Do Something Positively Deviant in 2004
Are any of these titles on your business card: deviant, contrarian, barbarian, agent provocateur or radical boat-rocker? If not, perhaps they should be.
You could be playing it a bit too safe, and that could be the biggest risk you take. You risk boring your customers, losing their attention and ultimately, their admiration and loyalty.
In their book, “The Deviant’s Advantage” (Crown Publishers, 2002), authors Ryan Mathews and Watts Wacker sing the praises of getting out of your comfort zone by being “positively deviant.”
They define “positive deviance” as “a force for transformation — an inexhaustible font of new ideas, products and services — and in the end, it is the source of all innovation, new market creation. For business, this ultimately represents the basis of all incremental profit.”
This year, challenge yourself to act on these ideas. What will you do differently in 2004? Here are four action steps to add to your New Year’s resolutions:
1. Look outside the catalog industry’s box. When is the last time you read a publication outside your specialty or attended a trade show outside your product area? If most catalogers continue to tweak or implement the same ideas that everyone else in the industry uses, customers will grow bored with “same old, same old.”
2. Kill your sacred cows. Permission marketer Seth Godin suggests you focus on creating “purple cows” — that is, remarkable, buzz-worthy products — rather than spend time preserving the sacred cows in your business. What was the latest conversation-inspiring strategy you implemented? Give customers something positive to talk to their friends and your potential customers about this year.
3. Think in “bite-sized” ways. Wal-Mart grew to the size it is by implementing big ideas in small, nimble ways. What big project in your organization has been put on the back burner by bureauc-racy? Start it in bite-sized ways.