Are the old ways still the best?
Editorial

Are the old ways still the best?

It’s tempting to jump on the ‘disruption’ bandwagon – but not being innovative can be something to shout about too.

Every company wants its customers to believe it is innovative: probably that it is more innovative than the competition. Hardly surprising – after all, you wouldn’t claim to be ‘second-most ethical’ or ‘fifth-most profitable’. Everyone wants to be perceived as the best.

And we all assume that customers want us to be top-notch at everything – including innovation. But do they really?

In the early part of their careers, most people have never come up with an award-winning campaign – it takes a while to get there. But that’s ok. A lot of the businesses that employ marketing professionals aren’t looking for prizes and platitudes, they want measurable results and steady growth,

Keep in minds that this principle is the same with customers. Though there are some early-adopters who demand the newest, brightest, most cutting-edge products, most don’t want businesses to innovate, reconfigure or disrupt at all, let alone be the best at it. They pick our companies to provide them with particular products and services. They want those things to be delivered to them reliably, and they want the marketing around them to be enticing and, at the root, honest, so their expectations match reality.

If a focus on innovation is distracting from delivering this for your customers – very possible, especially with a big, transformative project – then it might be time to scrap it.

This doesn’t even have to be a scary commitment. After all, traditional methods of marketing are still often the most effective.

The decision not to innovate doesn’t mean you should stop talking about innovation. In fact, not being innovative at all can be something to shout about.

Many organisations are already benefiting from a marketing strategy based around celebrating traditional practices and products. Jack Daniels’ advertising around the values of the whiskey’s much-mythologised inventor; John Lewis’s emphasis on quality customer service and its long-established ownership structure; Marmite sticking with the old ‘love it or hate it’ concept for year after year; Tetley talking about the Britishness of the time-honoured cuppa; examples abound. And with studies showing the value of authenticity to modern consumers, this can be an good alternative to trying to stay at the bleeding edge.

If not innovating at all is what works for your brand, then don’t panic. Commit to it, celebrate it, and reap the benefits.

Rob Coston Reporter CPL
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