KBB - November/December 2013 - (Page 16)
Are You Attracting or
Bouncing Off Your Customers?
Use innovation to build a sustainable business and gain an edge at trade shows
Step One: Find Your Touch Points
Touch points are any part of your business that interact with the outside world - business cards, contracts, voicemails, marketing pieces and
packaging. For instance, if you call and get voicemail at my company,
you'll hear my attempt to leverage innovation across all touch points. The
message asks the traditional name and number questions but also asks
"Who would play you in a movie?" While it's amazing how many of my
clients look like George Clooney and Jessica Alba, everybody who hears
the question remembers the call. You need to think about your work holistically, as a business, and just a hint of innovation across all touch points
big and small makes a difference.
A big touch point for your business is the showroom floor, as it is one
of the most important places to leverage innovation. I'll never forget the
bathroom designer who created custom-color, branded crayons to showcase the color options of a product instead of the typical color tiles or displaying all options at once. Buckets of crayons beautifully displayed drew
me to the area. And while my kids played with the crayons, I purchased
the product. I didn't expect to find crayons on a bathroom sink, but that
touch of innovation worked to draw me in.
Exercise: List out every touch point you have or could have with your
customers. If you have multiple verticals, list them all.
Step Two: Veer Off
Now that you've identified all your business touch points, list what everyone else in your industry is doing at each one. Then with a red pen in
big letters, write DO NOT DO. It know it sounds crazy, but think about it: If
you bring your designs to market, talk about the features and benefits
and present them in the same way as everyone else, why should your
potential customer pay attention to you, specifically? Unfortunately, in this
sensory-overload world, having a great product isn't enough. It's time to
veer off and figure out what you can do that's different.
Remember when Tom's Shoes came out with the break-through "Onefor-One" business model? For the first time, giving was part of the bottom
line, and for every pair of shoes purchased, one pair is given to a child
in need. This is virtually the opposite of what was going on in the shoe
category. How about when Zappos changed the game of online retail
by offering a completely different policy with free shipping and returns?
Again, the opposite of every other retailer with its tiered shipping options.
If everyone on the trade show floor has a mock room to showcase
products, can you do the opposite? After attending a home and garden show, the only booth I remembered was the one that didn't have a
kitchen counter or bedroom wall. Instead, it had tape on the floor and
a bunch of mini-stations spread out in the booth area. As I walked by,
I couldn't figure out what was going on, so I had to stop. It was a threeminute event that took me from idea inception to design work to final
product creation via 10 mini-stations set out around the booth. Because
it looked so different than everything else in the aisle, I had to know what
was going on, and so did a lot of other people.
Exercise: Write out where and how can you veer off from the crowd.
Step Three: Think Sideways
As a business owner, I'm often asked to speak about innovation and
business. The feedback I most often get is, "I agree, but thinking sideways
is so hard!" That's true when you've only used your right brain in one way
before or if you don't have the tools at your fingertips. Grab a pen and
blank piece of paper, and let's get started with a few exercises that are
sure to help you infuse sideways thinking across your entire business. I
suggest you look four ways.
Exercise: In the center of the page, write down your idea or challenge.
Then answer the following questions:
1. How would your favorite TV character solve this?
2. What would a five-year-old kid do?
3. What would my alter ego do?
4. If I did the opposite of what I normally do, what would happen?
Innovation is your competitive advantage. It will elevate and separate
you from the noise and make you attractive to your customers. n
- Tamara Kleinberg is the founder of TheShuuk.com and the author of
Think Sideways - a game-changing playbook for disruptive thinking.
November/December 2013 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com
Circle No. 11 or visit kbbonline.com/freeinfo for Sub-Zero/Wolf
Let's face it, trade show aisles are packed, and the marketplace is cluttered. Your customers are inundated with options, information and "newand-improved" messages. Their time and attention are stretched thin. So
how do you, a designer or company with an innovative product or service,
elevate and separate yourself from the competition?
You build a sustainable business - not just a product based on innovative thinking or a one-off design success. When you use innovation in your
design, packaging, sales pitch, marketing campaigns, customer service,
customer relations, online presence, etc., you create an innovative business with super sticky power. All it takes is three easy steps to make innovation your competitive advantage.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - November/December 2013
KBB - November/December 2013
Show Director’s Note
Celebrity Design with...Martha Stewart
Product Innovator Awards
KBIS Countdown to Design & Construction Week
KBB - November/December 2013