So I'm sat here in the office and someone's put Absolute Radio on. (Absolute used to be called Virgin Radio, but for the purposes of this post I'm going to refer to it as Absolute Radio, regardless of the period I'm referring to.)
I haven't listened to it for years. I mean, literally, years.
I used to listen to it all the time when I was studying. This was in the late 90s before streaming media and before it was easy to access music cheaply or freely. I had a stack of tapes and CDs, but if I wanted new music I had to borrow a CD from someone else. (Remember that - the thrill of your mate turning up with the tape you wanted?)
So, I listened to the radio a lot. And because I had a rubbish radio I couldn't get many stations.
And they haven't changed at all. Which means I'm getting about 90% of the same experience I had some fifteen years ago. There's only 10% new stuff coming on disrupting my enjoyment.
It's like a comfort blanket. Something I know. Something I'm familiar with. Something I recognise. An old friend.
But I'll only listen to it once in a while because after a while I get bored of the 90%. Because it becomes too familiar. Too predictable. One of those friends where you know how they'll act all the time.
And it got me thinking about brands and how there's probably a balance somewhere between comfort and new. About how brands need to be recognisable, familiar and a comfort blanket... but constantly peppering that comfort with little new things.
Because if they don't keep me interested by introducing me to new things, keeping me interested by evolving with me and society, then I'll get bored. And that's when I put 6 Music on.
And there isn't a magic formula for this.
I think 10% new isn't enough for me, it keeps me away and when I come back I only stay for a little while. But it is risky enough for my dad.
I think comms brands are doing a good job in this area. Because, when you're signed up to your tariff, they're all much of a muchness.
So whether it's o2 Priority, Vodafone VIP or Orange Wednesdays, they all know they need to keep evolving. They all know they need to add little elements of new. Little things to keep people interested. Otherwise their audience will take them for granted and switch their channel off.
Have a think about the brands you work on. Where are the elements of new? Where are the little things that evolve to keep your consumers happy?
How are you going to keep your consumers happy by being familiar and warm, but by keeping them interested at the same time? What percentage of new do you need to deliver?