What Can Independence Day Tell Us About Brand Innovation?
Bonfires, nature hikes, fireworks, rising heat; each indicates very well that summer is in full swing. In the midst of the summer and the July 4th celebration of America’s Independence, we are frequently reminded of past summer memories as well as the American Forefathers who lead us all to the freedoms we have today. But in retrospect there are many organizations, brands, teams, and leaders who can effectively learn from the inner ambition of these individuals. For these individuals embodied everything it means to be creative and innovative; something that many brands try to capture but sometimes fail to capitalize on.
Very rarely are organizational goals accomplished through some “cookie-cutter” strategy or by relying only on what worked for you or for others in the past. So maybe you have spent much time on evaluating your core elements, your target market, your brand aspirations, and how you are going to distribute your “brand experience”. Still, your audience just doesn’t seem to take notice. Even though you mastered the skills which you thought were essential, it just was not enough. What you need is a lesson from our Forefathers… A lesson in innovation!
When the visionary leaders drafted the Declaration of Independence they knew that there was risk involved. Of course, innovation always takes on some type of risk. Declaring their independence from the British Empire would mean drastic consequences had they not had the definite courage or self-assurance to overcome that risk. What they had in place was past experience, prior knowledge, and years of trial and error. As a brand you must understand that experience and knowledge is only the first step to innovation. When you master the skills that got you where you are currently, then you can move on, and your experience has the chance to outweigh that risk.
Goals and Strategies
Certainly, it is good to build on what you know and what made you successful in the past. But with time, strategies that were once innovative grow tiresome and are overshadowed by much newer and much more creative strategies. What you must have is a goal with a forward strategy in place to combat the ever changing environment.
Our Founding Fathers had a goal (the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that all are created equal). To achieve that goal they had a strategy (gain independence from Great Britain, and separate the 13 colonies from the British Empire).
In regards to brand development, your goal must seek to accommodate the needs of your organization and your target audience. Your strategy is how you will uphold this goal. With experience, you should never be fearful of generating frequent and fluid creative strategies to uphold your ultimate goal. In the end, your strategy is where innovation is born.
Take the Road Less Travelled
It can be very hard to come up with frequent “out of the box” strategies to uphold your primary goal. Sometimes when you think outside of the box you are led to a long and longsome road. But as any trailblazer knows, there is less risk involved in taking the road less travelled when you are well prepared and well educated. You cannot travel without a compass until you have studied your maps. For a brand you cannot generate an innovative strategy until you figure out where you want your brand to go, how you want it to be perceived, and how it can be different. Once you have done these things then you are ready to move forward. You will be well equipped to accomplish your goals by going places where no one else has gone before. Sometimes by taking this road less travelled, you will get there much faster in the end.