An agile innovator recently said to me “beware of standardization” and this got me thinking about it a lot. There are two sides to this coin, on one side standardizing a process can lead to better productivity, quality and reduction of costs and on the other it can cut off the flow of creativity and damage motivation, this being due to the repetition of the standards in place.
A lot of people wouldn’t question the standardization of something, why? how does this help me? how does this help the business? and what impact will this have on my working environment/ culture?
My preference is not to standardize things but I do appreciate the ability to uniform a task for benefits that spread across the business, such as administrative forms and templates. But when it comes to a task such as copy writing I draw the line. A lot of publishers have copy writing guidelines to follow for book blurbs, they sounds something like this:
‘Three lines that introduce the text and it’s overview, four lines of key sales handles and 1 line about the author’
And so tap tap tap, you are done. Is this content marketing genius? As, you are writing the blurb set out by editorial/ marketing standards, so, it must get a good return on sales, right?
Doubtful. Your objective and focus becomes meeting the guidelines, not to come up with something new and refreshing via a different angle, research or strategy. You are simply producing the same standardized text that most likely bores the hell out of your market. But that’s what they’re used to, so that’s what they’re getting. 2017 is seeing a major shift in content roles and marketing, smart marketing doesn’t have to mean originality every time but does mean thinking outside the box and the current standards of your tasks and processes you have already in place. When standardizing something look at the macro implications it might have, not just the immediate return for yourself as an individual or your team.