Forming the habit of innovative thinking

Article

When operating a company there is much at hand to consider; from marketing campaigns to driving sales, from social engagement to competitor analysis. With so many different areas to take into account, if little attention is given to generating new ideas, companies fall back on using the same methods to market themselves. This leads to the same approach being employed when it comes to engaging with their customer. However what companies don’t realise is that by applying the same principles that have always been used without considering new ideas, they could actually be preventing growth, expansion and the ability to reach new markets.

So why do businesses fall into these same habits? – Is it the ease of implementation, time constraints or is it knowledge based? Asking why and questioning the way your company approaches a project, it’s marketing and customer engagement, you adopt new thinking that can open minds to innovation and lead to unexpected results.

Creativity and innovation within a company are the results of thinking differently in areas that are often overlooked.

For companies who are serious about setting themselves apart from the competition require the skill of adapting and developing ideas that are then implemented into something that is useful in the marketplace. If companies are continually thinking the same as their competitors, what is their advantage when customers are researching and comparing? With the overwhelming amount of information available to the consumer, often they are looking for something different that stands out and makes their decision easy. Thinking differently in the areas that matter is what will set companies apart from their competitors.

So where are the areas that companies can focus on to develop new ideas for innovation which lead to new growth and a competitive advantage?

Customer engagement, online strategy, marketing initiatives and visual communication are a few areas that a company can begin to think creatively. As you begin to analyse one of these areas you will find they are very much intertwined, and ideas will naturally form with problems being addressed across other areas.

So customer engagement is a great starting point to develop some creative ideas. One of the most import parts to developing growth in the business is knowing your customer, where you can then set up marketing initiatives and online strategies which will engage the right group of people for your company. An online strategy previously was all about social media, being across all platforms and getting as many followers as possible. A more effective approach is connecting and developing relationships with an audience that’s right for your business.

A few things to keep in mind with a new approach
to customer engagement.

1. Visual engagement – The use of visual content to engage customers has become a popular form of communication that is increasing at a rapid pace. One of the reasons for this is that all platforms of social media have made social sharing of visual content very easy, but also when you look at some of the stats you’ll understand the reason for it’s popularity.

Content featuring compelling images average 94% more total views than those without. (Source: MDGAdvertising) People respond better and resonate deeper with visual information, which makes sense as 90% of information transmitted in the brain is visual. (Sources: 3M Corporation)

Businesses who market with infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t. (Source:Ansonalex)

Visual content drives engagement. In fact, just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content — photos and videos — saw a 65% increase in engagement in posts? (Source: Simply Measured) Videos on landing pages increase average page conversion rates by 86%. (Source: EyeView)

So for companies it’s worth considering how visual content can be to engage customers

A few things that can be consider while developing ideas are looking at visual tools like instagram, youtube and slideshare. Along with other forms of visual engagement including call-to-actions on your website, video testimonials, or meet the staff videos. There is also the use of informative infographics and clever comics.

There are many ways visual content can be used to engage for both online and in the real world. Have fun and generate some unique ideas using a number of these methods and really create a great experience that will be both an exciting and rewarding one for your customer.

2. How are your customers engaging with your company. Knowing how your audience is engaging with your company and it’s product or services will help you develop new ideas that will make each point of engagement a great experience. For example, can your website be accessed by customers using their mobile phone? Or is visiting your website a fun and interesting, user friendly experience? Keep this in mind as these are processes your customers utilise before they even pick up the phone.

Nearly half of consumers say they won’t return to a website if it doesn’t load properly on their mobile devices. (Source: The Social Media Hat)

And finally,

3. Customer engagement can happen anytime, anywhere. This is a great one to remember in order to develop new ways of reaching your targeted audience. Recent stats show that 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. Mobile users that find your business online have a conversion percentage nearly three times higher than the same search done on a desktop or laptop. Why? Mobile users are on the go. (Source: Iacquire) This provides companies with an opportunity to connect with their audience that previously didn’t exist. So why not start developing interesting ideas of reaching your audience around the clock.

For companies to embrace innovation they need to form a habit of thinking differently and harness an environment that encourages the creative process of developing new ideas, and consider different options in areas that have previously been overlooked. Take some of these examples and see what new ideas you can introduce to reach and engage with a new audience.

tweet @melanie_miles_ or @hybridxpression

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