Have you ever started an initiative that seemed to fizzle out after a few weeks or months? I bet almost everyone has experienced this in some form in their life. Each January ushers in the opportunity to ‘start fresh’ and as such, many companies and leaders choose to introduce new ideas. It is not uncommon to have a team meeting and ‘launch’ the new ideas. Unfortunately, a few weeks later that excitement of newness and opportunity has evaporated, replaced by the behaviors, actions, and results of old.
Why does this happen and how can you avoid it for your next big project?
Communication is at the core of successful products, processes, and programs. No winning outcome found its way to success without a plan for progressive communication. Let’s use a new product launch as an example of what this may look like. I will use a product launch for Apple as our example, since most people are familiar with the company’s products.
A new product begins with a big announcement with a lot of fanfare. The product is communicated as part of a presentation that is covered by hundreds of media outlets. This is where Apple explains why the new product is important, what it does, and how it will make everyone’s life better. This is the ‘launch’.
If they stopped there, few of their products would succeed for the long-term. Instead, there is ongoing media communication about their product. They establish a ‘order date’ creating another major milestone for people to get excited about. Then they continue to push advertising in different media forms for months after the product has launched. When a new iPhone launches in September, you will continue to see new commercials for the product 3, 6, 9 months after the initial introduction showing new uses and features of how to maximize the enjoyment of the product. These target current users to demonstrate specific features as well as attract new customers.
The message originally discussed at the ‘big launch’ continues to resonate through these messages even as the product becomes established in the everyday lives of their customers. Apple communicates over and over to embed the message they want their customers and potential customers to hear.
New projects or initiatives in any business can follow the same pattern. Introduce your new idea, create plenty of excitement, but continue to strengthen that message every day after the launch. Ensure the messaging keeps the reason why you introduced the project in the first place on the top of everyone’s mind.
Make your messages simple in nature that build on top of what you already have. Apple uses 30-second commercials to connect users back to the features of their products. Instead of trying to retell the entire story each time, they narrow the messaging to a specific component they wish to highlight. You can do the same for your project.
Finally, keep everyone aware of the progress being made. This may not correlate as much to our example, but we do hear on occasion how many millions of iPhones have been sold. That in itself provides a message to the consumer – am I part of those millions or should I be part of those millions? Regular updates on the successes of the project will sustain high levels of motivation, ensuring you realize the full value of the originally presented vision.
Keeping people engaged in your new idea, process, or program is the best way to ensure that the idea becomes a reality for the future. Influencing and creating change are key roles leaders play each day. Communicating on an continual basis, keeping the messaging simple, and providing regular updates is a proven way to ensure that your next ‘big launch’ will soar to success.