Over the last few years, business leaders have been reminded repeatedly of the interconnectedness and unpredictability of businesses, economies, and societies. Humanitarian disasters, from the pandemic to the war in Ukraine, have created shockwaves affecting geopolitics, economics, trade, energy, and financial markets. Business reputations, markets, supply chains, and employees have been impacted in unpredicted ways.
It’s not surprising then that resilience — the ability to thrive under change — has risen to the top of many leaders’ agenda. As we saw with Covid-19, more resilient businesses had better outcomes, and some even emerged as new winners.
Yet, history tells us that companies often lose interest in resilience as crises fade. Few companies have systematically codified lessons learned and baked resilience into their organizations.
This is because too many organizations hold a narrow view of resilience as mainly ensuring short-term, operational continuity during crises. True resilience is more expansive: It’s a company’s capacity to absorb stress, recover critical functionality, and thrive in new circumstances. Resilience is not merely an operational consideration — it’s a potential strategic advantage that enables companies to capitalize on opportunities when competitors are least prepared.
In order to build truly resilient organizations, leaders first must understand five myths that may be holding them back.
Myth #1: Resilience is mainly a supply chain issue.
Reality: Resilience is essential in all key organizational functions.
Disrupted supply chains and shipment delays are conspicuous and immediate, but a sole focus on acute crisis management skews the narrative. When resilience is baked into all key functions — from finance, to IT, to customer service — companies can restore functionality and performance much more rapidly and effectively.
Myth #2: Resilience is synonymous with risk mitigation.
Reality: Resilience is as much about enabling of upside as protecting against downside risks.
Resilience reduces the immediate impact of crises by enabling companies to anticipate, prepare for, and cushion against shocks. However, resilience also enables companies to respond to crisis in opportunistic ways, thrive in new circumstances, and shape the competitive environment to their advantage.
Myth #3: Resilience is mainly an operational consideration.
Reality: Resilience is strategic.
Many leaders today undervalue resilience, believing it to be only valuable in a limited and non-recurring set of circumstances. Resilience provides value not only during but also long after a crisis has receded. It can create competitive advantage in several ways, such as:
Differentiating service through greater reliability
Capitalizing on transient opportunities, such as favorable talent and acquisition markets
Gaining market share with new offerings fitting new circumstances
Myth #4: Resilience is a cost to the business.
Reality: Resilience is a driver of value.
Resilience provides substantial future benefit if invested preemptively. Building the required operational redundancy, modularity, diversity, and adaptive capability requires embracing a tradeoff against near-term efficiency. Challenges in measuring the long-term value of resilience with traditional metrics lead many leaders to make myopic decisions that effectively over-value short-run efficiency.
However, analysis of the impact of resilience over a 25-year period shows that it delivers differentiated long-term performance value. Although crises occurred in only 11% of quarters, relative total shareholder return (TSR) during those times accounted for 30% of a company’s long-run relative TSR. In other words, performance during crisis periods has almost three times the impact of performance during stable periods.
Myth #5: Crises are too infrequent and unique to warrant investment in resilience.
Reality: Companies need resilience to navigate an increasingly volatile world.
Resilience can enable companies to prepare for and respond better to future shocks, whether those be pandemics, geopolitical conflicts, effects of climate change, cybersecurity threats, industry-specific disruptions, or other unpredicted challenges.
In our increasingly volatile world, exogenous crises may become more frequent, but damage and disadvantage is not inevitable. Leaders must prepare to effectively lead their organization through both stable and unstable periods alike.
Building a Resilient Organization
In order to build systematic resilience into their organizations, leaders must take seven critical actions.
1. Adopt an expanded view of resilience.
Consider resilience both a strategic opportunity and an operational imperative. Build resilience into each business function by assessing the impact of lost or reduced functionality and adopting a tailored approach to address it.
2. Recognize and address the tradeoff between long-term resilience and short-term efficiency.
Under-investing in efficiency can cause a crippling lack of competitiveness, while under-investing in resilience can cause corporate failure or long-term competitive disadvantage. Leaders cannot justify and calibrate resilience efforts until they address this challenge head on.
3. Shift your mindset.
View crises as inevitable disruptions to be prepared for, managed, and leveraged for competitive opportunity, rather than infrequent one-off events to be defended against ad hoc. Such a shift will help the organization to make proactive and future-oriented decisions during crisis that allow it to thrive in and shape the post-crisis landscape.
Build resilience across multiple timescales by applying six key principles:
Anticipate future shocks using a prudence principle.
Prudence: While the future may not be precisely forecastable, downside scenarios can be plausibly envisioned. Develop early warning systems to spot shifts and utilize contingency planning and war gaming to prepare intellectually and behaviorally for these possible futures.
Absorb impact by building redundancy, diversity, and modularity.
Redundancy: Maintain the right amount of absorptive capacity in the form of extra buffers (cash, inventory) or extra functionality (suppliers, manufacturing facilities). Duplication of elements may be inefficient in the short run but can provide a hedge against the unexpected.
Diversity: Invest in heterogeneity of key business elements (products, business models, ways of thinking) to make it possible to react to unexpected change and avoid correlated responses across a system, which can lead to total system failure.
Modularity: Loosely linked, separated modules (subsidiaries, plants, teams) can act like circuit breakers to help prevent the collapse of a system when one element is stressed.
Adapt to and reimagine new emerging environments.
Embeddedness: Align your company’s goals and activities with those of broader economic or social systems of which you’re a part. This will strengthen relationships with employees, customers, governments, and partners that can be relied on during crisis. It will also protect the company against “slow crises” — gradual drifts in attitudes and values, which can neutralize or damage a business model.
Adaptiveness: Exogenous change is often unplannable and requires an adaptive approach comprising of experimentation, selection, and amplification of successful outcomes. Plan dynamically and reallocate capital as circumstances change.
Imagination: Beyond adaptation, seek to be the driver rather than the victim of change by proactively reimagining businesses and shaping business environments.
6. Model leadership behaviors.
Systematically adopting resilience requires a cultural shift. The over-fixation on short-run efficiency, engrained through business education, workplace culture, backward-looking metrics, and misaligned incentives, can be hard to overcome. Leaders must reinforce the change by being a vocal champion for resilience and institutionalizing the learnings from recent crises.
7. Contribute to improving the resilience of the societal systems on which your businesses depends.
As the Covid-19 pandemic made all too clear, leaders and their organizations do not operate in a vacuum. They both influence and are influenced by the societies in which they are embedded. Businesses can’t succeed as society fails. Resilience is a property of integrated systems, not parts of systems like individual companies or business units. Business therefore needs to play a role in larger issues beyond traditional corporate boundaries. Leaders should look to reduce the volatility and fragility of the systems and societies on which they depend, reinforcing the social fabric through efforts like reducing polarization, optimizing for both societal and business value, and reimagining business models for sustainability.
The Covid-19 pandemic was not the first test of businesses resilience and the Ukraine crisis will not be the last. Businesses must act now to institutionalize resilience before the lessons of these crises fade, leaving them unprepared for the next ones.
Elon Musk said Sunday he “somewhat agonized” over the font designs for his companies Tesla and SpaceX.
The billionaire businessman added he “loves fonts” and has tweaked the logos over the years.
He revealed the SpaceX logo also holds a hidden meaning, representing a rocket’s arc to orbit.
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In a series of Sunday tweets, Elon Musk said he “somewhat agonized” over his choice of fonts for his businesses and revealed a hidden meaning behind the SpaceX logo.
Responding to a tweet about serif and sans-serif fonts, the billionaire businessman took a break from posting cryptic memes and discussing politics to say he loves fonts and put significant consideration into how his companies are presented to consumers.
“I somewhat agonized over the Tesla & SpaceX font design (love fonts tbh),” Musk tweeted. “There are some similarities, particularly use of negative space. We’ve made many little tweaks over the years.”
The Tesla logo — a T-shaped design with a custom, sans-serif font spelling out the brand name — is meant to resemble a cross-section of an electric motor. The SpaceX logo, written in a similar font with an extended X, references the reusable rockets made by the company.
“The swoop of the X is meant to represent the rocket’s arc to orbit,” Musk tweeted.
Other business logos have also held hidden messages: Baskin Robbins, a chain that sells 31 flavors of ice cream, has a secret ’31’ hidden in the letters of its logo. Likewise, Amazon’s arrow logo is meant to represent a smile, while the circular ‘B’ logo for Beats by Dre represents a person wearing the popular headphones.
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The internet has revolutionized the business world and changed how we conduct business. Any business that aims to increase its visibility and boost profit needs to pay much attention to top ranking factors, including local SEO — which introduces the topic of the local search algorithm.
Local SEO is one of the top practices that help boost a business’s visibility and generates more sales.
However, achieving better local SEO rankings is not a walk in the park, especially due to increased competition. To appear higher on local results, businesses and marketers need to understand how the local search algorithm works.
Knowing this helps guide the steps for improving rankings in the local pack.
The competition gets stiffer as more businesses open and optimize for local searching. Besides, Google is updating its algorithm consistently, meaning only businesses that can keep up with these updates can appear at the top of local search results.
Luckily, you have come to this post as this article looks at everything you need to know about Google’s local search algorithm and what you can do to get that top spot in the local pack.
Understanding the local search algorithm
Google aims to provide the best results that match a specific local search query. It constantly updates the local search algorithm to determine which business to rank on top of local search results.
Ideally, Google wants to provide local content that is relevant and valuable to users. As with search engine optimization, keyword stuffing cannot give you that top spot in local search results.
SEO specialists and marketers should consider Google’s local search algorithm updates and make the necessary changes to rank higher. Failure to consider these updates means losing your local search presence, resulting in fewer leads and conversions.
Local algorithms check the Google My Business (GMB) listings to determine where to rank a business in local search rankings.
Ideally, Google’s local algorithm ranks businesses with information that matches a searcher’s query. And the higher a business ranks in local search results, the more chances a potential customer will click on it.
This post looks at the three major pillars that determine local search results to better understand the local search algorithm: proximity, prominence and relevance.
Of course, other factors make up Google’s local search algorithm, but since we cannot identify all of them, we’ll focus on the most crucial ones in this post.
By understanding these pillars, marketers can better position themselves for local search success.
Proximity is one of the major ranking factors when it comes to local search. That means the distance between a business and a searcher is a ranking factor in local search.
When a searcher searches for something, Google considers how far the searcher is from the location of the term they use in the search. When a searcher doesn’t specify the location, Google calculates the distance based on the information they have regarding their location.
Ideally, Google aims to provide the most relevant results to a search query. For instance, why would Google provide a list of coffee shops in Los Angeles if the searcher is searching from Colombia?
That would be irrelevant local search results that won’t benefit the searcher.
Unfortunately, while proximity is a major local search pillar, it’s one of the factors that businesses have little control over. After all, you cannot change where your business is located, right?
You can only ensure your business location is as clear as possible, so that it appears for related nearby queries. Here are steps you can take to achieve this:
Claim and verify the Google My Business listing
Ensure local listings are accurate and optimized for local products or services
Get the Google Maps API Key and optimize for your location and routes
Set up your profile correctly (for Service Area Businesses) to avoid violating Google’s guidelines
Users can perform several types of local searches, including:
Users will perform geo-modified searches when they are planning to visit somewhere. For instance, a searcher in Los Angeles planning to visit Toronto, Canada, may search for a “coffee shop in Oakville.” The results will differ from if they searched for “coffee” while physically in Oakville.
To be specific, geo-modified searches are mainly based on relevance and prominence as opposed to proximity when a user searches for something when outside the city included in the search.
Searchers perform this type of search when looking for something around them. For instance, a user in Los Angeles performing a local search for “coffee.”
Ideally, the user only needs to search for something and is shown results based on proximity. They will get the results that are closest to them.
“Near me” searches
“Near me” searches have been so popular in recent years. Although their popularity has significantly declined, users still perform this type of search when looking for something locally.
For instance, some users could add “near me” when searching for a coffee shop, hoping to get the most relevant results near them. As we’ve stated, this trend has lost popularity because when you perform a local search, you are searching for something near you.
It is not necessary to add “near me” to what you’re searching.
Prominence refers to how important Google thinks your business is, which gets factored into the local search algorithm.
In other words, it refers to how well a business stands from the rest in various aspects, including directories, links, reviews, mentions, among other things.
If search engines view your business as trustworthy and credible, they will likely show it on top of related search query results.
The local search algorithm views businesses/brands with a stronger online prominence as credible and trustworthy. Some of the factors that determine prominence include:
A local citation is the mention of a business’s information online. The mention can include the partial or complete name, address, and phone number (NAP) of a local business.
Citations are an excellent way for people to learn about local businesses and impact local search results.
A business with high-quality citations can rank better in local search results, although businesses must continually manage citations to ensure data accuracy.
Backlinks play a crucial role in local business prominence. Gaining relevant backlinks from high-quality sites is an excellent way to build a business’ online reputation.
If you’re trying to outrank your competitors without much success, your backlink profile could be the reason.
In that case, you should check your competitor’s backlinks and compare them with yours. When doing this, pay attention to the number and quality of their backlinks.
As a rule of thumb, aim to have high-quality local backlinks pointing to your site to improve your page’s authority.
Next, you need to pay much attention to reviews to improve local prominence. Many customers look at a business’s online reviews before deciding whether to engage more with the business or not. Besides, many positive online reviews can increase a business’ ranking factors.
Consider this scenario. A potential customer is looking for a pub around Oakville. When they perform a search, they are presented with two results: one with over 100 reviews and another with less than 10 reviews.
Which business do you think the searcher would trust? The one with 100 reviews, obviously.
As with search engines, customers need to trust a business before they decide to do business with it. Similarly, search engines can view online reviews and analyze them to determine a business’s online prominence.
That said, here are strategies you can use to boost your online review signals:
Have a strategy
You won’t have a strong online prominence if your products or services are not of a high standard. So, the first step to having many great reviews is to develop great products and services.
After that, develop a strategy to encourage your happy customers to leave honest but valuable reviews of their experience doing business with you to help boost your online reputation.
Monitor and manage the reviews
Having many reviews is one thing; you need to develop a plan to engage with your customers for better results. Responding to reviews shows people that you care and are genuine about your products and services.
People will avoid businesses that don’t respond to customer reviews (whether positive or negative).
Search engines, too, can tell whether you engage with customer reviews or not and will use the information to determine where to rank on local search results.
When responding to online reviews, pay special attention to negative reviews and how you respond to them. While no business likes getting negative reviews, how you respond to them can positively impact your business — respond positively to turn the negative reviews around.
As earlier stated, Google wants to provide the most relevant results to a local search query. This key ranking factor will determine a business’s position in local search results — how well does a local business match a search query?
Even if your business ticks the above pillars (prominence and proximity), if the content on your page isn’t well structured and doesn’t cover the topics that a searcher is looking for, you won’t appear on top of local search results.
Here are factors that businesses should consider to create a relevant listing:
Local page signals
Local listing categories and attributes
Social posts and responses to online reviews
Local listing signals and categories
A business GMB listing and category can impact its relevance score for local searches. As such, complete your business profile carefully and continually add quality content to the web page to ensure it is relevant for proximity searches.
More specifically, ensure that all information on all listing pages, including Yelp, Bing, and Google, is complete and accurate. Aside from these factors, here are two crucial features you should pay attention to:
Selecting the right categories for your local business listing is among the crucial factors for ranking locally. With over 4000 GMB categories, you want to choose categories that best describe your business — ensure they are relevant and specific.
Here are guidelines to follow when selecting a category:
Describe your business as opposed to your services
Be specific to minimize competition
Reduce the number of GMB categories to describe your business better
Without a proper description, users won’t know what your business is about. This section is about adding an introduction to your business so that customers and search engines can know more about your business.
However, don’t use this section for marketing your business. Just give users and search engines descriptive info that can help determine whether your business matches their needs.
Local page signals
Another way a business can improve its standing in the local search algorithm is by optimizing web pages for specific keywords. For multi-location businesses, it’s essential to have separate, localized pages for each location, with relevant information and contact details for customers to reach you.
Performing competitor research is advisable to determine what terms or keywords to use for a specific query. Here are top on-page signals to consider when trying to gain relevance for a given topic:
Keyword research — Before creating local content, you need to find keywords that matter to your business. Perform keyword research to determine highly relevant keywords with high intent. When finding relevant terms to use in your content, base your research on the customer perspective; think about what they search for and the type of content they are looking for.
Create local content — After finding the right keywords, it’s time to create your content. Google values the quality of content more than the length of the content, so keep this in mind when creating content. Another crucial thing to pay attention to is localizing the content. For example, you can create content on local news and events or use your city’s name within your content.
The goal is to create a connection between what’s happening in your local area and your business. Also, use pictures with your specific geolocation to increase your content relevance.
Creating quality and relevant content is only the start. You need to optimize your content for on-page signals so local search algorithms can discover and rank them better. Here’s how you can optimize your local content for on-page signals:
Meta descriptions — Include keywords in your meta descriptions to encourage searchers to click through and increase visibility
Title tags — Title tags are some of the factors that search engines use to determine where to rank content. Incorporating keywords naturally in your title tags can help boost local rankings
Image tags — Another way to improve local rankings is by including relevant keywords in your image tags. Including geotags also comes with an added advantage
Headings — Users and Google value pages with clear structures. Consider creating headings within your content to capture readers’ attention and encourage them to read on. However, ensure your heading tags describe the content that comes after them well. Also, include keywords in your heading tags to help search engines understand them and their importance.
Off-page local signals
Gaining high-quality backlinks is a great way to boost credibility and trust. Backlinks refer to external links from another website to your site. Aim to have more high-quality backlinks to boost your website authority.
Ideally, having many quality backlinks shows search engines that your website or page is credible and trustworthy, which boosts the chances of ranking it higher in search engine results.
Guest posting is one of the best examples of link-building strategies you can use. Finding great guest posting opportunities provides an excellent opportunity to share your content to a new but relevant audience, which helps boost your website authority.
Another strategy you can use is to create longer and better content than what is already available on the web. When your content is high quality and relevant, it will be easier to get high-quality backlinks.
Review and social signals
Online reviews can also help boost relevance for your local business. Aim to get as many positive reviews from your happy customers as possible.
Remember, when customers perform a local search, they get not only the relevant businesses but also reviews related to the search. The more positive reviews a business has, the higher chances a potential customer will do business with them.
Closing thoughts on the local search algorithm
Ranking on top of local search results can seem daunting, but it shouldn’t when you know the vital things to focus on. As you have seen above, the local algorithm is based on three pillars: relevance, proximity, and prominence.
Of course, other factors determine local search rankings depending on your industry and competition.
Ah, email. Why did you send my friend’s birthday party invite to my spam folder? Why do you make it so easy to archive an email when I don’t even know what that means? Why are you … blue now … Gmail?
Email is a necessary evil. So whenever I hear about startups looking to innovate on the decades-old communication tech, I’m instantly intrigued considering the huge number of potential areas of improvement. Plus, talk about a large TAM!
Startups have taken note. Boomerang launched its email productivity software in 2010, and since its 2014 launch, Superhuman has raised $108 million to help users get through their inbox faster. Trying to build a better email mousetrap isn’t exactly a novel concept, but it could be big business.
I recently received pitches from two new upstarts, both of which launched their email innovations in the last year, that really piqued my interest. Let’s meet them.