Someone in a meeting says, “What we want to do is take this to the next level.” And while that’s true, everyone in the room cringes a bit, because that is now a clichéd phrase, a hackneyed directive. It lost its muscle about 9 years ago really, because too many people said it and didn’t mean it. Another nice sentiment bites the dust. But you can still bring back its power for your brand.
A higher level is a shoe company like Tom’s deciding to sell one, give one, and thus changing the world in a real way. A higher level is what Apple does, or what some filmmakers do. But too many people have kidnapped the phrase via corporate-speak seminars and tossed it like bagged cheese into rooms where it has no business being. A higher level is not the same thing but in blue. A higher level is not an awkward revamp, or shuffling pages, or forgetting that navigation matters on your dazzling new site. A higher level is not saying “Cloud” without a strategic, logical, useful reason.
What a higher level is, is this: thinking beyond the point where you think “they’ll be okay with this much, maybe, so stop there." It’s bigger than the 10% switch up; or maybe it’s the 10% change, but with balls. It’s deciding to be the best, no matter what it takes. It’s risk. It’s passion and innovation driving a hot car through the center of a sleepy tired town. It’s throwing down some color and parking your brilliant flame-throwing brain right there in the middle of town and saying, Hey look at this! Game-changer! And making everyone else think that maybe there’s more to marketing and innovation, and building the economic health of your world than just the rulebook or a company form or what the division jailer of historic convention ever expected. Skip the next level, because competition is already there, right now, out there. Go farther. Imagine your highest level. Use your critical thinking to imagine your best. Use your gut to get there. It pays.