Business Performance Innovation

Innovate for your brand’s survival

Let’s be honest, you can milk your Cash Cow for quite some time. However, like oil, one day it’s going to run out. Then what?

Well, by that point it’s too late. One, or several, of those pesky start-ups who launch good looking websites with shiny, multi-featured products, will have figured out how to monetise their passion and will be waving at you in slow-mo as they pass you by.

You’ll be left to wonder what happened and at some point you’ll look at your new market leaders and will lament “we could have done that”.

Ideas needed – apply within

So, you’ve seen the future and you don’t like it. What are you going to do?

Firstly, look to your customers. And particularly to those who aren’t your customers. Don’t start building anything until you understand what they need. Not necessarily what they say they want – or what you want – but what they need. There is a big difference. Answering a need secures a customer for the long term, answering a want will have you following fads and wasting resources.

Secondly, embrace the creativity in your workplace. Great ideas are not limited to the executive suite. The Support Assistant on the phone speaking to the irate customer may have the greatest insight of all in your business. A cliché it may be, but employees are the business’ greatest asset. Tap into it. Treat your employees like citizens, let them join the cause.

This is a cultural thing. Much like your brand in the social sphere, is your business happy to relinquish ‘control’ to the ‘masses’?

Consider it. It can produce exciting results.

A case in point

At the 2010 Onrec Awards for the online recruitment industry, won in two categories – one of which was for its candidate services. Amongst the products included under that banner, were Jobs-by-Twitter, BeMyInterviewer and RecruitRank.

Jobs-by-Twitter is an API integration between Jobsite and the micro-blogging platform. It was created as an experiment to understand how we can reduce the searching workload of jobseekers by delivering relevant jobs to a platform they were already using daily. It was also a direct response against the torrent of untargeted job tweets gushing into the Twitter sphere

BeMyInterviewer is an interactive interview practice service that utilises video to enable jobseekers to rehearse with top industry professionals, including the likes of Dragons’ Den mogul Duncan Bannatyne.

RecruitRank is a jobseeker feedback system, enabling applicants to rate recruitment agencies for the customer service they received. It came in response to research that revealed over half of jobseekers find the process of job hunting frustrating and demoralising.

All three products came to life through the creativity of Jobsite employees – be it initial concept or enabling the idea to flourish into a fully featured – and useful – product for our customers.

It was possible because the culture promotes such creativity – to step beyond the paint-by-numbers approach that has littered the industry with commodity products.

Be a market leader

Seth Godin, in his book ‘Linchpin’, defines a Hierarchy of Value as follows:

Lift, Hunt, Grow, Produce, Sell, Connect, Create

For your company to be (or continue to be) successful it will need to deliver at multiple levels across the hierarchy. However, to lead your market into the future you need to excel at creation, at innovation.

Take a look at what you offer your customers. How is that different to what your competitors provide? Now find out what your customers actually want and throw some grey matter at finding solutions. It’s crowd-sourcing on a company level. Get everyone in a room – physically or figuratively – and throw away the job titles. Leave them at the door, they’re not needed here.

Now start creating.

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