There are powerful forces in the universe, some of which are difficult to comprehend and equally difficult to fight. Try as you might, as long as you are earth-bound you can't beat gravity. Nor can mere mortals stop the ocean's cycle of tides. Einstein is rumored to have declared, "compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe." Personally, I find it darn near impossible to drive past the Krispy Kreme Donut Shop when they're cranking them out hot and fresh. Unfortunately, though, in my years in advertising I have discovered that one of the most pervasive (and usually damaging) forces in the marketing world is the desire to continue doing things a certain way solely because "it's the way we've always done it."
"It's the way we've always done it" needs to be banished from the American business lexicon for numerous reasons:
1. Times change. Technology changes. Consumer habits change. So should business and marketing practices.
2. "It's the way we've always done it" by itself completely lacks substance. To deserve to be heard it has to be followed by a solid, strategic rationale. On it's own, it has about as much intellectual weight as "because."
3. More often than not, people cling to "It's the way we've always done it" not because it's the best, most successful way of doing anything. Usually it's because it's the easiest and most comfortable option. It represents the status quo not the future.
4. By the time a firm like ours is called in it's because someone has recognized the need to improve an organization’s advertising, positioning or brand experience itself. It's up to the boss/decision-maker to shake the rest of the staff out of the "It's the way we've always done it" mentality and not allow any backsliding.
As you can tell, this subject is close to my heart. Our firm exists to help clients move forward, to do better, to put old problems in the past. I have personally seen “It’s the way we’ve always done it” stand in the way of progress and I’ve also seen it slowly creep back into organizations if the leadership isn’t diligent.
Don’t fall into this trap. Banish “It’s the way we’ve always done it” from your life. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I made it to the office this morning without stopping at Krispy Kreme. I think I’ll drink my coffee black this morning. That’s definitely not the way I’ve always done it.