To Be Different, Be Lucky

Written by on January 22, 2013 in Uncategorized - No comments

Over the past century, we haven’t seen many dramatic improvements in the design of the bicycle. Seats might be more comfortable. They might go faster, last longer. But largely a bicycle is still a bicycle. Enter the Fliz. This recent invention (pictured below) requires riders to “strap into a harness and build up speed by running, with their head sticking out between the frame.”

The designers describe the Fliz as a fresh option for urban space that supports healthy, ecological mobility.

The jury is out on whether the Fliz will make it big, but it is a great example of the creativity needed by your organization when it comes to the product or service you offer.

A more thoroughly tested experiment in disruptive innovation comes via Lucky Brand. The company was launched in 1989, at a time when charging upwards of $70 for jeans was a foreign concept. However, the founders behind Lucky weren’t exactly conventional personalities.

Their irreverent sense of humor and rebel style made the brand very appealing to rock stars, and by default the fans who wanted to be like them. After building a successful business, Lucky Brand was sold to Liz Claiborne and continues to be a thriving part of the Fifth & Pacific portfolio.

From the outset, the Lucky team didn’t worry about how to make money. They just made the best jeans they could. They spent more time and incorporated better materials, which meant the jeans cost twice as much as other options in the market.

Even the Lucky name bucked the trends of the times. The founders came up with the moniker while in Chinatown one day and thought it was a great way to differentiate from all their French and European sounding competitors. In the early days, Lucky was just a different kind of animal. According to the founders, they “had long hair and loud music, which was a different way of doing things then.”

Lucky’s founders have urged other businesses not to stop when they become successful, but to make their products better and to keep taking risks. They say, “You can either have a job, or you can build something.”

You can distinguish your organization by producing a killer product or service. Your goods can stand out because of their creativity and ingenuity, i.e. bringing a new solution to the market or solving an old problem in a new way. You can separate yourself by the quality of what you produce. Or you can separate yourself by what you are really selling.

Lucky Brand did all three. Their designs were highly unique and unprecedented. They raised the bar on quality. And they attached their product to a lifestyle, striking an emotional and aspirational chord with their target market.

Are you offering the best possible product or service? Is there a way for you to innovate? Are you selling yourself short by trying to fit in with your competition? Can you separate yourself by creativity, quality and/or lifestyle?

Your best products and services are discovered when you are being who you are, not who you think you should be. Watching competitors and following suit is the fastest way to limit yourself to incremental gains. You have to be true to your organization’s DNA to break out.

Lucky’s founders were rock and roll. They had expensive taste. They were rebels. And they stood out like a sore thumb. In the process, they built a hugely successful business and ushered in a new era of designer jean fashion. If you are truly being creative and innovative, don’t you think you’ll have a hard time fitting in anyway?

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STANDING OUT: 5 Ways to Get Noticed by Being Different

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