Forget word-of-mouth, even word-of-mouse. Think 'buzz' - creating enthusiasm for a product or service without spending too much: viz, Viagra. You might think that an impotence cure would buzz away unaided. However, says McKinsey consultant Renee Dye, the subject of impotence was taboo. Instead, the Viagra buzz was built by popularising 'erectile dysfunction'. Dye recommends ploys such as rationing supply (only 2,000 VW Beetles in reflex yellow), exploiting vanguard buyers (placing 'Hard Candy' nail polish in exclusive boutiques), and riding on the back of cultural icons. Thus, Four Weddings and a Funeral, which quoted WH Auden, helped sell 50,000 copies of a swiftly produced anthology. One major catch is that your would-be buzzer must be highly visible. More demanding still: it has to be unique.
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MT tapped up a panel of entrepreneurs for the advice they wished they had before taking the plunge.
Caroline Casey is legally blind but worked as a top consultant without her bosses realising. She wants businesses to do more help their workforces overcome disability.
Today's bosses need better help to deal with new technologies, working practices and generational shift.