by Ellen Fruchtman, President
The road is winding when it comes to business. Sometimes uphill. Sometimes downhill. And, everything in-between. We’re reading article after article about how businesses weathered the COVID storm and how those that thrived made the necessary adjustments. Necessity is the mother of invention. But, what if we weren’t always driven by necessity and rather driven by our desire to be a leader; to step out of our comfort zone; to be ahead of the curve rather than initiating something at the end of the curve?
Real leaders have vision. They read business and marketing articles incessantly. They listen to Ted Talks and podcasts by well-known Futurists. They file what others outside the industry may be doing and consider how this might actually work for them. They don’t initially have the reaction “this won’t work”. Instead, they say to themselves, “why wouldn’t this work for me”? Not that I’m a Trekkie by any stretch of the imagination, but they boldly go where no man has gone before.
What precipitated this article in the first place? I read with great interest the newly reported Signet buy-out of the jewelry subscription company, Rocksbox. And, I felt vindicated. And frustrated. You see, we’re very much not your typical “advertising” firm. We try to be visionaries for the industry. Of course, we try to develop new ideas all the time. However, at the beginning of every year, as we build our budgets and plans for our clients, we propose a laundry list of out-of-the-box ideas with solid justification to back it up. I might add, most are not necessarily tried and tested for the jewelry industry but have been successful in other industries. Some have never been done by retailers, but they are still fantastic marketing ideas. They are innovative. They are based on our keen understanding of customer behavior patterns, and sometimes they are based on having just a really good, gut feeling. Many ideas fill an obvious void in the business. We have held internal meetings to poke every conceivable hole in each one of them. All of these ideas require a visionary leader to pull the trigger. Alas, this is typically what we hear:
“Oh, I don’t think that will work for us”. To which I want to say, WHY?
“I don’t think our customers will like it or get it.” HAVE you asked them?
“That’s interesting. I like it”. But, it is NEVER on the list of initiatives anyone wants to do in the year to come or near future.
“It doesn’t sound like us”. REALLY? We understand your brand voice. Do you like the sound of money in your register?
“Has anyone you worked with done this before?” NO, this is a bright, innovative idea you should do!
Most of all, we want to say, “Can we just try it? What is the worst that can happen?”
That was long-winded to get to this point: Fruchtman Marketing proposed a jewelry subscription service over 12 years ago! To an older client (who shall remain nameless) in Michigan. It was perfect for them. They sold very inexpensive goods. They lived in an area where the weather could lead people to stay indoors (pre-Internet shopping days), but they also had great brand loyalty and enthusiasts.
To be perfectly honest, if we were to revive some of our much older proposals and ideas, we would find most are being done today, and most remain fabulous ideas for this industry. That list, by the way, is very long. This is not to toot our horn as much as it is to beg you to be more of a visionary. To stop saying “this won’t work” to anyone who proposes an idea that truly has merit. Take a step back and really think about what the retail future holds.
It is easy to get mired in the day-to-day minutia. It is not easy to step back, take a breath, and figure out where things are heading.
Consumers are changing. The way people shop is changing. What people wear and purchase is changing. What people want from a great retailer is changing.
The question is, are you?
Take the road less traveled. It might actually lead you to the end of a beautiful rainbow.
If you feel you are open and have visionary potential, we’d like to work with you! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. And change the course of your business.