Greetings from an in-the trenches brand builder and product creator! My new book, "ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators," was developed to be a seriously playful, action-oriented process in and of itself. A creative prompt. A bit of inspiration. A morsel of merchandising muse that can be flipped open when the creative juices run dry. Explore what one brand did with a particular verb. Give that a "thinkabout" for your brand: Is it relevant? Does it ignite new thinking? Lead to a curiosity that needs exploring? Invite a new perspective? There are no rules. It's meant to be a fun dashboard of ideas to help you get your next one!
In addition to showcasing each product example and how the verb plays out for that particular brand, I've asked a few questions to jump-start the creative conversation process. Think of these as a gentle tap on the shoulder, an outside nudge, a bit of a constant provocation. That's always what I've seemed to need to do my best work.
This month's ThinkAbout verb: Educate.
Guitar Center Educates
The brand leaders at Guitar Center, the world's largest retailer of guitars, amplifiers, drums, keyboards and pro-audio and recording equipment, know that music is more than an enthusiast activity. Music brings people together. Chris Tso, Guitar Center's vice president of merchandising, explained, "our mission is to help people make music — whether they play, perform or record. To do that, we invest a lot of our corporate resources — time, people, energy and budget — on education. We help educate in several ways. One is by specializing in things like band instruments for sale and rental, serving music teachers, band directors, parents, students and an extensive national lesson program through our music and arts stores.
"Another one of our educational tools is our in-store ‘Recording Made Easy’ program. We provide free recording workshops aimed at taking the complexity out of home recording. They are month-long classes with four weekly components, averaging 2,000 registered attendees per week. We really want to demystify the process of creating music so people can enjoy and share their creations. In our Recording Made Easy sessions, musicians can take their ideas from basic tracks to finished songs by learning how to use Garageband on an Apple computer and Pro Tools (literally used by the pros!). It's exciting to watch people learn and grow."