It’s clear. A company needs a vision. It has to know where it’s going, why it’s going, and it needs a plan to get there. Without purpose and passion though, a vision is just words on paper…a body without a soul. This is what separates the great companies from the good ones.
JohnDeere was a blacksmith in the 1830s and he built a new kind of plow to help the local farmers cut through the soil better. He envisioned a company that would supply midwestern farmers with reliable, affordable equipment. That simple vision was backed up by a passion for excellence that has driven his company for over 185 years. Reliability is so completely ingrained in the company and its culture, that no one questions the statement “nothing runs like a deere” because nothing does.
While Steve Jobs has been hailed as the greatest visionary of our times, it was his passion not his vision that made Apple the number one brand in the world. He was determined to build “insanely great products” and his never ending search for the next great product drove him and the company to greatness.
Though separated by 150 years, Deere and Jobs had a lot in common. While their competitors were busy copying their ideas and building tractors and computers, Deere and Jobs were busy looking for better solutions to their customers problems.
That’s what innovators do. They are never satisfied with just building more stuff or making more money. The focus is always on the customer, the customer’s needs and solving the next big problem…passionately.
I was taking a morning walk around the marina in New Bern the other day. Lots of folks were out for their morning coffee. There were joggers, walkers, talkers… It was a busy, summer morning and I encountered what seemed like an unusual number of attractive ladies. As they approached, each one broke into a huge smile, slowed down and said “good morning”, “so cute”, “awwww”. And not a single one was looking at my eyes. No, they were looking at Poppi, my daughter’s six year old YorkiePoo. Or maybe she’s a Pookie since she is more poodle than yorkie.
To be fair, Poppi is extremely cute and she has never met a stranger. Never. And she still acts like she’s three months old. But seriously, am I invisible? Shouldn’t I get a nod or something?
The answer, of course, is no.
People like what they like and ladies like cute little dogs way more than they like the cute little dog walkers. (That is, walkers of cute dogs.)
Too much of today’s marketing ignores this fundamental fact. People want what they want, even if they don’t know what they want. Too much of today’s marketing simply says “look at me, look at me” instead of just being so doggone irresistible that the buyer can’t help but look. Now, it’s not easy to be irresistible (unless your name is Poppi). It takes hard work to create an offering that cuts through the clutter and strikes a chord with the buyer. It takes effort to craft a message that speaks to the issues that the customer cares most about.
Take the time, do it right and it’s like walking around with a cute dog on a leash…only better.