The Lead: American Airlines and Apple Music, Shell Buys Electric Vehicle Company, Zara’s New Logo

American Airlines Partners with Apple Music

American Airlines will be the first commercial airline to give exclusive access to Apple Music to its passengers through complimentary Wi-Fi. “For most travelers, having music to listen to on the plane is just as important as anything they pack in their suitcases,” said Oliver Schusser, vice president of Apple Music.

Our View: Your customer experience strategy directly affects your revenues and profits. Customer experience shouldn’t be confused with customer service. Customer experience encompasses the entire customer journey and includes gaining a thorough understanding of your customer and creating an emotional connection with them. Capture customer feedback in real time and make changes based on their feedback. Finally, become a customer experience thought-leader by measuring the ROI from delivering a great customer experience and sharing the data. Further Reading

Shell Buys Electric Vehicle Company

Shell is buying California-based electric vehicle company Greenlots and growing further into the battery and charging space. The companies shared in a joint statement: “together, the companies will offer best in class software and services that enable large-scale deployment of smart charging infrastructure and integrate efficiently with advanced energy resources like solar, wind, and power storage.” 

Our View: While getting acquisitions right isn’t achieved by following an exact recipe, strong leadership will always be a necessary ingredient of a successful acquisition. When leaders understand and communicate the “why” of their particular acquisition, they are better able to create value for the shareholders. The categorization of articulating the reason behind the acquisition helps focus priorities. For example, some types of acquisitions are a consolidation to remain competitive, an addition of a winning company early to develop their business, and an acquisition of skills or technology faster or at a lower cost. Further Reading

Zara’s New Logo

The fashion retailer Zara has evolved its logo into a more compressed version (with overlapped spacing) for its new marketing campaign. The new design was created by the design firm Baron & Baron and leans toward the more complex logos like those of Cartier, Gucci, and Bulgari and away from tech and startup companies’ preference toward minimalism. 

Our View: Building a leadership brand is about more than accessorizing your marketing materials with trendy logos. Increase the value of your organization and sustain it by developing leaders at all levels and focusing on leadership, not just leaders. Your leadership brand should transcend any individual leader and be informed by evaluating everything from a customer perspective. Further Reading

Audiobook and Podcast Growth

The Association of American Publishers reported that downloaded audiobooks were the fastest growing format in the industry (climbing 29% from 2016 to 2017). Scribd, a subscription service that holds a vast digital library of documents, books, magazines, audiobooks, comic books, and other publications, recently reached 1 million paying subscribers globally. Its amount of audio users grew 100% in 2018, and its paid subscriber base has been growing 40% year-over-year. 

Our View: Knowledge management is a large component of successful leadership. Make sure your team has ample resources and convenient access to them. Knowledge and resources are only as useful as your team’s ability to leverage them. Knowledge management is more about people than systems, but you still need complimentary systems and process that blend well with your culture. Finally, protect your corporate knowledge with appropriate intellectual property protections. These investments highlight the value of corporate knowledge as an important asset. Further Reading

Megatrends in Education

Education systems across the world are facing funding issues, larger wealth gaps, increased migration of its pupils, and digital technology advancements. In some places, education systems are still nonexistent, and the United Nations says there are about 260 million missing out on primary and secondary school. 

Our View: The role of leadership in business is highly intertwined with corporate social responsibility (CSR). In our interconnected world, CSR can no longer be viewed as a standalone discipline and needs to be infused in all business leaders’ decisions. Creating an ethical culture with a vision for the long-term that incorporates what is best for the company and its greater economic, environmental, educational, etc. ecosystems has practical, tangible benefits for all stakeholders. The company Xerox made it to the “100 Best Corporate Citizens List” by Corporate Responsibility Magazine in 2018 for the twelfth consecutive time, and a lot of their success is related to their “think global, act local” mindset. Give your employees control over your social responsibility projects because they will be best able to identify the real needs in their communities. Further Reading

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