Published: 26 August 2021
Location: London, UK
Let us question everything…..
How many people with Nobel prizes, PHDs and multimillion dollar businesses walked through airport lounges carrying their heavy bags before someone asked a simple question: “Why don’t we add wheels to suitcases?”
It’s easy to get settled and assume that nothing will ever change.
Some people still send letters rather than emails, watch live TV and physically go into travel agents to buy tickets. Some people still use Tippex.
Others look at everything and see how it could be better. Easier, more useful.
They seek out redundancies – things that are there because they have always been there but which serve no useful purpose.
They see what isn’t there – the gaps where things should be.
Why do houses still have chimneys?
Why do planes still need ashtrays?
Why do we need as many knives as forks?
Why are salt and pepper the only options on café tables?
Stop and Question Design + Marketing Relevance
As marketers, Why Media tell everyone we love change but secretly we hate it.
Change means we have to do something differently.
Maybe even hire new people?
Change involves risk. When you step into the unknown world of things that have never been done before, you have no guarantee that they will work.
But isn’t the biggest risk sticking with the same old same old?
Barnes and Noble thought that online bookselling was a fad and waited expectantly for amazon to fail.
Kodak never thought that digital photography would catch on, and who in 2021 still uses a Nokia?
Clients need to stop being so darned comfortable with what they do.
The world is in flux.
In the late 19th century, Hay farms, blacksmiths and grooms assumed they would always be in business. Then the car was invented.
Cabbies around the world had been cleaning up business for over a century until Uber came in and stole it overnight.
The people who built the giant international airport in the Nigerian city of Kano probably assumed that planes from Europe would always have to stop there to refuel on their way to South Africa.
At some point in the next 10 years, petrol stations will have to reconsider the primary role of their roadside real estate.
Complacency is not on the menu.
Clients should be asking what they can do to be different.
Agencies need to encourage them to be bold.
To blend in and keep on keeping on is a far greater risk than to boldly go.
So my advice is to wake up.
Change what you do before your competitor changes the category for everyone and leaves you playing catch up.
Steal the march on yourself.
Ask how what you do could be done differently.
What else can you do that will benefit customers?
Why are you using social media to transmit sales messages rather than to be, well, social?
Being different gets talked about.
The Eiffel tower was an elaborate advert to show off Paris for a trade fair in 1889.
It was roundly criticised by artists and intellectuals, many whose names have been forgotten, and now it is a global icon of France and one of the most famous buildings on the planet.
The VW Beetle made giant American gas guzzlers look like dinosaurs.
Northwest’s proudly no frills made every major airline look excessive and overpriced.
And don’t be afraid to change.
Lucozade was a remedy given to poor children. Without changing the formula, marketers turned it into an essential energy boost for elite athletes.
Wrigleys was a freebie given away with soap powder. Eventually the company gave up on the soap and focused on what people actually wanted.
Samsung has gone from selling groceries in Korea to textiles, then petrochemicals and now electronics. Don’t just change once, change again and again.
And don’t assume that McDonalds will always be the number one burger chain.
Or that Apple will dominate consumer electronics forever.
Or that no café brand will ever topple Starbucks.
Or that your brand can’t be the next Coca Cola.
Big Brands Can Be Toppled
Just don’t get too comfortable.
Money may be coming in now but tomorrow is round the corner.
Keep asking what you can do differently.
Keep relevant. Keep Interesting. Keep being front of mind.
Keep them on their toes because that way they’re talking about you and what you might do next.
And ask Why at every opportunity.
Why Media is a reputable design, marketing, digital communications and PR agency offering tailored solutions to companies on a global scale. We have extensive experience in delivering design and marketing services to a spectrum of companies including professional services, property companies, financial institutions and shopping centres.