In certain industries, shelf life is really important. Any retailer selling perishable items has to focus on the quality of what they are selling or offering. It’s the length of time the item is given before it’s considered unsuitable for sale, use or consumption. There’s often a sell by date or a best before date on the product and this relates to food safety and indicates the date after which the perishable item is no longer regarded as safe. The combination of shelf life and best before date is really critical in some businesses.
A Sales director told me that he didn’t think that his communication strategy and plans for people in the business were working any more. He questioned to himself whether in fact they ever had been truly effective. We reflected on some of the success he’d had with his communication plans over the previous years. He now felt that those same plans were a bit past it and were no longer really hitting their mark.
When we applied the concept of shelf life to his plans, he could see that in fact they had served a purpose, been successful and had been really fresh and inspiring at the time. Times had changed. What was once exciting and fresh was now a bit old and stale. His communication strategy had simply reached its sell-by date.
What he needed to consider now was how to inject something new and more vital for the coming year, to generate something that was more right for now. He needed something with a new shelf life. In turn, it may well meet its sell by date too.
Do you have a product or service that is starting to move towards the end of its shelf life? Is it a bit tired, dated and not moved with the times? Perhaps it’s the packaging or maybe it’s the content? Perhaps it’s just not relevant any more? What steps can you take to inject new life, to reinvigorate it and make it more relevant?How can it become more useful and valuable?
We don’t need to criticise what served a purpose and has simply reached its sell by date. We just need to know how to either extend its shelf life or create something fresh and more appealing.