies are doing it DHL are doing it. Every lot of companies are doing co creation work. What that really means is that you're building a platform online and you're talking to your customers and you're creating that product or service with them. So it's more than you making something giving them a sample and saying Do you like it? It's amazing. About this is what we want to make this is what we're trying to do. Can you help us? SoJosh:
both of them? Yes, absolutely.Bella:
So I worked with a lip balm Company A few years back. And we built a really small platform, where we had our customers that use this specific brand of lip balm and said, we want to add new flavors, you know, just a small project that was right, adding new flavors, let them choose the flavors, they were choosing a lot of fruity flavors and things like that. Not only did they talk about what flavors they wanted, they actually talked about how they wanted the product to feel on their lips, which our product development team, you know, team thought that they were already happy with what we gave them. But obviously they wanted more, they wanted something better. So they wanted something more improved. So they wanted a certain type of feel when they put the lip balm on their lips. Yeah, our product development team, we're engaged in these conversations with the community going back and forth, say, what do you want it to feel like, you know, what should it feel like besides picking the flavors? You know, what do you want this to feel like? And then someone else talked about? You know, it's talked about packaging, though, when you open up a lip balm, the packaging is really hard to open up the seal. It's not, it's not easy. Sometimes you have to like, you know, break it open with their mouth. Someone was complaining about that product and you know, team got involved. And they said, Well, what do you mean? You know, usually we use a standard plastic wrap. And yes, but they had to actually change the rap that they use to open it easier for when the consumer buys it right away. You know, you're in a CVS and you need to use the lip balm on your way home. You want easy packaging, right? So things that we didn't we were not looking for we're having we're having this conversation with the customers co Creating this product and him. Right, and that's the best way now you have a list of I love it with following you. Yeah,Josh:
yes. Okay, so here's my homework, listeners, here's what I want you to do in spirit of Bella Roshi with SymmetriConsulting.com your next thing that you want to build, and design or research or anything you're going to put development into, get your customers involved, ask for feedback, get like, have them co create with you. And watch, you know, when people are involved in the process, they're invested, right, and you're I mean, it's like, then when it finally comes to fruition, your customers are proud, right? I helped create that, um, you know, I love the, you know, the beta process, we're, we're doing this right now internally with a bunch of our customers that are on a product that we want to offer broadly after summer. But right now, all of our existing customers, I'm like, Hey, you know, we're creating this, you know, kind of virtual VP of sales service, I'm going to give you guys like, you know, like 1/8, the price, you know, for a period of time, and then let's let's work on, you know, just kind of cover some of the hard costs involved in that, in this case, we were able to do that. And then, you know, help me co create this, you're gonna get a lot of value. And then three months later, bam, like they are going to help design the perfect product, like everything we do, like I just had someone that's like, you know, complimenting us for something that we like, that wasn't me, that was a customer who came up with that idea. And almost every great idea is either because we had an immediate problem that had to be solved, and like, you know, we just we tried it, and then the market told us, yeah, that's good. But how about like this, and we responded to it, right? And we, nobody is smarter than the market. You're not it just the market always wins the market knows, and the market will tell you what they want, if you ask them.Bella:
Absolutely. And you brought up a great point, you know, once when they're involved, then there'll be more loyal to you because yes, realize that you're authentic that you you care about what they feel what they want, and that they're included being inclusive as one of the things that a lot of companies are also putting into their core values. And we're an inclusive company. We want to build services and products with our customers. We just don't want to do by yourself. Yeah, yeah.Josh:
Yeah. Bello Rushi, founder and CEO of Symmetri Consulting that Symmetri with an I not a Y at the end, Consulting.com. Bella, this has been fantastic. Anything that people should look for what would their next steps be?Bella:
Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, please, if you have any questions, give us a call. You can contact me at symmetry.com. That's my email address. And I'm happy to work with you. We also are happy to provide a pre assessment to you for the first five folks emailed me for your organization just to see, you know, where are your strengths where you're, you know, weaknesses, and how can we start a conversation about embedding innovation into your corporation?Josh:
All right, Bella Rushi, thank you so much again, SymmetriConsulting.com. Thank you, Bella, thank you so much for having me, Josh.
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