This Forbes.com article: The single trait that can build or (or kill) your brand, initially troubled me. I couldn’t pin down exactly why I found the assertion that you need ingenuity to succeed (or avoid failure), sensing with some dissatisfaction that concept does not itself create a pathway to action or real change.
Than I thought so me more, and realized that ingenuity in many ways translates to differentiation — that classic marketing concept from Reis and Trout that if you are not first, you are out of the game. And indeed, effective ingenuity gives you the route to that all-important differentiation.
Writer Steve Olenski quoted Julie Lyle, chairman of the board of the Global Retail Marketing Association, as saying she has found in her career that most successful people have an insatiable curiosity for nearly everything around them, as well as courage and influencing skills to challenge the status quo. Ingenious people are always watching, listening, wondering.
“First, they wonder why that is the way it is?” she says. “They wonder what makes a customer do what they do? They wonder how that business model or product works? Secondly, they ask themselves: I wonder if I could do that differently? I wonder if it would be faster/more efficient if I partnered with another? I wonder if I should approach this problem from a different angle to find a better solution?”
Lyle adds these are the characteristic foundations for ingenuity and they fuel the brightest and most creative minds that are shaping our world. “They are the same characteristics that inspire ingenious people to question themselves and their own ideas, such that failure does not stop them in their tracks.”
“Instead, they see failure as a minor setback, and more often, as an opportunity to look at the problem from a different perspective to find an even better solution. Ingenious people inherently challenge themselves as much as they challenge the world and processes that they see around them. And, we all benefit from their view and the actions that ingenuity inspires.”
In other words, we succeed by questioning the status-quo, assumptions and routines and have the courage to reshape and refresh our branding messages and practices.
But this is never going to be easy to do. After all, the process of building a valuable brand implies some stability and reputation and do we want to ditch it for an unknown better mousetrap. However, if we don’t consistently question and search and have curiosity about the future, our brands will indeed become stale.