The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

No Pet Rocks Here!

On April 30th, 2012, posted in: Uncategorized by

How starved for love was the baby-boomer generation?  We bought “Pet Rocks” to keep us company.  Yeah, that’s right.  If you don’t remember the first go-round of puka shell necklaces, wide-bottom bell bottoms, waffle stompers, or you have no idea what Stephen Tyler did before American Idol, then you had absolutely no idea that your parents may have been a couple of the millions who bought a rock and called it their pet.  Sick, huh?

“Pet Rocks” died because of a lack of innovation.  There’s only so much you can do to innovate a rock.  No chance of making a rock into something too different than its original form.  And adding accessories only had so much appeal, especially when you thought of the potential ridicule associated to you putting a clothing line on a rock.

When businesses create a product, they need to immediately begin thinking about how to make it better.  Proctor & Gamble is good at this.  First, it was the Swiffer.  Then it was the new and improved Swiffer.  And, think about it, what version of the world famous detergent Tide are we on?  Whatever the number, I assure you there are more to come.  Auto manufacturers are good at it, too.  They have planned obsolescence every year by innovating into a new model year.

Innovation is important.  Blockbuster Video counted on people’s willingness to get in their car to drive to rent a movie.  But a sedentary society became even more sedentary and, rather than drive to a video store, we shifted into a really low gear and started having movies delivered to our mailbox.  It was pure genius on the part of Netflix to recognize the behavioral shift of consumers.  What was even more impressive was the recognition of Netflix leadership that, in fact, we would ultimately be too lazy to walk to our mailbox.  So they innovated further to have it stream over the Internet.

Businesses must continue to innovate to meet the needs of the changing behaviors of consumers.  Failure to innovate leads to extinction.  See, there are only four phases that businesses can find themselves positioned.  A business can either be in the introduction phase, the growth phase, reaching the mature phase, or decline.  To stay in growth requires innovation.  See, reaching the mature phase is a fancy way of saying consumers have begun to lose interest.  Your product has no distinction and the market sees no difference between you and your competition.  Because you are bored with your market, they quickly become bored with you.  This is a very ugly place to be.

In other words, the end is inevitable.  We never want our members to be bored with SLCCU.  We are innovating all of the time.  New products, new levels of convenience and fresh promotions are regularly making their way to our members to meet the needs of their ever-changing lifestyles.

For those of you wondering, I never owned a “pet rock.”  They weren’t very innovative from my perspective.  After all, they were rocks.  Now my kids know the truth – Dad was normal.

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