We Can Live in a World that we Design

  • Jan 22, 2019

In with the New:

New strategies and new promotional products
attract new customers

PT Barnum was hailed as the Steve Jobs of his time because he understood how to generate wild enthusiasm for products people didn't even know they needed or wanted. Barnum famously packaged "curiosities" as entertainment, at a whopping profit. Today we have new evidence linking curiosity to great strides in marketing success.

Ask a Silly Question

Really. Ask questions, and encourage your team to explore, learn, and question the status quo.

FRANCESCA GINO, the Tandon Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, explains that companies significantly boost productivity when they foster curiosity, and one of the best ways to do that is to encourage employees to ask questions and to give them permission to question decisions.

Try this quick curiosity exercise:

Look at this irresistible new branded apparel line from Carhartt, and the eye-catching new drinkwear, brand-new this year, below. Ask yourself and your team, "Who would love this? How might we use one or more of these items to enforce our message? How does this product align with our values in a way that we can have some fun with it, and delight our prospects?" What other questions might you ask?

How does curiosity inspire greatness?

Attendees at the first event in Janet's Meydenbauer series, "The Greatest Show" learned some important ways to harness our innate curiosity. Todd Kashdan, professor of psychology and senior scientist at George Mason University and a consultant for Time Inc., believes curiosity bestows four important benefits:

  1. Measurably enhances intelligence
  2. Increases "grit," (persistence)
  3. Boosts energy
  4. Increases performance

Lasting Impressions is in the business of improving performance. Janet pointed her audience to a suite of articles in the Harvard Business Review called The Business Case for Curiosity.

Five ways that curiosity matters for marketing success:

Relentless: Kashdan breaks it down for us, based on extensive studies in five different dimensions of curiosity. First, the type of drive that makes us relentless in the pursuit of a solution to a problem. Here's where you can rise to the level of excellence in your ability to employ strategy and creativity to reach your goals.

Joyful: Second, the pleasure of experiencing awe. This is the elation you feel when you are joyfully consumed with an adventure in discovery. This is the contagious enthusiasm that P.T. Barnum will always be remembered for, and which will unfailingly propel you forward as you trust your dreams and continually seek ways to fulfill them.

Social: Third, social curiosity. You might know somebody who sincerely asks you what something felt like to you, or how you tackled a problem. You know immediately, they really want to know. This is the most important quality of any great salesman. Real marketers want to hear what their customers are thinking, buying, reading, eating, and most important, feeling. We have to ask.

Resilient: Fourth, stress tolerance. Simply put, this means being patient with the process of learning the lesson and having the courage to look the answer squarely in the eye. A great example is accepting criticism with curiosity rather than defensiveness. Most of us have a lot of unconscious resistance to information we don't like. What a great advantage it is to nurture this kind of curiosity!

Adventurous: Fifth, thrill seeking. As much as we might not appreciate the kind of curiosity that drives our kids to try experiments that keep us up nights, it actually has huge benefits as a marketer. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained," takes on importance as we recognize that a reasonable amount of risk is a very smart strategy. If it's logical and smart, the upside is enormous and if we can afford the possibility of the downside, it is often a very good idea to take a strategic amount of risk, learn from it, and possibly win big.

Making curiosity work for your team:

Companies who do the best at tapping the curiosity of their leaders, their team and their customers have measurable lifts in productivity. At Lasting Impressions, we have seen this unfold many times, in many types of businesses.

Keep in touch. We are curious about your dreams: all 1 million of them.

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