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Think Outside In

Key #5 of 10 to Inspiring Action: 10 Keys to the Future of Marketing. Download our summary poster of the 10 Keys here.

Imagine you’re marketing a limo service and you get Uber’d.

Or you’re trying to put travelers in hotel beds and you get Airbnb’d. You run a car dealership and you get Tesla’d. You’re a travel agent, a financial advisor, sell insurance, or – heaven forfend – you publish the yellow pages!…

I know real people in these situations, and I can tell you this about every one of them:

They never saw it coming!

But Nike saw it coming. Starting with their own brand story, they got ahead of change. Nike didn’t see themselves as an athletic shoe company – they saw themselves as a company that inspires athletes. While other athletic wear companies may have seen the coming age of wearable computing as irrelevant, Nike saw it as an opportunity to inspire. In creating Nike Plus, they got ahead of the curve and developed a way to get to know their customers like never before.

You don’t have to BE a new economy business to WIN in the new economy. You just need an inspiring idea that guides you, and you need to be able to connect that idea to better experiences for your customers. American Express (founded 1850) has done it, reinventing the core of their customer relationships many times over. JetBlue (founded 1998) has done it. Apple (founded 1976) is most certainly doing it.

We call these companies Inspiring Action brands. They share a common point of view. They see things with their customers’ eyes. They know what the people they serve aspire to be and do. They know what their devotees love about themselves with them. They’ve mapped the customer journey and have found ways to intercept and change behavior.

You are what they do.

Your audience is just people trying to inspire action in themselves. If your service works better, you win.

Think Outside In. It’s really that simple and that challenging. Understand your inspiring idea from your customer’s point of view. Map the journey and work out effective ways to change behavior and create new habits.