Organisations and institutions are continuously trying to differentiate themselves so as to attract, retain or convince the customer that what they have to offer is different or has that secret "element" that will make the difference.
Most of what is achieved or offered however is only incremental change at the best. Very little development or brainstorming ever achieves any fundamental change to the way things operate or services are delivered. That’s because most of us are not prepared to "disturb" the comfort zone. The consequence of this is that buyers and seekers of "things different" are becoming increasingly disillusioned and less inclined to respond to the variations offered which means that any "real" breakthroughs or achievements are lost in the noise.
Now in short supply of any real innovation, have we now shifted our focus to "loyalty" rather than real product development? We spoon feed the market with tantalising tit bits without giving anything of substance. The appearance is that the provider is "leading" the market with continual development when in reality they are just drip feeding the market with average level new options. Options which are actually in themselves nothing new, they were just (deliberately) missing from the original model.
The aspect of branding or "wrapping" is also evident in the car parts industry. The same part will have several different codes depending on what car you are putting it in and essentially this will come with the different price. same factory, same part, same everything but we will pay a different price for it because of the label and some idea that it must be different and therefore warrants the buyers loyalty. What’s occurring is a the propagation of a belief in something with very shallow value.
There are however some examples of doing exactly the opposite and even passionately maintaining the "core purpose" or "original product" at the expense of being "outdated" by other advanced competition, One of these is Harley Davidson. It was a conscious decision on the part of that company to stay with their clear mission and purpose from the start with almost no product change, and it has proved out.
Several things emerge here. Whether we are driving a business or looking at our personal approach, do we really know what our core business or original purpose is, or has it. or us, lost our way in the noise?
In our pursuit of bigger, brighter, fresher, have we lost sight of the true and original product? Do we understand our purpose? Have we missed the real "fundamental" insight, change or innovation that is required or possible and inadvertently settled for mediocrity?
How much do we contribute to the shallow offerings being made? Is our whole kudos or existence built on this? How much is image underpinning who we are?
Whilst it’s important to keep our lives fresh, and maintain and update our environment we need to consciously be aware of not losing sight of the core essentials and purpose. What is our objective and what does it provide? What is the real fundamental or enduring change that will make the difference? That may even be getting back to basics. By continually accepting or promoting cosmetics we may just be encouraging an offering of mediocrity and be left holding a wrapper.
Are we chasing a quick fix that will change with the next fashion offer?
Is it just the same stuff, different label? Or does the wrapper contain any stuff at all?