Think HBR

Getting back to basics

Christina Gerakiteys
Ideation at Work
I was impressed a couple of weeks ago. Returning home from my early morning walk I passed a new business venture that was about to launch, Pure, a retail outlet for clothes, shoes and accessories for sporting enthusiasts.
It was 7:30am and one of the owners called out behind me. I stopped, he said he had noticed my Lorna Jane clothes and was I aware that they were stocking Lorna Jane? No need to fight the shopping centre chaos anymore. In his next breath he said, “I want to give you a pair of socks”. I spoke to him for a few minutes about his new venture. To be honest, he had me when he described their community support and involvement so I offered to do a bit of work with him around creating increased awareness for the business. I assured him that socks weren’t necessary but he insisted and gave me a lanyard with a voucher attached for free socks.
The moral to the story, even at 7:30am this guy was alert to a marketing opportunity. He was alert enough to notice my clothes, and forward enough to stop me in the street for a chat. He took the time to establish a relationship with a potential customer, and while others might have been annoyed at the intrusion, I was impressed. Impressed that he had the awareness, the nous, and the courage to sell his product.
But it was more than that. It was a belief and a passion for the venture he was about to embark on that urged him on to get his message through with integrity and conviction. These days’ business owners and marketers are so entrapped in the “sales” message, they forget where the impetus for the business originally came from. Yes, people go into business to make money. But rarely do you find people going into a business they don’t’ have some affinity with, some belief in.
We are constantly reminded that right now, times are tough. Retail figures read a bit like a rollercoaster and the same can be said for consumer confidence. One day we’re up, the next things aren’t looking so good. Even the motivations behind the change in outlook vary from expert to expert and from day to day. Brand awareness is the new marketing. As consumers, we no longer want to be coerced into purchasing a product simply because it can do triple somersaults or wipe 20 years of worry and pollution from our faces. We demand more. We want an emotional connection. Creating an emotional connection was instrumental recently in ‘saving’ SPC.
When you consider your next marketing campaign, consider what that means to your brand and how your brand is reflected in the message. Be warned though, you can’t buy an emotional attachment. You have to be authentic and you have to be honest.
If you dig deep enough into motivations from business owners, company directors, managers and frontline teams, you usually find authenticity, honesty, integrity and conviction are central to the reasons any of us work where we do. Sometimes these qualities get buried under bureaucracy and politics, and fear and audits. Might be time to dig them back out and give them a place at the top of the pile.
 For further information contact Christine on 0425 236 156 , email or visit
ChristinaGerakiteysHeadShot copy Christina Gerakiteys

Christina Gerakiteys is the Founder of UtopiaX and CEO of SingularityU Australia Summit. She is a change catalyst and instigator of Moonshot Ideation. Christina opens hearts and minds, inspiring impossible to possible.