Editor's View - July 2011

Small Dog Thinking
By Wanda Jankowski, Editor-in-Chief

What economic recovery? That’s the reaction received from some of the major suppliers interviewed for the special trio of SMART Reports published exclusively by LDB Interior Textiles in this issue.

In the report for the bath sector, titled “Function In The Bath,” Keith Greer, national sales manager for Avanti Linens says, “The difficult economic environment makes newness and innovation all the more important. It’s hard to get retail buyers excited because they are focused, rightfully so, on getting their consumers excited and the way to do that is through innovation and newness.”

In spite of a shrinking pie of consumers’ dollars to go after, there is still pie, but today to get a piece of it, you have to be thinking smart, not big.

In her new book, Putting The Luxe Back In Luxury, Pam Danziger, president, Unity Marketing, offers words of advice for luxury companies that can really be heeded by any business enterprise looking to survive and flourish through today’s harsh economic climate.

“Innovation is a challenge for any company, but especially for market leaders who want to defend their turf. Frankly I think being a new entrant into an established market space is a far better place to be than to be the market leader, the ‘big dog’. The new entrant can redefine the playing field, turn the leaders’ defensive moves against them, or play a new way to attract a customer that is looking for a new, innovative solution, rather than the same-old, same-old. The dominant competitors have invested too much in playing the game the old way and are often extremely resistant to change. They don’t want to take the risk,” she writes.

Danziger advises to stop thinking like a big dog and start behaivng like a small one. “Big dogs lose when they try to run with the faster, smarter little ones,” she writes.

“Too often ideation sessions turn from imagining new ideas into problem-solving exercises focused on figuring out ways to offer up the same solutions to the same customers in virtually the same way. Big dogs feel more comfortable tweaking old ideas, not imagining concepts that would make a real difference,” claims Danziger.
Instead, she says, scout out fresh approaches from any source, anywhere, especially from markets and industries not directly competitive with yours.

Jolt your business out of this economic malaise and be the dog that gets the piece of the pie by turning on the “small dog thinking” and, as Greer and Danziger suggest, innovate.

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