Customer Experience Innovation Blog with Toni Newman
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Something Different


Better isn’t good enough anymore.
Let me repeat that.
Better isn’t good enough anymore.
The most viable competitive advantage that any of us have left in today’s unpredictable and unforgiving marketplace is not to be better but to Dare 2b Different.

Not different for the sake of being different. Strategically different.
Different in a way that will help you stand out in the marketplace.
Different in a way that will help you sell on value instead of price.
Different in a way that will help you to attract, keep and engage more customers more often so that you can grow your business.

Because let’s face it. Between you and me? The rules of the marketplace haven’t just changed. They’ve disappeared. Poof. Gone.

While the world has been changing at the speed of light, most of us have been stuck in the past, waking up each morning convinced that the secret to growing our business is not so much about change as it is about improvement.

Oh, we talk the change talk but we walk the improvement walk. What other explanation could there be for the fact that the continuous improvement movement has become a multi-million dollar industry?

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that getting better isn’t important. What I am saying is that better is not enough. Getting better is the price that we pay to stay in business. It’s the price that we pay to continue to be able to play in the sandbox because here’s the reality check.

Better is what is takes for your business to survive.
Different is what is takes for your business to thrive.
Better keeps you in the game.
Different is what it takes to win the game.

Look at it this way. Imagine that you are swimming in a lake with all of your competitors. If you’re not getting better, you’re drowning. However, if all that you are doing is getting better, you are really just treading water because guess what. Each morning every one of those competitors – at least any of the ones that are really worth worrying about- is getting up determined to get better too. And since there are really only so many ways to get better at something, there you all are. Treading water in a sea of sameness. Same products, same services, same marketing, same business models. Does anybody see the ‘same’ problem that I do?

In today’s highly competitive and increasingly commoditized marketplace the trick to getting to the other side of the lake before your competitors is no longer about learning how to swim better. It’s about coming up with a different way of swimming all together. Or better still, figuring out how to win the race without swimming at all because at the end of the day, who said that swimming is the only way to get to the other side?

Think about it. What does ‘better’ actually mean? It means that we look at something that already exists and we make the assumption that the basic premise of that something is sound. And if something is fundamentally sound, then all we really need to do is tweak it, right?

Not to mention the fact that tweaking is easy, tweaking is safe and what’s really exciting about tweaking is that there is probably a tweaking consultant right around the corner that you can hire to ensure the success of your tweaking project. Small tweaks, big tweaks, single tweaks or tweaks galore. – A tweak is still a tweak.

The global marketplace is imploding with transformational change and we are busy tweaking. The world is innovating around us and yet many businesses are still standing under a doorway waiting for the tremors to pass so that they can go back to life as it was before.

Well that’s not going to happen because business as we know it has left the building… and it’s not coming back… ever.

Innovation Insight … Different is the new better.

Better is the way things are.
Different is the way things need to be.
Better is doing what is expected.
Different is having the courage to do the unexpected.
Better is about incremental improvement.
Different is about transformational change.
Better begins with some basic assumptions.
Different assumes that there are no assumptions.

Better rearranges the pieces of a pre-existing puzzle.
Different redefines the word puzzle completely.
Better is what your competitors are trying to do.
Different is what your competitors would never dream of doing.

Better redesigns.
Different redefines.

Better is important.
Different is essential.
Because better alone isn’t good enough anymore.
Better needs different to work and together better and different are an unbeatable team.

Better is about improvement …
looking at what is and asking ‘how can we make it better?’
Different is about innovation…
Imagining what could be and asking ‘how can we make it happen?’

So here is what you need to ask yourself.
Are you better or are you different or are you both?
Because if all that you are is one or the other
then it’s time to get working on being one and the other.

Because when push comes to shove,
no-one knows better than you
that the only real question
is what are you going to do…
Today …
Right now…
To take your business from where it is to where you have always believed it could be?

Because what if…
What if the only thing standing between where you are today
and where you have always believed you could be
is the courage to let go of where you have already been?

Until next time,
Imagine the Possibilities!

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Beyond the Obvious

Vet Sign

Would you do something for me? Well, two things actually.

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Don’t Blame the B Word!

What did you think the B stands for in Don’t Blame the B word?


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Is this too personal?


When is personal not really personal?

Ok – let me back up a bit.

I spend a fair amount of time researching innovation and customer experience online and I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. More and more businesses, large and small, are trying to make their blogs, websites, social media posts etc… more “personal”.

Personally, I have no issue with being personal. After all, one of the S’s in my Five ‘S’ Solution is the ‘S’ for Seductive and one of the ways to create an innovative Seductive customer experience is to make it more personal.

So what’s my problem?

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You Talkin’ to Me?


Did you know that the word itchy actually makes you itchy?

Or, that you see better when you are afraid?

Or for that matter, (my apologies to the sensitive in advance), that you fart a balloon’s worth of gas in a day?

Continue reading ‘You Talkin’ to Me?’

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Five Innovation Insights from What Not To Wear


I have a confession to make.

I watch TLC’s fashion makeover show What Not To Wear.

There.  I’ve said it out loud.

For those you who aren’t in the know about the What Not to Wear - WNTW for short –  phenomenon, for the last 10 years, TLC hosts Stacey London and Clinton Kelly have been ambushing unsuspecting guests whose friends and family have nominated them as walking fashion disasters.   As brutal as the concept may seem, once Stacey and Clinton have worked their fashion makeover magic, their guest’s transformation  – in both style on the outside and confidence on in the inside – is downright dramatic.

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Create, Demonstrate and Deliver Value: The Innovation Sweet Spot


Urgent calls.
Urgent meetings.
Urgent projects.

If you own or run a business…
If you lead a high performance team…

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A Mother’s Day Reflection

Did you celebrate Mother’s Day this past weekend?

Our family did.  Ger and the kids planned a wonderful day for me with just the perfect balance of activity and relaxation.

Truth be told, for reasons that will become clearer as you read on, Mother’s Day has always been a bit of a mixed bag for me.

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Are you kidding me?

I confess.  I‘m about to rant.

Rant about an insipid but unfortunately prevalent trend that is out there in customer experience and to be honest, it is a trend that is really starting to bug me.

It’s called Personalization – the attempt to create connections with customers by appearing to personalize communications and offers.

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There it was!  The mega-hyped brand new Pandora jewelry store located smack dab in the middle of Soho, New York City.  My friend and I had been waiting for this moment for months.

Continue reading ‘PANDORA’s Box’

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