Over the last three months, the national news cycle has fascinated me. The election of Donald J Trump has stunned some Americans, excited others, and it has given SNL fantastic material for satire. They poke the bear so darn well.
One element of the current state of President-Elect Trump’s transition that is under constant scrutiny is his insistence on doing things differently. Three examples of this are easily available.
- He isn’t receiving daily security briefings. In an interview, Trump states that he doesn’t need to hear the same message every day about the same topics, with the same works.
- Trump has pulled in multiple business executives with little or no political experience as cabinet members or nominees. He is about to nominate Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State.
- The President-Elect is using Twitter to speak to America in ways that are unprecedented. On a side note, I think that use alone could add immense value to Twitter. Maybe with the extra help, it can bring back Vine (RIP).
Whether you agree with Trump and his way of doing things it’s clear that many Americans voted him into office and are now getting the change they were asking for. Only time will tell whether this change is good or bad.
From a business perspective, I see a larger trend that is fascinating. Having reported to multiple heads of companies, whether as an employee, serving superiors, or as the direct liaison to business owners running their advertising campaign there are some definite parallels.
Business owners and entrepreneurs bet on themselves. They have a vision. In some cases, they work to hire people smarter than them and work to delegate responsibilities. In other cases, they have an iron grip on the business and its executives, and regardless of the org-chart on a PPT slide, half the company, in practice, reports into one man; for better or worse. And that’s the point. There’s no telling whether it’s better or worse. The thin line between genius and crazy depends sometimes on luck, fervor and business sense. Working in a different way than the status quo will often lead to new learnings and insights. The hope is that those lessons come not at the expense of proven methods and their proven outcomes, but at the benefit of even bigger gains for the business.
So, from spending 13 years in the advertising business here are three lessons to ensure your business can learn from the new without having to give up on the proven.
This is a direct outcome of today’s advertising landscape. Every day I can look at my ad campaigns, see daily results, and determine whether something is working. I can get a sense of the creative performance, the targeting performance and the product’s performance. Even within these three broad categories there is so much to drill down into, like whether, on Facebook, the creative is performing better due to the picture, the copy or the thumbnail image.
The application for business is to always have an eye out for new and interesting technologies. You don’t have to invest a lot of money. You can spend less than $10 a day on Facebook advertising if you want. Most businesses don’t have to be on the cutting edge of advertising technology. You can be years behind, but you do have to take action at some point to ensure you benefit from advantages that all your competitors have available to them. Just three years ago targeting that is generally categorized as hyperlocal targeting was only available to large enterprise advertisers, and today it’s available to 30MM small businesses. The ones who will recognize the opportunity and use it to their advantage are the ones that keep an ear open for what people are talking about, or who are interested to hear what BrillMedia.co has to say when we stop by for a visit.
Value Your Time Correctly
You either have time or money. If you have time maybe you are in startup mode. With low income coming in take this time as an opportunity to learn new ways to getting to your consumer. In this time I learned Photoshop in a very rudimentary way, I figured out how to get a lot of Twitter followers and I found many tools to help automate my business processes.
If you have money, use it to make more money. Surround yourself with people who have different skillsets and give them opportunities to build better business models for you. If you are lacking for time the last thing you should do is saddle yourself with projects that you are unable to complete, especially if they are necessary for you to build your business. I learned this when I realized it was just unattainable for me to re-build my site without the help of a talented web designer.
As an entrepreneur, I’m always looking for ways to make my business better, and to find better solutions for my clients. I’m always interested in other people, their business plans and their world views. I want to know more about people and the way the achieved their success. By talking to people I’m engaging in a kind of reconnaissance. People share the knowledge they’ve picked up along the way. I get a chance to know them and their needs more directly.
People, a lot of times, simply want to be heard. Whether at work or in personal settings the best thing you can do for many people is hear them, listen and really be part of their story. The other secret to this is that listening is a great way to curry favor with prospective clients. Being curious allows people to speak about their stories. And being genuinely interested makes the process all the more valuable for both parties.
Finally, when you listen to people you may learn things in completely unrelated areas that can make a big difference in your life. Over the long term, you may find that hearing people will give you the benefit of finding lessons in life and answers for questions you have that you hadn’t yet contemplated. So, all around, listening to people, hearing their stories and being an honestly curious person goes a long way. It also lets you find opportunities as trends become apparent.
The result of these conversations may be opportunities to do things differently, and avoid the mistakes and downfalls that other people may have seen only in hindsight.
Don’t Be The Status Quo
All of this builds up into this. You have special knowledge and expertise. You have, or will in the future bet on yourself. Once you take the plunge be smart, take risks in the proper way, learn from the past and be innovative. You don’t have to be Steve Jobs to be innovative, but you do have the ability, in your own way, to create a path for yourself that is better. Your business can be better. Your solutions, your pricing, your food and your service can all be better. The business is a reflection of you. Make it your own. Give it flair. Ensure that whether you succeed or fail, that you give your customers and clients something unique.
In summary, whether it’s a business owner, ad agency client, or President-Elect Donald J Trump I know that different is just that: different. The outcome may be better or worse, but the fact that it’s different is a reflection of the innovation from the source. It could go really well, or be a miserable failure. We can be in for unprecedented successes, or a difficult rollercoaster. History is filled with examples of the best and the worst of people and businesses who do things differently.