When brainstorming the Next Big Thing, some new product or idea that will change everything and add a few extra zeros to your bank balance, you don’t always need to reinvent the wheel. In fact sometimes the smallest changes to existing formulas can be the most important and profitable.
People tend to stray away from the small and mundane because it’s less glamorous. Chasing our big ideas is chasing our dreams. We want to shoot for the moon, not the next town over. Apollo 11 was number eleven for a reason though. If you have a big idea, work backwards from it. Innovation can be incremental. You have to build up, and you may well find something simpler and in fact, more valuable, along the way.
If you look at all the biggest products and services of the last few decades or so, many of them have been deliciously simple. A simple twist on a core idea, or perhaps just the streamlining of an existing one. Uber, and all its many diminutives, brought peer-to-peer services to transportation and completely revolutionised the taxi and food delivery markets in the process. ‘McDonalds doesn’t deliver? No problem, we’ll bring the delivery to them and then to you.’ It was an extension, an addition to a tried and tested industry that changed everything.
Some of the twentieth century’s most prominent entrepreneurs and ideas people made their name with relatively simple ideas. Elon Musk may be known now for outlandish ideas about space travel and colonisation of Mars, but his most profitable venture to date is also one of his first – PayPal – which as an idea is as simple as they come, a streamlined means to make online payments with just an email address and a password. Whilst Tesla and SpaceX hemorrhage money on a yearly basis, kept afloat by promise alone, PayPal endures and profits two decades after its inception.
It goes beyond big business. In some of the world’s poorest and resource-restricted countries and environments, small changes have made an enormous difference. The ‘Penguin’, a simple plastic suction bottle, is used in the third-world to remove airway obstructions with ease, reducing child mortality rates. In India, health organisations had difficulty getting parents to vaccinate their children. The solution? Give away a bag of lentils with each vaccination. Immunisation rates soared. By examining the problem, aid organisations found a basic, common incentive that made a measurable and significant difference. This same logic can be applied anywhere. Instead of focusing on creating a market or need, look at what already exists and isn’t being catered to, or isn’t being catered to well. Improvement and incrementation.
Thinking big is good; the heart of innovation is daring to dream. It doesn’t mean, however, that you should be missing the forest for the trees. Getting caught up in either the minute or grand can leave you blind to the simple and sublime.
According to Euromonitor International, “There is a fundamental shift in consumer values towards experiences over things that bring happiness and wellbeing, with spending on experiences like travel, leisure and food service to rise to US$8.0 trillion by 2030.”
Millennials are driving this change:
- 91% of Australian Millennials (aged 18-34) attended a live event, ranging from entertainment-focused experiences like concerts and beer festivals, to more cause-related events like marches and rallies.
- 81% said they would choose to buy an experience rather than something desirable, ahead of their Gen X (35-45) peers at 72%.
So what’s shaping the experiential economy, they believe the growth is derived from (according to Eventbrite a Event Platform):
- People crave interactions off social media – Four out of five millennials say that attending live events makes them feel more connected to other people, the community, and the world.
- People are looking for a new perspective – In a world where the today’s headlines are yesterday’s old news, in-person events provide the opportunity to connect and gain perspective.
- Our cultural climate is shifting – A high percentage of people believe it’s essential for people to come together in person to promote positive change
- Millennials are starting families – Seven in 10 (69%) of both younger and older millennials attend live events to challenge themselves and escape everyday routines. Their interest in attending events doesn’t lessen once they start families.
- Livestreaming is making experiences more valuable – According to Facebook, people spend more than 3x more time watching a live video than a recorded video.
1. Knowing this what can we do about it when it comes to branding:
- Create experiences. Start small if you have to. Some ideas to get you thinking:
- Tasting testing before purchase. Mezzina do a great job of this.
- Offer classes. The Sydney Fishing School has done a great job of this. Now we are seeing cooking classes pop-up everywhere.
- Collaborate with a partners to hold an event – We are seeing this happen more and more. You split the costs whilst cross-leveraging your audience.
- Demonstrations. They have been around for a long time, and they continue to pull a crowd. But it’s not an ordinary demonstration… people want theatre. So give them theatre. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money, it may just mean that the demonstrator is highly entertaining.
2. Crossing over to the virtual world. Real estate agents, particularly ones selling off the plan dwellings are using virtual technology to enhance the buyers experience. It completely changes what you can deliver to a customer – without being limited by your location.
3. Bring your product to where the people are. Race days do a great job of this. You can go and have your make-up and hair professionally touched up, and not have to the leave the race course.
4. Social Media… make it seamless, make it effortless, make the audience feel like they couldn’t possibly not share this experience with their online friends.
5. Branding – Every brand has not choice but to have a level of coolness. Even if it’s a daggy cool brand. Over emphasising your positioning, so your customers, get it and embrace it, because they want to create a ‘by-association’ run off-effect. If I am in this place, experiencing this, then this says something about me that I want others to also know.
We cannot go past the inclusion of promotional products to help you create a deeper more engaging experience for your customers. People love tactile things, they love to touch, and take something away with them. Whether it’s a hat at a sporting match, drink bottles at a running festival, showbags at a conference, T-Shirts at a music event, USB’s after a presentation. Consider how you stretch the experience and the memory to continue beyond the event… this is something promotional products can definitely help you achieve.