Jones, Robert The Big Idea

ISBN 13: 9780002571999

The Big Idea

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9780002571999: The Big Idea

In today’s and tomorrow’s marketplace the key to success in business is the Big Idea – the idea that persuades customers not just to buy from your company, but to buy into it.

Nowadays anyone can copy your product, or even your business model. What they can’t copy is your worldview, your attitude, your special way of doing things. So in the future, the war in the marketplace will be a war of ideas. The Big Idea maps this new territory and shows how big ideas make great companies. Unlike business models, product ideas or the catchphrases of management gurus, a big idea is emotional. And unlike corporate ideologies, vision or brand, it is shared between customers and employees alike.

Companies who have distinguished themselves with a big idea include:
• Virgin (not British Airways)
• Apple (not IBM)
• Orange (not Cellnet)
• John Lewis (not Debenhams)
• Ikea (not MFI)

Customers don’t just buy from these companies, they buy into them – they choose them not through economic logic, but through emotional logic. As products and services become more and more similar, emotional logic will become the single most important business driver. The benefits of appealing to it can already been seen: Orange has a much lower turnover of customers than Cellnet and Ikea operates in over 23 countries while MFI only does business in Britain.

In the future, as power shifts ever more decisively away from the state and from large corporations to the individual, people will use their power to choose the kind of life that enhances their sense of who they are. Organizations will offer not products or services but experiences – just as Virgin already offers youthfulness, or Orange optimism.

In The Big Idea Robert Jones, director with brand consulting firm Wolff Olins, uses real-life examples to demonstrate how big ideas can and will transform the business world.

A big idea isn’t just a cute thing to have: it’s the spark that makes some organizations thrive while others just exist.

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Review:

Like the best schemes, Robert Jones' big idea is essentially simple: "The things people buy--products and services--are becoming more and more similar as it becomes increasingly easy for one company to copy another's technological advantage. This has a simple but devastating consequence: in the absence of economic differences, emotional logic will become the single most important business driver". That sofa you bought isn't just something to sit on while you watch the TV, it's a concept: a bundle of emotional cues and value statements representing your core beliefs.

Sound familiar? Stick with it, Jones' thinking is intuitive and definitions do blur, but his "big ideas" are distinct from brands or organisational vision.

What organisations started to look for [at the end of the 1990s] was something deeper than brand. Something that, unlike product idea or business model, would be rich and serious. And something that, unlike vision or brand, would appeal to people inside and outside the organisation equally: something they could share.
And that's the crux of it. Big ideas are the promises businesses communicate about themselves totally, both internally to their employees and externally to their customers and shareholders. A big idea says, "this is what we stand for, join us if you share our ideals". Jones offers insight into how big ideas emerge and the active, organic way they are defined and shaped by products and responses. "The journey to discover a big idea is a strange experience", he says, "very rarely do organisations get straight there".

Robert Jones has written a wonderful book, packed with insight and bursting with energy, vision and inspiration. The Big Idea joins Beautiful Corporations and Corporate Religion in having explored the new intimacies of the organisational space and effectively vocalised the power of emotion. --Iain Campbell

Review:

This book will make you look at the marketplace and see what's going on...a fascinating account of how people's needs are being met ( Evening Standard)

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