Innovation and the hidden value of the primacy effect

People will remember the first and last times they interact with you. Use innovation to make sure each touch point is memorable and makes a good impression.

Imagine you are at a party with a hostess who is very attentive and brings by a number of people to meet you. One after another she introduces her friends, relatives and everyone else at the party.

Once you get home, who do you remember? It is likely the most memorable people will be the ones you met first or those you met just before you left. This is called the primacy effect, where things that are first in a series seem most important and the recency effect, where the last thing in a series is more easily remembered.

Can you see the hidden value in these two concepts? In your innovation strategy you should think about:

  • Where you have contact with your customers and clients: Where do they first see you? Who is the first person they come in contact with? What kind of impression do you make? What is your reception like?
  • How do clients or customers leave your premises? Who is the last person to see them?  What type of impression do you leave them with?
  • What impression does your brand make?  How about your advertising? What do your invoices say about your company?

Each time you have an interaction like those above, your client may be judging you and making decisions about whether to do business with you – and the first and last things you’ve done will play a disproportionate part in the opinion they form. You can gain advantage over your competitors if you can make each of these experiences new, exciting or memorable. 

In each of the above areas you should focus some time in coming up with new ideas in how to create the impression you want at each of these touch points.  Innovating around these areas will tie in with the way people think and will be more effective as a result.

The above is also a good way to decide which ideas are worth pursuing. If you have a list of new innovations and need to pick only a few to develop, select those that are focused on these touch points for further development.

Often people forget about these hidden areas of value because they focus their innovation efforts on developing new products. I urge you to think about ways in which you can use the primacy and recency effects to be more innovative in your business. If you have any good examples where you used these principles successfully, please share them in the comments area below. I look forward to your thoughts!

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