Being innovative is seen as a way to distinguish an agency from its more routine competition. But agency owners need to dig deeper to decide if they can claim innovation as a position—and back it up with great thinking, strategy and product.
How innovative are you? In what areas are you innovating? Are you passing that innovative spirit on to clients via smart, intriguing creative and clever technology applications? Are you helping clients be more innovative in their products and services? Does your work surprise, engage and deliver results?
How to Generate Better Ideas
Mitchell Rigie and Keith Harmeyer, the authors of Smartstorming: The Game-changing Process for Generating Better Ideas, argue that in today’s environment, there is no such thing as “business as usual.” In the ad business especially, the demand for something new, fresh and exciting is non-stop, and client expectations are high. So how do you innovate on a regular basis, without serving up the same ideas over and over again? Rigie and Harmeyer have come up with ten ways to innovate anything. We sum up their ideas here.
Simplify. Strip away the excess until you have something pleasingly elegant in its simplicity. Eliminate, streamline and combine.
Make it more intuitive. Find ways to make interactions with client products and services easier to understand and user-friendly.
Speed it up. People generally hate waiting in line, and love to save time. Try to speed up performance, delivery time, wait time, download speed or response time.
Extend the experience. People enjoy spending more time with things they like. Seek ways to make products more durable, lengthen shelf-life, improve manufacturing quality, supply round-the-clock access, etc.
Make it beautiful. Design and aesthetics are in demand. How can you stir customers’ senses, improve the product’s tactile and visual appeal, make it both beautiful to look at and functional?
Make it indispensable. Strive to make the product or service one your customers rely on, reach for first thing in the morning, or simply can’t live without.
Enhance the quality. Aim for your product to be the “benchmark for excellence” in its category—the one all others are measured against.
Add emotion. The strongest products and brands appeal to the heart as well as the head. Look for ways to connect with customers emotionally.
Socialize it. This goes beyond mere sharing to the heart of community. Interact with users/customers, gather feedback and data, incent participation with offers and discounts, and foster a community around the brand.
Inspire awe. Always look for opportunities to disrupt the status quo and shake up the category. Companies that succeed at disruption can leap from unknown to market leader.
Remember that innovation does not have to be earth-shaking. Small changes can be enough to shift market position and “matter” to customers. Innovation is about finding new ways to add value or provide benefits to customers and users. As long as your agency is thinking along these lines every day, you’ll be delivering great ideas to your clients.