Think Small | KHWS

Think Small


This is hardly the inspirational message our parents told us to do, right?

We’re told to aim for the stars and think big.

And that’s often the focus at work – think about the big picture, develop a master plan, look how we can be bigger and better.

But what I’ve come to realise, is that whilst it’s the big picture that everyone is talking about, if there’s one key thing we do, it’s to make sure all the small things don’t get overlooked.

I started out as a content editor, updating European websites. The thinking at the time was: “Why do we have websites – we don’t sell online!” But we strived to understand the different cultures in each country, and by reflecting this online, we generated awareness, which helped fill the sales funnel. Building a website in Russian or Chinese requires attention to detail, ensuring everything is perfect before releasing to the world, on time. It taught me the value of impeccable planning, detail, and Thinking Small.

What I’ve subsequently witnessed, is that focus on the big idea and concept can often distract from Thinking Small. So often a wonderful creative idea is brought to life, only to die a death because there isn’t enough focus on the media support to carry it through. Likewise a great concept can lack resonance with the target audience, or is simply not achievable when it comes to implement if it hasn’t been built on strong foundations.

So what do I mean by Think Small?

Think about execution

How is this idea going to happen and make its way to the end customer or consumer? It not only has to be executed flawlessly across media channels, but also down through the sales funnel to achieve its KPIs. This means project plans and channel support. These small details can often be lost amongst the big idea.

Think about people

Build the big idea from the small ideas and challenges. This means being close to the end customer or consumer and understanding their wants, needs and fears. It also means everyone in between. What about the people in your sales channel that will deliver this big idea? If your research is correct, their wants, needs and fears should also naturally be addressed. They are also much closer to the end user, so can add context and insight and help prioritise your research data, ensuring your idea is not out of touch.

Think like a startup

This is more important than ever in today’s world. No matter how complex an organisation is, we need to think small and be agile. Too much time spent researching and planning a perfect solution, refining it behind closed doors, can mean that upon launch, competitors have beaten you to it or the market has changed since your plans began.

Think about Amazon, a multibillion dollar company that is super-fast to innovate, investing in startups and focusing on the different customer needs, without being afraid to fail. Compare that to the way M&S relaunched it’s website in 2014 that resulted in an 8% drop in sales, principally attributed to the fact that the site took 2 years to develop, at which point the market had moved on.

The best recipe for success is surely one that combines strategic planning models and research into a big bold creative idea which captures imagination. This undoubtedly needs to be delivered across all communication channels, whilst at the same time ensuring it is executed vertically through a path to purchase that resonates with your customers and consumers to trigger a sale. It’s the combination of the big with the small, the horizontal with the vertical.

So next time you’re planning your next big idea, make sure you take time to Think Small.