Header
  What is Competitive Intelligence - a brief guide  Sitemap

Marketing & Competitive Intelligence
Strategy, Training, Analysis & Research.

  AWARE services Competitor / Marketing Research Training & Workshops Contact Us
  Follow us on Twitter this page
About Us > Resources > Business Humour

Competitive & Marketing Intelligence Resources
Business Humour


Businesses (and people) over time develop habits and patterns of working. Sometimes these will lead to success, but often they can stop management from seeing reality - especially when the business environment changes.

A successful competitive intelligence programme will identify these business blindspots - both in the company itself, and in its competitors. Taking advantage of competitor blindspots is a major way that a company can beat its competitors, so it is crucial to understand one's own blindspots so as to protect oneself from possible attack.

One way to illustrate business problems is through humour. Humour allows businesses to take a step back and see a problem applied to a situation that appears different to their own. However on deeper examination, one can sometimes see similar behaviour in the organization - thus highlighting a possible blindspot.

Humour is just one technique for showing blindspots. Others include the use of drama workshops and story-telling, or war-gaming where the business environment is modelled and management try and take an external look at their and their competitor situations. This page gives examples of business humour that may seem amusing but have a grain of truth to them. (If you know of other similar items please contact us and if we like them, then we will add them - with an author credit if desired. We also plan to change stories on a regular basis - as we come across suitable items - so bookmark this page and revisit for further examples of business humour.)

Most of the following stories and office "theories" are anonymous. That does not mean that they lack validity - and in fact there are a number of lessons relevant to general business, marketing and competitive intelligence that can be learned from them.

Wise Owl

Make sure you understand your information sources

A film crew was on location deep in the desert.

One day an old Indian went up to the director and said, "Tomorrow rain." The next day it rained.

A week later, the Indian went up to the director and said, "Tomorrow storm." The next day there was a hailstorm.

"This Indian is incredible," said the director.

He told his secretary to hire the Indian to predict the weather for the remaining of the shoot. However, after several successful predictions, the old Indian didn't show up for two weeks. Finally the director sent for him.

"I have to shoot a big scene tomorrow," said the director, "and I'm depending on you. What will the weather be like?"

The Indian shrugged his shoulders. "Don't know," he said. "My radio is broken."

One Moral: Make sure that you fully understand your sources of information - and any drawbacks or weaknesses associated with them, before using them for any major plans.

Wise Owl

How to delay paying your bills.

  • Wait until they send the bill the third time then write. (Never phone, or use e-mail - writing is slower) and ask why you haven't received an invoice. Demand a written reply for your auditors.
  • Ask for an itemised account but don't explain what you mean by itemised. When you receive the invoice, write back saying that it was not what you had wanted at all.
  • Send a cheque with figures not matching words. When they call to complain, send a corrected cheque - but omit to sign it.
  • Send a copy of their invoice with a torn corner of cheque stapled to it. This will start a frantic hunt for your missing cheque. When you eventually hear from your supplier - delay further while you check with your bank. And all the time they'll be apologising to you!
  • Tell them that your cheques require two signatures and the other signing officer is on prolonged sick leave/sabbatical/silver anniversary cruise for the next month
  • Send a cheque for the wrong amount made out to a completely different (fictional) company. When they call, promise that you will sort it out - but will have to track down how the mistake occurred and contact the other company to get the cheque back.

Courtesy of Dun & Bradstreet who point out that none of these will work if you use their services! In fact good credit control is essential for business cash flow. Even though customers may try and delay paying their bills, there is a guaranteed way of collecting from all but the most awkward debtors. The 4 P's

1. Personal Contact - deal directly with your debtor.
2. Patience - be prepared to wait
3. Persistence - but don't ever give up.
lead to
4. Payment of bills, quickly, without problems.

(Courtesy of Paul Hemsley, ex-of Thomson Scientific
(formerly Derwent Information)

Wise Owl

The Mushroom Theory of Management

Keep all employees in the dark and feed them sh*t!

Wise Owl

AWARE Competitive Intelligence - Showing business blindspots through humour

The KISS Theory of Management

It is always an idea to keep things simple - as expressed by the abbreviation KISS. I have heard a number of explanations for what KISS stands for. Take your pick ;-)

  • Keep It Simple and Sexy
  • Keep It Simple and Straight
  • Keep It Sweet and Simple
  • Keep It Simple Stupid
  • Keep It Simple for the Suckers.

(Of the five options, the last one is dangerous if used by a company to describe their sales process and view of customers. This is a typical business blindspot i.e. the customer is too stupid to assess what is really going on. The others are almost the reverse - in that they emphasise the importance of keeping things plain and simple, rather than hide behind complexity - another business blindspot!)

Wise Owl

Keys to better relationships

The Six Most Important Words: I admit that I was wrong.
The Five Most Important: You did a great job
The Four Most Important: What do you think?
The Three Most Important: Could you please?
The Two Most Important: Thank you.
The Most Important: We.
The Least Important: I

Wise Owl

Rules of Work

5) Leave the office late

Always leave the office late, especially when the boss is still around. (If you do have to leave before your boss, make sure you walk pass his office on your way out so that he sees how late you are leaving). You could read magazines and books that you always wanted to read, or write letters to friends and family - just be there and look busy.

Send important emails at unearthly hours (9.35pm, 7.07am, etc.) and during public holidays. You may even be able to set your computer to do this for you by changing the time or date on the system clock - sending the email just before leaving - and then putting the clock back to the normal time.

Based on ideas from BBC Television's The Office. For further rules of work and office humour, bookmark this page and visit again soon.

Wise Owl

Quick Tip: Use multiple search engines

Quick Tip

When doing an Internet search don't just use one search engine. Look at using a selection - Google, Bing, Blekko, DuckDuckGo and even a few others (e.g. Baidu for China or Yandex for Russia . The reason is that each search engine uses different rules for ranking the order of pages - what they see as the most relevant pages.

By restricting your searches to just one engine you're also limiting the results you find to that search engines view of what is important. Your view may differ - and by using a range of search engines you will not only potentially find more relevant sites but you are also given a choice of different ranking methods.

Bonus Tip

Don't just use the standard search form but instead use the advanced search facilities. These allow for much more complex searches that are more likely to result in you finding what you need quickly.

 

Books - Competitors (Fahey)

Recommended Book

Competitors (Fahey)
Competitors: Outwitting, Outmanoeuvring, and Outperforming
Liam Fahey
Buy UK £ or US$

Read our review of this book

Competitors shows you how to determine what you need to know about competitors, analyse competitor strategy, predict likely next moves and link this into your own operations, avoiding many errors associated with traditional approaches.
Liam Fahey is one of the leading new thinkers on Competitive Strategy and this book introduces Fahey's concept of "competitor learning", giving guidelines for identifying and analysing key competitor data to help gain strategic insights. An important book - that should sit on any CI analyst's bookshelf.

Close Window

For more recommendations visit our book selection.

 

Competitive Intelligence Training

Do you need to
know more about
Competitive Intelligence?

We offer in-house Competitive Intelligence Training, customised to your requirements.
Find out about our training services today!


Finding Competitive Intelligence using Online Sources

AWARE consultants are experts at discovering competitor information online and have developed a market-leading course on Finding Competitive Intelligence using Online Sources. This course has been given as an in-house course to numerous companies across industries (IT, publishing, telecoms, chemicals....) and countries, as well as publicly at SCIP annual and European conferences, the London International Online Information Conferences and other similar events.

The workshop has received high praise for its unique approach to finding competitive intelligence on the Internet. The workshop - available as a half-day summary, full day or 2-day in-depth training course with extensive practical online sessions - teaches attendees how to find actionable competitive intelligence rather than just present a list of sources that quickly date. Like all AWARE's in-house training, the course can be customised to focus on industry or competitive area.

For more information on this workshop and how it can help you become a more effective Internet researcher check out our Competitive Intelligence Training and ask us about our courses on finding CI information.

 

Institute of Competitive Intelligence


ICI holds regular public training courses & workshops on a range of competitive intelligence related topics. Courses take place across Europe, the USA, India and elsewhere - and are offered in English, German, French and Spanish.

The next UK based ICI courses will take place in March 2012 in central London with further courses in Autumn 2012.

Course Schedule
If you register 40 days in advance, deduct 5% from total fees.

Further information on the Institute of Competitive Intelligence.

 

Competitive Intelligence on a budget

Many businesses think that competitive intelligence research is expensive and hard to do. This is not true. It is quite possible to uncover crucial competitive intelligence without spending large sums.

One technique that works is Win-loss analysis. This is perhaps the single most overlooked, yet valuable, technique in the competitive intelligence arsenal.

When you lose a client find out the reason why - not just what the salesperson says, but the real reason. Follow up with the lost client to find out why they switched, to whom and how their new supplier compares. Do the same when you win a customer - why did they choose you in preference to other options in the market. The information gathered can show what you are doing well and where you are failing. It can help you understand competitor strategies and tactics - how they sell, what their targets are, their pricing, and so on. The only drawback is that it can be difficult for a company to call up lost clients themselves - and that's where AWARE can help.

For more information on Win-Loss analysis, and how to do competitive intelligence on a budget, contact us today on +44 20 8954 9121 or .


Our services in competitive intelligence research, competitor analysis and CI training will help you integrate and use competitive and marketing intelligence in your business, strategic and marketing planning processes. Whether you need research, advice or training, our mission is to support our clients so that they achieve their growth objectives.

For the best UK & European competitive intelligence and competitor analysis services, contact us today.

AWARE Phone numbers: 0845 430 9125 (International: +44 20 8954 9121). Fax: 0845 430 9126 (International: +44 20 8954 2102) AIIP

About Us Services Resources Publications Help Contact us Site Map

Copyright © AWARE 1995-2014

Last page / site update: Sunday, April 7, 2013

GIA Logo