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OWN IT – Create Imaginative Acts – Inside Advantage

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Mar 17, 2014

The intention of discovering your Inside Advantage is to announce it to your prospects and customers.  Steve Jobs Introduces iPod resized 600If you want to know what an imaginative act looks like look no further than Steve Jobs and several of his announcements for Apple including his 2007 introduction of the iPhone. 

Steve Jobs
proclamation included this statement:  Apple is reinventing the phone: Steve Jobs introduces iPhone in 2007

Defining your WHO, WHAT, HOW are done in the privacy of your business.  If it’s secret, known only to those who participated in the process, it’s not doing you much good. The final component of the Inside Advantage, OWN IT is to make your uncommon offering well known to your core customer. 

You’re not Apple or Steve Jobs.  But if you’ve done your work on your Inside Advantage correctly you do know your core customer, the target audience that will desire your uncommon offering.  Avoid competing head to head with brands that have more muscle or that can be produced for a lower price point. The Internet offers no or low cost opportunities to target customers, measure responses, engage in dialogue with customers, capitalize on strategic alliances, and most important invite potential customers to obtain information about your product or services. 

Imaginative Acts can be as elaborate as a nationwide promotion event, as simple as a personalized email communication, or somewhere in between.

Again I invite you to read the Inside Advantage as a resource to come up with ideas from the many examples it provides.  Perrier, TNT, Toyota, Cabela’s, Boeing are all examples of OWN IT and creating imaginative acts offered in the book that you can glean understanding of the intention of imaginative acts.

An example in the book is a publisher of financial data.  They create a comprehensive annual survey describing subscribers’ views of financial industry trends. The survey goes into great detail.  The publisher releases the survey with great fanfare on the opening day of its most important industry convention in order to dominate the show’s news and press.  The topical and relevant data celebrates the firm’s uncommon offering – its authoritative position in the financial publishing industry. 

The function of OWN IT is to create imaginative acts that celebrate your uncommon offering and link it inextricably to your business.  OWN IT is driven by a strategic framework formed by WHO, WHAT and HOW. 

Another example from the book with a client Bob Bloom worked with in its start-up phase.  Southwest Airlines started short of cash in the early years.  It couldn’t afford to plant a tagline or a slogan firmly in the minds of potential customers.  Instead Bloom Agency put “love” into everything Southwest did.  Drinks were called Love Potions, drink coupons were Love Stamps, peanuts became Love Bites, tickets were issued from Love Machines and airplanes were called Love Birds.  Eventually Southwest Airlines stock symbol became LUV! 

There are two forms of Imaginative Acts:

Ubiquitous acts aimed at every customer touch point – constitute dozen of small, usually inexpensive, easy to perform actions that work together to create a cumulative impact.  The acts must be executed with great frequency, consistency and uniformity.  The best example of this is the Southwest Airlines examples above.  These can be very simply, yet the key is doing them frequently, and consistently.  (Sounds very much like a system doesn’t it?)

Explosive Acts, are at touch points that are particularly significant to customers – exciting places, events and times where customers congregate or on occasions that are personally meaningful to them: life-changing events; large trade shows, annual conventions; big sports venues; community celebrations, national holidays, artificial occasions that your brand or company invents for promotional purposes.  The acts must be powerful and memorable, create customer impact.  They’re done infrequently because they take time, money, and effort to execute.

Steve Job’s introductions of new products and the Macintosh Super Bowl ad are good examples of Explosive Acts!   

Every one of your ideas for imaginative acts must fit in the strategic framework that has been built for your business.  Once you’ve determined your strategy to own it and developed your imaginative acts you’ll never again have trouble deciding which events or charities to sponsor or support.  If they don’t fit your OWN IT strategy then you shouldn’t invest the money in it.  Large or small budgets can all learn to maximize their investment by following the Inside Advantage approach.  Determine your WHO, WHAT and HOW.  Specifically target your WHO with imaginative acts presenting your WHAT to earn and establish your position to OWN IT!

Accountability is often a leading challenge in most organizations.  Getting things done, creating momentum and growth depends on it.  How does responsibility differ from accountability?  We’ll explore this next blog.

Topics: Business Growth, The Inside Advantage, WHO WHAT HOW The Inside Advantage, best practices of growth companies, Uncommon Offering, Southwest Airlines, Your Core Customer

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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

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