Brand Matters: Stop That!
Why does this happen? I am certain it is unintentional. In all my years of merchandising, I've never known a merchant to start out making a subpar product offering, yet it happens all the time. Perhaps any number of marketplace factors might be at play:
- busy brand ambassadors charging ahead too quickly
- short-term thinking
- not taking time to listen to your customers
- organizational strife
- unwise cost-containment pressures
- not thoroughly evaluating the competition for meaningful, oppor- tunistic gaps
- lack of internal communication and/or collaboration—silo battles
- forgetting to do post-mortems and taking the time to observe, clarify and integrate the marketing lessons
- and, perhaps, the very lack of a purpose-driven strategy from the get-go!
These reasons all create an unnecessary obstacle course for your product lines. Having to maneuver and jump over too many of these hurdles sets up a series of nuanced product/service diminishments that ultimately weaken your brand.
So how can we stop these brand-sabotaging behaviors? I'd like to suggest one simple first step. Compile a "STOP DOING" checklist. Jim Collins, author of "Good to Great," taught me about the power of "Stop Doing" lists. Collins advocates clearly articulating what you don't want to be spending your resources on (your time, energy and dollars) as a way to clarify and perfect what you do want to be investing in. It's wise advice for all areas of life. I'd like to bring his concept into the discipline of product development and take it just a step further.
The A-Z List of Stop That! Behaviors
As I researched hundreds of products and services, I came up with my own ever-growing A-Z list of verbs that counteract Christensen's wise business acumen. Here's an edited version. Why not take this checklist into your next brand meeting and spend time looking objectively at your product/service offering through the eyes of your customer.