Creative stretching

One of the challenges of proposing and then implementing new ideas is the resistance that comes from the success that a business already has. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right? Wrong!

We are working with Villa Marina, a popular and growing seafood restaurant in Tijuana, on creating a memorable brand experience in the restaurant.

The goal is simple: create word of mouth.

There are plenty of ways to create word of mouth. The way Villa Marina has created word of mouth for themselves is by their attention to detail, one of their founders is the Chief Detail Officer, because everything looks great. From the waiters, the tables, the plates, the restrooms, everything screams ‘freshness’. In a city where people are not that spoiled, this strategy works. But, the problem is that anyone else can copy it in a week.

So what’s the solution?

Creative stretching to generate new ideas

What I like to do in these situations is to take their current strategy and turn it into a more extreme version of itself. The idea is to focus on the things you’re good at and take them to the extreme, then work backwards and integrate certain things that are doable without having to change everything.

To do this you search for examples at the other extreme of conventional wisdom. For that I’m looking at Alinea restaurant for ideas on how to entertain guests, but I didn’t stop there. Since we’re a digital marketing agency, everything we do is integrated with technology so I’m also looking at Alinea’s ‘Next’ restaurant which integrates social media into the interaction with the customer.

Since we’re in Mexico, getting their main customer (35 – 55) to use social technologies is going to be tricky, so we have to find a way to engage them. The other component is how to engage their customers once they leave the restaurant. Mexican businesses have yet to catch up with social technologies, especially if the business owners are older. We have to be very subtle in implementation and maybe even recommend a no-cost experiment just to get them interested.

We can paint a picture of what could be for them and they may love it but we have to put itsy-bitsy little pieces one step at a time for that transformation to take place.

You’re unlikely to see the future if you’re standing in the mainstream.

These are all problems we’re working hard on, but what I wanted to highlight is the technique of going to extremes to generate new ideas and then work backwards. What’s important to understand is that uncommon insights come from uncommon places, you have to get out of the mainstream and go to the edges to come up with something novel.

It’s time to go fishing for ideas 😉

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