Loops are the things that companies do over and over again. Business as usual. Business as boring. Every business has loops. Some are driven by fear, some by tradition, some by distraction, some by lack of awareness or industry convention. Loops affect how we think, how we work, how far we venture and how we seek to make change. In the process, they stifle creativity. The secret to breaking those loops, and achieving astonishing innovation, is unthinking.
We hear a lot about how fast and how much the world is moving. But when companies pursue innovative ideas to cater to what they think is consumers’ fascination with the new and shiny, reactions can be mixed. The trap for marketers in this is that there are different types of “newness”: from the ‘new’ people queue for, talk about, and go mad on social networks over to the ‘new’ that bewilders, confuses, worries, or even confronts.
The concept of failing fast is one we associate readily with start-ups. But if successful brands need to constantly evolve to stay successful, and presumably not every evolutionary move will be a success, how should top companies plan for when things don’t go to plan?
Every brand decision is a negotiation between what has worked to date and what is required to succeed going forward.
Many Roads, One Goal is based on my most popular blog post ever. It’s about why it takes more than one strategy to find the best strategy and how you can develop a portfolio of strategies to overcome challenging times, implement and test them in batches, and then manage the portfolio down from many to whatever the market has revealed works best.
This article in the New Yorker recently revealed that the iconic Got Milk? campaign actually failed to reverse declining milk consumption and has now been all but scrapped. It’s a reminder to all of us who create and promote ideas that awareness (to the point of ubiquity), even for an idea that’s good for us and makes sense, is no guarantee of success.
Thomson Dawson wrote a provocative and challenging article about “devastating innovation”. Brands that weren’t prepared to innovate far beyond their comfort zone, he suggested, would be devastated in the blink of an eye. What’s more, the fallout from such innovation would reach far beyond immediate competitors to wither those who never would have imagined they were at risk.
At the AG Ideas Business Breakfast held in Melbourne way back in 2012, Mauro Porcini, Chief Design Officer, 3M pitched an emerging social scenario that would in time lead to the experience war we have today; one where consumers are not just savvy, expert and demanding, but also are difficult to categorise and understand.