I had a true pinball month in January, bouncing between wintery, snow- filled venues and warm West Coast locations as I worked in nine different cities in the first month of the year. These trips presented fantastic opportunities as I continued the incredible momentum of Repeatable Successful Acts and also launched my new change strategy platform for two new clients.

2011 is opening with a new and unique set of challenges. At the forefront of new projects is a fresh emphasis on leveraging the two strategies that are always within the control of any company: improving the skill sets of its work force, and the key separation that a focus on client experience can create in a crowded market. Typical beginning points for these types of projects include taking inventory of existing training and moving forward with core skill enhancement for support staff as well as creating client experience maps.

In February I will be in Las Vegas (twice), Florida, and Minneapolis, as well as working two big programs right here in good ol' Dallas.

The new web site is moving along at a snail's pace, as my travel has limited the time commitment I can make to the content design part of the process. But even moving slowly I am thrilled with the site's direction.

Here's a continued "thanks" to all of you who take the time to read my writings, and to all my clients who continue to push boundaries and allow me to help with their journeys!

Value Beyond Transactions.

Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value. -Albert Einstein

There is a war being waged on a battlefield of time and value. Clients and customers weigh each buying decision with the precision of a micrometer, searching for the highest and best use of their resources…and businesses are looking to monitor and capitalize on this constantly shifting process.

In the new world of business there are myriad choices for every buying decision. Luxury brands duke it out with generic offerings. Loyalty and brand recognition load the weapons cache. Generals of commerce seek the high ground in hopes of an ever-shifting advantage.

This scenario is now more important than ever, and its core philosophy is to provide a value proposition that extends beyond the simple transaction, especially in any sales process built on relationships. How is this done? It begins and ends with "the client experience."

The customer experience first came to the forefront of our business consciousness in 1998 when Harvard authors Pine and Gilmore published an article in the Harvard Business Review citing the positive—and negative--economic impact of customer experiences that influence success. Since the article was published, the evidence of their astute observations is seen at many of today's most successful companies, Southwest Airlines, Apple, Disney, and Nordstrom's to name only a few.

I am currently involved in three projects geared around an in-depth look at the entirety of specific companies' customer/client experience. By taking these companies through a literal mapping process, by turning them into experience cartographers, we discovering ways to leverage subtle and macro changes to produce separation and differentiation in crowded and competitive markets.

Here are a few discoveries we have made along the way and that might help you take advantage of this strategy:


It has never been more important for both individuals and companies to work key strategies to dedicate real energy to developing unique market positions. As the war of purchase choice wages, be a person and organization of VALUE. Creative Ventures can help you if you let us!


Oh, That Harry Potter: Universal Studios owes a big thanks to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Universal's new theme park gave the Studio its best fourth quarter on record. Park attendance was up 46%, a million guests, in the last three months of 2010. Of course, the 20-acre $200-plus million park was a relatively risk-free idea, wasn't it? I mean, riding a wave of Potter mania that includes seven (soon to be eight) movies that have raked in $6.3 billion, about 800 million book sales, and seven video games seems like a pretty good bet. I would roll those dice any time.

California Leading Again: Technology hits the strangest spots…or, perhaps necessity is the mother of invention. California is now leading the way with smart parking meters. They are installing parking meters that take credit cards…part of a system that can tell you via the internet where open spaces are. Next month there will be a smart phone app that will direct you to open spaces and allow you to add more money to your meter via your phone. The idea is estimated to generate an additional 15–20% in parking meter revenue for cities struggling to pay for basic services.

The Home Movie King: It continues to look like NetFlix has won the wallets and minds of the home movie viewing world. In their most recent quarter, NetFlix shares jumped 15% and earnings increased 55%. They literally exploded through the 20 million member number. Despite this success, NetFlix has not been basking in its own glory; instead, they are growing their on-demand capabilities in the attempt to stay ahead of the next movie-viewing trend. NetFlix is always looking ahead, always changing… a true formula for success.

Hope you have a rewarding and impactful 2011!


Interested in these ideas?


You can contact Steve at steve@creativeventures.com or give him a call at 972-490-7717.
See more at creativeventures.com and stephenharvill.com