Open for business?
So everyone reaches a place where you feel like you are in your own version of Groundhog Day reliving your waking hours in the same way… drop off the kids, pour a cup of coffee, power up the laptop, etc. Nothing is bad; in fact, it is quite good and satisfying in a very predictable sort of way. Know what to expect and no surprise – you always meet expectations. What human being doesn’t love that? It protects us from that fear of the new and uncharted and certainly that fear of – dare I say it – failure.
Business can be that way too. We keep doing what works, keep delivering what’s expected, but then there comes a moment when you realize real growth happens when we retool, reinvent and oh yeah try something in that fearful place called “new.” When we are caught in the throes of an economy that tramples companies big and small every day – it is the crafty, agile and creative sorts that come out on top. In the fall 2010 issue of Marketing Management, Robert Malcolm consultant, lecturer and marketing industry guru said, “We are witnessing the most rapidly changing, most potentially confusing and possibly the most exciting time to be in the marketing field.” He added that most marketers are scrambling to catch up and, “the most advanced companies have open minds to trying, failing, learning and evolving.” So, are you open?
I attended a conference in the fall that showcased some great “re-invention” artists and their stories. IBM is a great example, took their tried-and-true logo and changed it up to better market the assets of its commercial division. The company added life to its hallmark letters with color and photography that better illustrated its brand and the sheer scale of what they offer. Company leaders saw to it that their new “style” was also matched by the service they delivered, incorporating that culture into the way they interact with customers – it happens naturally. This change in thinking packed a powerful one-two punch internally and externally. It strengthened its commercial division and has been reaping the rewards since. Representatives of the company said, “…what seems to be missing is a channel to express corporate character…the brand system is a combination of culture and brand and the mission is to articulate it and activate it.” That is a radical change from the classic horizontal lines of the standard logo.
And some changes don’t even come in just the physical design; they come in the approach. How about advertising without buying 30 seconds of airtime, a full-page spread or a banner on a website? If you just asked yourself, “Is there really something more than that?” then, well, we need to talk. It does exist and I can tell you right now, you are missing out. Conversations are being had about your business whether you participate or not. Your prospects are telling your story. What have you done to influence it? Sitting behind the desk and checking off to-do lists just won’t cut it anymore.
Okay, but really – so what? These guys had some success but why should I leave my corner of the world to pursue all that? Let’s face it, somewhere in between dropping off the kids and powering up the laptop, the game changed. Now why did it have to go and do that? Just when we were getting cozy with our coffee and our expectation-meeting… Simply put, it’s time to grow again. And your prospects want you to – they need you to – reach out to them in different ways. Yes it is uncomfortable, but it is powerful and the new energy you see in your people and your business will remind you everyday how very wise you were to take a leap and how the discomfort of change really is worth it. So, go ahead get uncomfortable – be OPEN for business.