Why Drawing Outside the Lines is the Key to Growing Your Brand

Article by Dean Forbes, CEO of Curb Crowser

Far too often, children are told to keep the crayons inside the lines. After all, isn’t that what the line drawing is there for? To tell us where to color, and which box to stay in?

I don’t think so.

In fact, I think we should tell children to push their imagination, their sense of play, and deliberately avoid confirming to the unwritten rules of the expected. When did we decide that thinking like everyone else should be considered success?

Unfortunately, many brands risk blending in because they look like everyone else’s drawing. Whether you’re a brand builder, marketer, or business owner — we all need to tap into our inner child and spend a little more time investing in the unexpected. It is here we will imagine and create refreshingly new ideas and experiences for our customers to enjoy. We need to force ourselves to “color outside the lines” more if we ever want to see a picture of how we can stand out as a brand.

If your brand strategies are falling short, or if your brand is simply adding to the noise in an already crowded retail landscape, then you need to “color outside the lines” and find the big idea for your brand to unlock its potential for growth.

For starters: A big idea has to be human-centered. We have to put people first in order to solve a problem that will transform the experience they have with our product or service.

David Kelley of IDEO said, “The way to get big ideas is to understand people.”

This statement is both simple and profound.

We as brand builders have to look at it from a human perspective and have empathy for people’s needs before we will ever design solutions that transform their experience with our brand. A big idea will not be found in the middle, among the common or routine — it lives on the fringe, often outside the lines of the norm. It is from these extreme perspectives that we can uncover entirely new ways to solve complex problems that deliver richer customer experiences and entirely new business opportunities.

One example of a brand built off big idea thinking is Upsie, a Minneapolis-based startup that has developed an innovative way of selling extended warranties for smartphones, TV, and other consumer electronics.

Upsie founder Clarence Bethea began with empathy for the consumer and a goal to transform their warranty buying experience. In working to solve this problem, Bethea soon recognized the warranty industry had not kept up with the needs of today’s consumers, presenting him a notable opportunity to meet their need and revolutionize the warranty buying experience.

In an interview with Fast Company, Bethea said, For years, it’s been about the retailer making money. The opportunity is in winning consumers and empowering them to control their experience.”

Upsie is a billion-dollar idea because he took the time to understand people and their need.

Food for thought: how can you put people at the center of your big idea?

In this 3-part article series, Curb Crowser CEO Dean Forbes will share three ways big ideas will grow your business. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for parts 2 & 3.

In part 2, we’ll talk about how Big Ideas create real business value. In the meanwhile, keep up with Curb Crowser.

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