Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Act and Think Small to Win Big With Killer Ideas

If Leonard da Vinci hadn't taken a risk, he would have painted the Sistine Floor.

This post was stimulated in response to a CMO strategy article written by Peter Murane, president-founder of BrandJuice, a brand-strategy and innovation consulting firm based in Denver.

...But over the last 45 years creating breakthrough brand positions and new products, I and others have seen a dramatic lessening of those in business with an owner/executive or founder/executive mentality. Someone to grab a bull by the horns and run with it.
If you call Clorox and ask the receptionist for, "the leader in charge of innovation driving the growth of your company" all you'll get in response is dead air. If you ask for the CEO (they are that person) his assistant will send you to Phil (name changed) in packaging design. "Oh, I see, Phil in packaging design is in charge of the growth of Clorox." If you reach a brand manager, most prove unable to bypass or negotiate the management barriers and politics to a better idea. Old marketers will tell new marketers to test anything new in marketing they want, as long as it's not actually a better idea.

Innovation checkmate.

Let's just redesign our packaging, labels and delivery systems and call that innovation. Whew! Got that job off my desk. But making the old look new isn't innovation. It's everything above what you are supposed to do that counts.

I heard a saying once. "The first 40 hours a week you work goes for survival. It's everything over that that goes for success." And the sad truth in large companies is, we just see too many 40 hour efforts - even if you do work an 80-hour week.

Positioning strategies and new product breakthroughs are like ten-speed bikes. Most have gears they've never used. And so you fall short. Like the antagonist in that really great funny movie A Knight's Tale with Heath Ledger says, "You have been weighed, measured, and been found wanting."

Innovation stalemate. Or then again, maybe we're over thinking all of this. MAYBE THEY JUST DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO IT.

Back to you oh painters of the Sistine Floor.


Unknown said...

Sorry -- I'm a pedant. Leonardo da Vinci had nothing to do with the Sistine Chapel. I'm assuming you meant Michaelangelo, unless you were trying to make a really CONVOLUTED point...

In case you're wondering, I stumbled on this sight searching for Mrs. Olsen's phrase "It's Mountain Grown - the richest kind." Which phrase I remember from my childhood. Just out of curiosity, though -- is there any OTHER kind of coffee?

H. Martin Calle said...

Nice catch Barbara,
The mistake is intentional. I frequently provide this type of misinformation...I want to see if anyone is paying attention and am rewarded when I get caught.