How do you cause a disturbance? Shake up the marketplace?
It begins by tapping into the emotions and psyche of the consumer. Take the Budweiser Superbowl TV spot about the man that raised and trained a Budweiser Clydesdale horse and gave him up to be a part of the Budweiser team. The horse never forgot his trainer, and sought him out by cantering down the street to find him after a parade. They share a ‘hug’, and the consumer feels heart-warmed by their happy reunion. Just about everyone felt touched by this commercial, and thereby touched by the brand as well. Everyone who saw the commercial in real-time talked about it, and many who didn’t see it live, looked it up later on YouTube. This is the essence of causing a disturbance.
While the phrase is often (over) used, it’s hard for people to think outside of the box. I tell them to start very simply. Turn off of your computer, your iPhone or your iPad because the answers aren’t in your screensavers or mobile devices. Tilt your head up slightly and observe the world around you. Inspiration and ideas start with observation. Attend events, business groups and round tables. Most of all, talk to and be inspired by new people.
The ideas don’t have to be earth shattering. They just have to delight the senses or sensibilities of your market. After all, the cakepop is just a really little piece of cake dipped in chocolate coating and held up by the timeless popsicle stick. Just like that, you have take-out cake, a very small tweak to a favourite treat that puts big smiles on people’s faces.
How can you further delight your customer and keep them engaged? What else can you sell to them? It could be a product, a process or a service. So, don’t be afraid to shake it up. Today, more than ever, you have to be engaging and re-engaging your customers with things that are new and interesting.
That’s innovation. It’s as simple as that. Have an idea and bring it to market in a way that delights customers and keeps them coming back to you!
How will you shake up your bowl of oats?
Listen to the radio interview that this article is based on below.
Guest blog by Norman Oulster, advertising writer and father.
One of my most memorable brushes with innovative thinking was when my son was in third or fourth grade. His teacher, instead of asking her students to collect different kinds of leaves, asked them to look at the bark of different kinds of trees and tell the class what they saw. This diabolically brilliant and simple exercise wasn’t designed to teach her class how to distinguish a larch from a linden. It was designed to encourage the kids to hold on to their ability to see everyday things around them with fresh eyes.
The bark on trees, like many other things we see every day, eventually becomes invisible. Our brains don’t see it as a threat or food, as a mating or financial opportunity, so we tune it out, the same way we tune out so many of the commercial messages, processes and even people in our lives. My son’s teacher was trying to reverse that sensory triage.
That teacher taught me that you never know where you’re going to find innovators or what they’re going to look like. They can be introverted or off the wall. They can be hard workers or bone lazy. They can be CEOs or part time workers on the loading dock. But the one thing they all have in common is curiosity.
People who believe that they know everything don’t ask questions. Theirs is a world of certainty as they doggedly recycle the processes and policies that worked yesterday. Innovators tend to look at life from the opposite perspective. They don’t see the status quo… they see works in progress. Whether through brilliance or just plain old contrariness, innovators look at something and wonder why it is the way it is.
Curiosity is the same engine that powers learning and innovation. Curiosity lets innovators take the same information that others have and find new meaning in it. Curiosity gives our brains permission to see familiar things, examine how they look and what they do and then boldly re-imagine them.
I still look at tree trunks and notice the amazing ways they’re packaged. Some bark is smooth, some is like wide-wale corduroy, some reminds me of the plates on a stegosaurus. In a way, trees stand as a reminder in my work to try to look at everything with curiosity and with fresh eyes. I mentioned the tree assignment to my son the other day and asked him if he remembered it. He looked at me as if I was barking mad.
Want your business to be more innovative in 2013? Make these five resolutions
Ken Tencer, CEO of Spyder Works Inc. and co-author of two books, The 90% Rule and Cause A Disturbance (to be released in 2013), speaks to groups around the world about branding and innovation. He is a relentless advocate of how easy and simple innovation can be for any business. He offers five easy-to-do New Years’ resolutions for anyone who wants to be a breakthrough innovator in 2013.
Stop, look and listen
The world is filled with insight and inspiration. If you take the time to look and listen, you will discover ideas that can easily be transformed into new innovations for your business. Just get outside your business and your comfort zone and see what others are doing.
Resolution: In each month of 2013 have each member of your management team find at least three new ideas from outside the business.
Build a backboard
Everyone needs a backboard to bounce ideas off. And you can’t score if you don’t fire up a lot of ideas. So get your team together once a month to bounce new ideas around and see which ones score best.
Resolution: To create a backboard for your team and have them fire up as many new ideas as possible and pick the best “slam-dunks.”
Be your own apprentice
Don’t be Donald Trump’s “apprentice,” be your own, and jump into your own Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den by testing your best ideas. See which of your team’s top ideas can meet a rigorous due diligence test.
Resolution: To invest the necessary due diligence each month to determine the best opportunities and present them as working projects.
Choose a champion
Every good idea needs a great champion in order to turn it into an active project that can become a commercial success.
Resolution: To champion innovation opportunities and treat them with the same rigour as you would any ‘traditional’ project in your company.
Money isn’t the only thing that counts but counting the things that generate money is critical to every innovative idea.
Resolution: To establish metrics for each new innovation in order to measure its return on opportunity.
If you make and keep these five simple resolutions, 2013 will be a happy, innovative new year. For how to do it; talk to Ken Tencer.