The Art of Double Meanings
I spend a great deal of my time helping clients practice innovation in all areas of their businesses, especially product creation. I wholeheartedly agree with innovator Mitch Ditkoff feeling's on this topic: “No matter what business you’re in, the engine of innovation is really about being moved. That’s what movements are made of — the heartfelt, intrinsically motivated effort to get off dead-center and accomplish something meaningful.”
I recently helped one of my Christian clients, Saint Mary’s Press, bring a new Bible to market. This publisher previously set the Catholic teen world on fire years ago when it brought forth the industry’s first "Catholic Youth Bible." It's sold almost 2 million copies, and is a Bible that Catholic parents actually borrow from their teenagers. This Bible doesn't sit on a shelf. It gets opened, read and even acted upon as St. Mary's Press infused the bible with teen-relevant, practical “Pray It! Study It! Live it!” notes. You could say Saint Mary’s Press started a movement.
This unplanned side effect spurred the innovation of its newest venture, "The Catholic Family Connections Bible." Saint Mary’s Press listens and responds to its customers’ spoken and unspoken needs. John Vitek, president and CEO of Saint Mary’s Press (and parent of teens himself), shared his thoughts in an interview: “In this busy life we all live, parents want to feel connected and they want their children to feel connected to three things: family, faith and community. That’s the heart of this new Bible. It’s created to be a source that families turn to every day to help find a place of connection with God, family and God’s dwelling in the ordinary things of life. That’s what we mean by The Catholic Family Connections Bible.”
Vitek and his team at Saint Mary’s Press want its customers to accomplish something meaningful. This desire drives all their brand and product development decisions.
Another bible publishing company, NavPress, also looked to infuse double meaning into one of its best-selling Bibles, "The Message." This bible is actually a paraphrase by Eugene Peterson, a pastor whose lifework involved translating the Bible into modern-day language. NavPress created a version of The Message called "Conversations," and included “selected excerpts from Peterson’s sermons, seminary notes, books and devotional writings; contemplative sections that encourage a time of prayerful reflection; and an essay by Eugene for enhancing one’s time in God’s Word.”
NavPress knew its cutomers would welcome this double benefit of having Peterson as a “portable pastor” alongside of them as they read and studied this Bible.
How can your brand infuse its products with double benefits? Double meanings? What would it take to accomplish something even more meaningful with your product development team?