What does “think outside the box” really mean?

I think that only the brave, audacious, innovative and serious marketers take the time to embrace “thinking outside the box”.  They believe that original and creative marketing campaigns that are well executed and properly distributed using the right media for their target audience will give them a boost in their branding and sales.  I believe in that premise, but got me thinking how companies go about “thinking outside the box” and how is that process different for small and medium firms.

I think that large organizations have approached it by sourrounding themselves with (hiring) highly  creative people from prestigious ad agencies. This approach makes sense for me because these agencies have the expertise to craft very innovative campaigns, and although one may think that they don’t have the proper knowledge of the client’s culture, product, market, etc. their clients may them humongous amounts of money for the them to research and learn all the need to do to create outstanding campaigns. However, with the proliferation of social media not only as a set of tools and technologies but as a social behavior phenomenon, companies are embracing new sources of ideas such as their own customers. There are many examples of this, one of the latest ones is Unilever.

But, how can small and medium firms compete and leverage new social media practices to effectively compete and win?

They can’t afford paying creative directors from well known ad agencies to spend hundreds of hours researching about their company, culture, products, competitors, customers, etc to then come up with super creative and cool campaigns that they can’t afford to run on the expensive media recommended and with the frequency needed to have an impact.  Small and medium firms must be resourceful and the answer is within themselves. They can leverage all the knowledge, ideas, social and professional networks, and passion that is within their employees, partners, customers, investors and even suppliers to come up with the most creative and innovative campaigns ever.  That is the core of social media and the Web 2.0, it is the collaboration in the creation.

If you are a small or medium firm and your are wondering how to innovate in your marketing programs, you may have the answer sitting next to you.

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