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What Are You In A Hurry To Do?

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

In our world of infinite information and seemingly endless opportunities there’s a temptation to fill every moment—to make every available second a productive one. So we multitask. We eat at our desks instead of taking a break. We always listen to podcasts on our commute, neglecting to pay attention to what’s going on around us. We defer to experts for opinions or advice before stopping to question our values first. We aim to optimize every second because we fear missing out, all the while forgetting what we were actually in such a hurry to do.

Sometimes the best course of action is to do nothing. To give yourself a moment to think and remember why you started. Sometimes, probably more often than you realise, you are your own best guide. And occasionally standing still is the best optimization strategy.

Image by Geraint Rowland.

Why The Realistic Marketer Wins

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing, Success

Marketing shoulders heavy burden in any business regardless of size. We expect our marketing efforts to make more customers aware of our brand and to grab their attention. Not only that, we want our marketing to create trust, differentiate our products, communicate value and change people’s minds. Marketing must also convince strangers to choose us and part with their money. And we want it all to happen as quickly as possible with the minimal investment and effort.

This is a big ask, and it’s also the reason we fail when we prioritise tactics over a sustainable marketing strategy.

The realistic marketer doesn’t think this way. He doesn’t believe in quick wins and overnight successes. He obsesses about how to make positive changes in the lives of his customers before crafting clever copy. He learns to question how the people he cares about serving feel before expecting them to act. He puts values before virality and transparency before tactics. The realistic marketer intentionally sets out to make a difference one person at a time. He realises his urgent need does not motivate his potential customers. He understands that delight trumps data every day of the week, so he doubles down on making things people love, instead of trying to make people love the things he makes. The realistic marketer knows that trust scales and belonging is a competitive advantage, which is why he plans to play the long game.

The realistic marketing mindset is open to each one of us. We get to choose our attitudes and actions. It’s worth remembering what we prioritise today changes the impact we make tomorrow.

Image by Christopher Cook.

Who Do Good Ideas Come From?

filed in Innovation, Success

Everyone knows a good idea is a shortcut to success, profits and growth. Bad ideas lose. Good ideas win. This is why we are obsessed as a culture about where good ideas come from and how to have more of them. As we go in pursuit of a breakthrough idea we turn our gaze outward (but often not very far). We try using new tools and tactics or make changes to our environment in the hope that this will get our creative juices flowing. And then we increasingly look for proof in the data that our idea will work.

What Do All Good Ideas Have In Common?

There’s only one thing that every single idea from a recipe to a rocket has in common—and that’s a creator. Someone with a particular set of attributes who cared enough about solving a problem or creating change to come up with a solution. Why do we devote so many resources to optimising the environment to allow us to have more winning ideas, instead of wondering how we can improve our chances by changing ourselves.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
—Leo Tolstoy

We covet groundbreaking ideas, and we celebrate the people who have them. We believe in superstars and visionaries, in the power of Eureka! moments and special circumstances that set great ideas and their creators apart. Thousands of column inches are devoted to the singular genius of entrepreneurs like Sara Blakely, Richard Branson, John Lasseter, Elon Musk, James Dyson, Anita Roddick and Steve Jobs. Those who see and act on what others miss – the entrepreneurial pioneers who recognise opportunity as a hunch long before the world proclaims it as revolutionary. The supposed exceptions—not the rule.

Dollar Shave Club, the startup that disrupted the men’s grooming industry by selling quality razors direct to consumers at a cheaper price point, didn’t pioneer the invention of the disposable razor, and they weren’t the first company to use an ecommerce platform to reach customers. The CEO Michael Dubin’s role was to make the unexpected connections between the industry’s existing business model and a customer experience that left a lot to be desired – to create a brand that people would trust and become loyal to. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t invent online social networks. Anita Roddick wasn’t the first to create a skincare company. James Dyson didn’t patent the first vacuum cleaner. Arianna Huffington didn’t launch the first online news website. Someone else was there with the ideas first, but the people we celebrate and want to emulate had an inkling about how to breathe new life into those products by making them meaningful to those who would use them. It’s possible to become that kind of person intentionally.

Those successful entrepreneurs, creatives and innovators—people just like you—who have harnessed their curiosity, empathy and imagination, seeking out opportunities to invent, create and serve. Every day is filled with those opportunities either seized or missed, ours for the taking if only we can learn to listen for them. Every breakthrough idea starts not with knowing for sure but by understanding why it might be important to try.

My new book Hunch: Turn Your Everyday Insights Into The Next Big Thing invites you to learn from the successes of those who have gone before you. It gives you the tools to notice more and to understand how to recognise opportunities others miss and create something the world is waiting for. There are hundreds of books that can help you with the process of making ideas happen. This is the one you need before you get to the execution stage. It’s an invitation to pay attention to your hunches, reawaken skills you’ve neglected or forgotten, and develop new capabilities you need. It’s your guided practice to a new way of seeing the world and embracing your unique potential on the road to uncovering groundbreaking ideas. Intuition alone won’t tell you exactly where ‘X’ marks the spot, but it can give powerful clues as to where you might begin to dig. This is the book you need if you’re ready to begin finding them. You can preorder Hunch using the links below.

Preorder Hunch At These Retailers

Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Book Depository offers free international shipping.

Image by Ashley Rose.

The Value Question

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

What’s the one unanswered question you believe would unlock the most value in your business?

Why does it matter?

How would knowing the answer change your strategy?

Where can you find the information you need?

What’s stopping you?

Image by Derrick Story.

Problem Solving 2.0

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

Think of any one of the myriad of challenges you might face this week. Deliveries are taking longer than expected. There’s a rise in customers complaints. The new product isn’t selling as well as you’d hoped. Your team isn’t gelling.

The solution to almost every problem usually begins with the same question.
How can we get better at this? Nine times out of ten this is the wrong question to begin with, because often what you’re aiming to improve isn’t the real cause of the problem. The better place to start is by asking; What’s the simplest route to the outcome we want?

We fix what’s broken by getting crystal clear about exactly where we want to go—not by obsessing about what we think is in the way.

Image by Nicholas Canup.

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