I love the word “never.”
Part of it is my rebellious nature, I’m sure.
But the primary reason is because never means something is there, something that elicits a reaction, something that could be important enough to fight for. Everyone is looking for the next new thing, something that's never been done before, right? So it stands to reason that never should be a marketer’s best friend, a communication professional’s shot of adrenaline, and a creative’s green light.
If the immediate answer to a new idea is “never,” then the questions and efforts should begin, not end.
- “The CFO will never approve a product like that.”
- “We’ll never be able to have a call center.”
- “Women’s logo apparel has never been anything other than button-down oxfords and polo shirts here. They’ll never let you order anything else.”
- “We’ve never used webinar training technology before.”
- “The male executives will never wear bras in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”
- “The CEO will never let you modify the logo.”
Each one of those nevers was converted into a product launch, an employee need answered or an award-winning campaign. How?
1. Rally your troops.
I mean the ones outside your building, across town and across the country. Use your industry connections to back you up with their data and success stories. Never underestimate the power of telling your leadership team, “When XYZ company tried this same initiative, their widget sales doubled in one month.” You might think your idea has never been tried before, but seriously, someone has probably tried it, or wants to. Join forces and crusade together.
2. Communicate in their language.
You know what motivates your leadership team. One company I worked for had a CEO who measured success by how much publicity a promotion generated, a COO who was primarily interested in staff incentives, and a CFO who just wanted to show me pictures of his grandchildren before asking how much my idea was going to cost. I pitched ideas to each of them accordingly.
3. Anticipate all their objections.
You also know what scares your leadership team, so don’t just pitch an idea – pitch a solution. “This promotion will not only increase our product penetration, but also increase mobile app downloads, which will add more cross-selling touchpoints and decrease unnecessary inbound calls.” And have an answer for anything that could go wrong, from employee errors to negative public reaction – or even no reaction at all.
4. And when necessary, just charge.
Crusading is sometimes a solo effort. So what? If your experience and instincts are screaming at you, listen. And storm the castle by yourself if that’s what it takes.
Never is not always a slamming door. It’s often a golden opportunity to dig deeper, get more information and create something unforgettable. And many times it’s a giant neon sign with an arrow pointing forward saying, “Go for it!”
Act of Fearlessness: Ask yourself, “What would my competitors never try?” And then try it.