Issue 134 - 02 | A Big Idea: Big Ideas Don’t Work (A Manifesto for Thinking Small)

By Craig Wilson
Published Oct. 14, 2015 10:00 a.m.
“What if big ideas don’t work? Let’s examine the premise. You own a business. That business provides goods and/or services. You try to distinguish those goods and/or services by some means. Your widget is the best, or cheapest, or most coveted because of its uniqueness, or you simply promote your widget with advertising that drowns out the competition. But in a world of near instant commoditization and destructive price promotion, the eventuality is that these approaches wane over time, and so begins the quest for the big idea that you believe is going to save your business. These big ideas typically come in the form of a new campaign tagline or logo, or a new way of talking about an old idea, or they come with a general makeover. Not necessarily lipstick on a pig, but the vast majority of re-branding efforts are simply a new way of looking at the same old thing. Rarely are they grounded in the principles of the organization. Rather, something else that feels all shiny and bright. With time, the veneer rubs off uncovering the fundamental truth that resides beneath. If you are best in class, not much reason to talk about it. Customers know. If you are the lowest price and the best deal there’s little need to worry. Customers know. But, if you’re truly caught in a competitive environment where the buyer has choice, the knee jerk reaction is to think of something big.”

About Craig Wilson | Craig Wilson is an entrepreneur, consultant, author, and coach. He has founded three businesses, just recently selling the theater production company he and his wife founded in 1990. He is a leading authority on loyalty, brand development, and direct marketing and counts some of the world’s most iconic brands in his listing of experience including Kiehl’s, Patagonia, Seventh Generation, prAna Living, Burton Snowboards, and Revolution Living, among others. He’s a three-time NCAA National Champion coach and a passionate observer of human behavior.

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