Through my various roles I’m exposed to a lot of new ideas and business concepts. Some come from clients looking to grow, others from entrepreneurs hoping to create the next big thing and still others, somewhat randomly, from connections within my network or who find me via my writing and speaking.
Regardless of how our worlds collide, I generally find that most proponents have a decent sense of the customers they intend to serve and almost everyone can clearly articulate the features and benefits of their idea. It’s all good, but it’s rarely enough.
While technology has advanced to the point where many ideas–including your competitors’–can be developed and scaled rapidly and inexpensively, saying you’re a “lean startup” doesn’t automatically convey any advantage. And in a world where customers are overwhelmed by information and choice, your marginally better mousetrap isn’t likely to get easily noticed, much less considered.
The real battle today, the one you need to win, is for attention and trust.
It’s helpful to have a demonstrably better product or service, but to standout out among all the noise, your signal needs to be amplified. And that happens by being intensely relevant and truly remarkable–not merely incrementally better–and by delivering a story that demands to be told, again and again.
Building trust takes time. But if you are serious about building a brand it’s completely about creating an expectation of excellence and emotional power over time. And average or slightly better no longer works.
The reason so many new products and brands struggle is they are merely slightly different rifts on the same old features and benefits. Nice, but hardly remarkable.
The reason so many solid innovations struggle as well as that they fail to connect at an emotional level. Remember, people buy the story before they buy the product.
Just because it’s easy to build the product, don’t be seduced. Just because the internet allows for seemingly easy and cheap customer access, don’t under-estimate the challenge of breaking through the noise.
It’s never been easier to be innovative. It’s also never been easier to be boring.