Sometime, about 400,000 years ago, our ancestors mastered fire. This phenomenal breakthrough changed our diets, extended our days, unleashed our imaginations and inspired us to ponder about the heavens.
Today, our world is very different. We live in flattened world - both metaphorically and psychologically. Our body and mind has never, ever been so fragmented before. Our body remains in physical space, while the brain travels in a virtual space that is both nowhere and everywhere at once. Our nervous system is getting bombarded by this pool of data, which is not influenced "just by the environment—as was the case for millennia—but abstractly, virtually."
We’ve re-imagined our firelight space. The "ALWAYS ON" Internet is now, our 'hangout space'. The sharing of information is fast, furious, unfiltered, and often very sloppy. We tend to remember where online information is located, rather than the information itself.... so much so, that the joke goes...“That’s why Google cares about driver less cars: It’s so we can search more on Google from the back seat.”
No doubt, our technology, our inventions have changed our minds and reconfigured the wiring of our synapses, priming us "for a different mode of living, problem-solving, and adapting. In the process, a tapestry of new thoughts arises, and one’s worldview changes." Today, our focus is helping you with this adaptation. The ideas furnished here should help you rinse off the mildew of mediocrity and get you thinking about how your business have to adapt to the changing times.
Be on the Forefront of RE-IMAGINATION
I know it is easier said than done.
However, when you realize that a NASA put a person on the moon at a time when it sounded like science fiction with a single cultural mantra of "Failure is not an Option", it gives us hope and inspires us to be more.
Very few can deny that more often than not, we show up as exhibitors and event producers without having an overarching mission that we have set out to accomplish. We do not know how to make best use of the venue. We do not know much about the attendees, who we are catering to. We show up with our same old branded materials, with the same spiel, and we expect to take home a bag full of leads. Hence, the first order of the day is, energize your brand before you show up at trade shows.
Embrace this: People do not want more information from you
They want faith in you, your success, your goals, your mission... Once they make your mission, their mission, you have tapped into the powerful force of faith.
Before committing to an event schedule inject some energy into your brand. If you can layer with value driven technology, you are ahead of the game.
The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer - Cosmetics Caring for a Cause. When you are in the same business, as ten thousand other companies, how do you justify your existence?
Sephora’s BeautyTalk provides an opportunity for women to discuss and trade beauty tips, while providing the brand access to deep user metrics. This has energized the brand to stay in the forefront of innovation. Know where you stand amongst your rivals. Work from there.
Palo Alto Networks is a new comer in the space where Cisco is the reigning giant. Yet, "It is assessed as a Leader, mostly because of its NGFW design, direction of the market along the NGFW path, consistent displacement of competitors, rapidly increasing revenue and market share, and market disruption that forces competitors in all quadrants to react." Gartner. If you are an underdog, re-imagine your offering. No point crowding the over crowded space. That is how "I WILL" gathered the kind of momentum that it did.
RE-IMAGINE YOUR OFFERINGS
Before committing to an event schedule, think about the stories you are going to weave for a certain set of attendees and how they relate to your offerings. "A great brand is a story that is never completely told."
More often than not, companies consider their logo the be all and end all of brand implementation. By failing to delve deeper into this “potential power,” companies fail to capitalize on reinforcing their specific set of values. Simply put, "a good brand does more than establish a visual language; it creates an immersive experience for every person who enters their space or who works with their products. For example, Home Depot, supplies volunteer home builders, some of the materials, and supports in raising money and awareness for Habitat for Humanity. By doing so, Home Depot has developed an eco-system that extends beyond the everyday offerings.
Steve Jobs, sure was the face of Apple. But, more importantly he was the wisdom-keeper of the mission 'Think Different". He knew how to drive brand offering. The result – Humanization of Technology. “It is in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.”
Such platitudes may be common in Silicon Valley, where shiny gadgets and lofty language goes hand in hand. But what set all of Jobs’s companies apart, from Pixar to NeXT to Apple, was, indeed, a required commandment, that computer scientists must work together with artists and designers—that the best ideas reside at the cross roads of technology and humanities.
RE-IMAGINE YOUR LONG-TERM INTERESTS
If you happen to be a start up looking for a quick buy out, it would be futile to read any further. However, if you are a start up, who have dared to imagine in bringing about some disruptive changes, then, by all means this is for you.
Plan out a 3 year show schedule with all the decision makers and your core customers. Chart out the journey and that should lay out your path of progression. It is your job to cut through the noise and move people. Technology has given us all the channels, all the tools, all the data. You still need to come up "with the gem of a notion, the single idea that will unlock it all.”
40 Years in Making.
“The most important right we have is the right to be responsible.”
This powerful mission statement helped Patagonia in the last 4 decades to create business out of environmental stewardship and social responsibility. Patagonia is a member of 1% for the Planet and they are a Certified Benefit Corporation. It developed leadership in reporting transparency, responsible marketing, employee engagement and consumer education. In doing so, it created new industries and a thriving eco-sphere where other environmentally oriented start-ups are nurtured and encourage to thrive. The story goes...
“About thirty years ago, we were in Bozeman, Montana for an employee conference. We told the staff at our hotel not to change the sheets and towels every day. The front page of the Bozeman newspaper runs the headline, “Hotel Guests Reject Clean Sheets.” It was great advertising, yes. But this was way before anyone thought of doing this to save the environment.”
A Brand is What a Brand Does.
Making the Opposites Work: Modern commitment to growth and reducing consumption was the challenge that the brand faced as it developed and matured. "What do we tell customers who accuse us of hypocrisy?" The answer was Don't Buy This Jacket. Patagonia did not stop there. Their more recent adventure, was a well thought out tryst with technology and human emotion. The Result: Stories We Wear.
Your PATH TO RE-IMAGINATION
There are any paths to reach a certain destination. And, this that I coin out is one of the many.
1. Seek out your exiting customers and ask them how they perceive your brand.
2. Give them a guideline that they can work with.
Quality: How do they judge your product. It is your job to find out how does their perceived quality compare to the actual quality.
Authority: How do you demonstrate your authority in the space. Customers judge authority using three dimensions – expertise (which includes innovation), trustworthiness, and (believe it or not) likability.
Viability: Find out how relevant your product is to their unique needs.
Superiority: Find out how superior your brand is compared to your competition.
Once, your customers have done this for you, now you have a strategy, that you can develop before you hit the show floor. However, reward these customers and provide them with enticing opportunities that will enhance their experience about your brand.
EMBRACE THIS. TECHNOLOGY HAS REPLACED A LOT OF FACE-TO-FACE ENCOUNTERS
Yet, we are not the most socially connected we’ve ever been—that was when we lived in small tribes. However, in our cells and instincts, we still crave that sense of belonging. Those with a strong social instinct survived to pass their genes along to the next generation. "We still follow that instinct by flocking to social media, which connects us to a vast multicultural human tribe—even though it isn’t always personal." You have aced it if you can make some personal connections at your events. That should be your mantra, your sole pledge. How do you do it? You re-invent your relationships with your brand, your product and your services into something that makes more sense.
The 21st century will see almost 1000 times more technological innovation than the twentieth. And to that end 2015, is and will continue to be another year of surge, surprise and advancement. It is our job to get a grasp of it, and make our brand more interesting, involving and invigorating.