We Need Something New


We've hit double figures this year with our 10th birthday so I've spent a pleasant few hours trawling our opinion archives and found this piece from July 2009. Despite the huge amount of changes that have happened since then I still believe that this holds true…   

I was asked the other day, by a potential client, what his business could do differently with its communication programme as he was looking for a unique way to advertise - ideally something that had never done before. Why? Because he didn't think the current campaigns were working as hard as they could be. So, rather than solving that problem, his instinct was to just start all over again.

When times get hard and we worry about the future it's natural to look for silver bullets and magic potions that will provide succour to our fevered brows. But why do people insist on discussing the new, the different and the never done before? I assume it's because they are bored of what they do or that they haven't listened to the needs of their customers.

This attitude does slightly baffle me as really there is nothing new. It may seem new on the face of it, but I can pretty much guarantee it's been done before. And if it hasn't, then it's probably not very good in the first place.

Instead of sitting in an ivory tower dreaming up new schemes, why not speak to customers to understand what improvements to a product, service or communication would most benefit them. Nine times out of ten customers don't want to reinvent the wheel; what they'll probably want are incremental improvements that show a business listens, cares and is willing to act for their benefit.  Customers don't want new - they want the best value for their time and money.

Was the Ipod new? Nope! It was simply a better MP3 player that was better designed, better communicated and boasted better access to lots of music. And those brands that have, at some point, positioned themselves as innovative and new, such as Apple, Virgin and Dyson are usually taking complex things and making them simple to understand, buy or fall in love with. In effect, they're simply making products and services better: better produced, better supported and better communicated.

Feel free to innovate but do it behind closed doors and inflict your new ideas on those you know and trust first and only bring them to the public when they actually improve the existing service, product or campaign. I can guarantee that they may be new to you but your customers will stifle a yawn and move on to the brand that consistently offers better.

All in all, my philosophy is when someone suggests doing something new, what they should really be saying is let's do it better than the competition. And the simplest, quickest and most impactful way to achieve that is to focus on improving your brand communications.


Last Updated: 28/04/2016
Author: Joe Chetcuti

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