Originally published in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Daily Times-Call.


That sign was ever-present back in the day. There was even a sign in the Journalism lab. Think! That’s all it said. No clue as to what to think about or for how long. Just Think! So I did. I thought about a lot of things, about my future husband, about going out with my friends and about how much “to-do” items stood between me and freedom. My adviser suggested I think about the right stuff such as term papers, reading assignments and attending class more regularly.

Thinking about the right stuff is the lifeline for business.

Thinking about the competition, new products and services, getting more people through the doors and improving the bottom line. Thinking of ways to do better, to stand out from the crowd , to be the pace-setter, not an also-ran. Thinking about success.

But thinking is just a beginning, not an end. Following thinking comes revising and revamping communication and marketing approaches to get new ideas and images in the eyes, ears and minds of current and potential clients and customers.

Here are a couple points to ponder when you’re in the business-thinking mode.

First, verify.

Many businesses seek reinforcement of their thinking by bouncing new ideas off family and friends. That’s akin to me asking my husband if my new jeans make me look fat. His answer will be predicated on my likely reaction; hence, his feedback may not be candid.

A better approach is to broaden thinking by discussing ideas and plans with employees and colleagues. They know your business and are positioned to suggest tweaks and nuances that might have been overlooked.

Then take a page from the book of politicians. Before serious politicians release any messages or ads, they enlist focus groups. They want unbiased eyes and ears to see and hear what they are preparing for the general public. They want input and feedback that is reflective of target audiences. They want independent verification.

Second, implement.

All thinking goes for naught if new approaches and ideas are left on the shelf. Business success is not a should-have-been, could-have-been, would-have-been proposition. Business success is getting products and services out there ahead of the competition and doing it in creative, innovative ways. That’s business thinking. But business thinking and strategies must be in sync with the feelings, needs, desires and expectations of target audiences. Where are those target audiences? What are the demographics? How do they take in new information?

If you are sending messages in one mode and your target audiences are receiving in another, new ideas will be lost in the gap. The gap can be bridged through multi-media approaches, messaging tailored to specific groups and generational imaging.

Strategies for implementing business thinking should be all-encompassing, with consideration given to differences. It would be counter-productive to pitch denture cream at the Gap or sports cars at the Dollar Store.

The best messaging reaches target audiences where they live, appeals to their core and leaves them reaching for their check books or charge cards.

Customer/client feedback will signal what is working and what is not That feedback should spark another cycle of business thinking, verification and implementation. That’s what got us from carbon paper to computers.

Think! (then verify and implement).

Switching gears, I want to congratulate the Longmont Times-Call on their new offices. I had the pleasure of being taken on a tour of the new digs and came away impressed. It is another milestone in the path of the newspaper, publishers, editors, reporters and ad reps that have served our community so loyally and well.

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
Visit www.comm-concepts.com or call 303-651-6612.

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