Why Being Curious is so Important for Today’s Brands

Curiosity may kill the cat, but it can give the marketer nine lives. That’s how Harish Bhat, author of “The Curious Marketer,” sees it. And he’s right: When trying to market your product or services, the bare minimum can be a death sentence. With so many forms of media presenting new opportunities to reach your audience, there is no one-way ticket. Marketers need to be steadfast in their pursuit of new ideas.

One of the best ways to sharpen innovation skills is to increase your Curiosity Quotient (CQ). Coined by author and journalist Thomas L. Friedman, the Curiosity Quotient alludes to a person’s innate ability to dig for fresh perspectives. When you combine your CQ with a PQ (Passion Quotient), Friedman suggests, you get a result that could be more valuable than a high IQ. He puts forth this fictional equation for reference: CQ + PQ > IQ. In other words, Friedman believes that if you combine your natural curiosity with your intense passion for a subject, you’ll be able to yield greater brainstorm results than if you only had high intelligence. Other experts agree.

Bhat says that curiosity drives you to make the necessary connections that lead from human needs to fabulous new products and services. Take this story about Steve Jobs. In his commencement address at Stanford University, the Apple founder about how his curiosity led him to learn calligraphy, which, several years later, helped him design the distinctive Apple Macintosh computer’s interface.

That’s the thing about curiosity; it can be unpredictable and sneaky. The simple action of trying a new activity may not seem like a big innovative step at the time, but just one experience can ignite your creativity and help you reach new heights.

It can be easy to get sucked into the everyday ho-hum of your job. You show up, mindlessly do the work required, and go home. If you don’t put in any additional effort, your work may suffer. To truly excel at your craft, and help your brand succeed, you have to change your mindset.

The key is to be comfortable asking questions. “Brands succeed when they help solve problems in people’s lives, when they cater to unmet needs,” Bhat says. “Curiosity helps you unearth these needs. It also helps you ideate and create the great brand that meets these needs.”

Being curious helps marketers connect the dots between human needs and what the brand delivers to its consumers. “If you’re creating a marketing campaign and you’re the data analyst or the creative designer, if you’re not curious about what will really work for the client or your product or the service you’re selling, it’s just not going to land in the right way,” Stokes says. “You need to be curious when you’re doing your research.”

“When you pass spot judgment on something you are hearing, your mind is no longer open to new ideas or thoughts,” Bhat says. “On the other hand, when you listen with a mind that is totally open, you are willing to soak in knowledge without any inhibiting filters. Marketers gain far more knowledge when they listen carefully and silently, rather than when they speak utilizing their own knowledge.”

This article appears in the new May/June 2018 issue of Connect magazine published by NextPage, which can be found online here. If you would like a free print subscription to Connect, please click here.