Download (direct link):
The Nasdaq tower—called MarketSite—was designed to dominate the neon landscape, with up-to-the-minute market information displayed 24/7 on the world’s largest video screen. The high-tech
Nasdaq building in Times Square
Creativity at the Heart of Business Strategy
CEOs take note: Those analyst meetings would go a lot better armed with consumer-spend reaction to your new CBI. CBIs breathe the life back into the role of the ad agency. Not the twentieth-century agency. It is dying. But the role of the twenty-first-century agency. The agency of the future. The agency I want to work for. For too long companies have downgraded the importance of their agency’s role as a contributor of business advice. With CBIs, we are back. It is time to reclaim the streets. CBI development delivers new and exciting briefs for creatives to work on. Great for our clients’ businesses and great for ours. —Matt Donovan, Euro RSCG Partnership, Sydney
screen literally wraps around the cylindrical Nasdaq building, providing a panorama of financial news, market highlights, and advertising. The bottom three stories house the broadcast studio, with multiple satellite uplinks and live data feeds for TV networks. And, of course, the studio gives the press a place from which to report.
Before You Leap: Understand that in any industry—but particularly in an industry that involves finance—consumers need the reassurance that brick and mortar provides. From Gateway to E*Trade, more and more companies are recognizing that truth.
As with Intel, Nasdaq has succeeded in turning an invisible technology into a powerful brand. It all began with the creative leap of deciding to brand a stock market in the first place. It is another textbook definition ofwhat CBIs should be: It arose from and influenced business strategy. It led to brilliant execution beyond traditional and new media. It was a powerful new way to maximize relationships between the consumer and the brand. This kind of thinking never would have come about without the strong relationship that existed between agency and client and without the senior management at both companies leading the ideation process.
Chapter 6 Do You Know What Business You Are In?
Very often, when I give speeches or talk to our agencies about Creative Business Ideas, I reference Theodore Levitt’s famous Harvard Business Review article on “Marketing Myopia.”1 Levitt very persuasively uses the example of railroads to emphasize the importance of figuring out what business one is really in. Until you truly and deeply explore and understand the definition of your business, you cannot possibly begin to take advantage of the opportunities before you.
From 1850 to 2000—in the industrial and information ages— the railroads believed they were in the railroad business. Those that became great at the railroad business learned to dominate that business. But in their apparent clarity of understanding about what business they were in, they missed an enormous opportunity. Imagine what might have happened if they had realized that they were not in the railroad business, but in the transportation business. They could have leveraged all their unique competencies in logistics and control systems and dominated the growth of transportation in the twentieth century. They would have seen the massive opportunities in trucking and containerized shipping and overnight delivery and maybe even the airlines. They would have seen how the innovation and technology of the twentieth century was reshaping what they could be—and should become. Their destiny would have been profoundly altered, to say nothing of their success. Had they had the kind of breakthrough that leads to a Creative Business Idea, they might have been bigger than Microsoft, Intel, and General Motors combined.
Does anyone remember Wang Laboratories? It was the Dell of the early 1980s, having moved from producing desktop calculators to pioneering word processing systems. Then the PC revolution hit. Wang should have been leading that revolution; instead, it was filing for Chapter 11. What went wrong? Wang failed to realize that it wasn’t just in the word processing business, it was in the computing business.2
DoYou Know What BusinessYouAre In?
Discover Your DNA
The lesson is simple, but critical to creative business thinking. Start every project by asking what business you are really in. If you understand that, you also begin to understand the essence of your brand and the DNA of your company.
Why is that inquiry so vital?
Unless you know who you are, there is no way you will ever be able to come up with a Creative Business Idea. It is impossible to arrive at such an idea without first understanding the fundamental essence of the brand and the business in which you operate.
Whether you get there on your own or partner with an agency that can think creatively about your business does not matter. What counts is that you get there. Because once you understand the business you’re really in, you have the potential to transform your brand, your category, your company, and even your industry.