Best New Business? Make It Yours Every Day.

The Grammy’s were last night. And Bon Iver won for Best New Artist.

Bon Iver singer Justin Vernon bites Grammy Award. The band won Best New Artist & Best Alternative Music Album. (LUCY NICHOLSON - REUTERS)

You may be confused about who Bon Iver is (and evidently you would not be alone).

But I was confused how the band won for Best New Artist. I was pretty sure I had downloaded a Bon Iver song from iTunes at least a couple of years ago.

Double-checking the band’s history, I confirmed that the song I downloaded was from a 2008 album. They also released a CD in 2009. And one in 2011. So, new?

Even marketers who fight to keep New & Improved attached to products as long as possible would find it a stretch to call a band with 3 CDs over 4 years a New Artist.

But this post isn’t to rail against inscrutable Grammy rules (or even how they mysteriously classify songs as Rock, Alternative, Pop, R&B or Rap).

It’s a reminder to businesses.

When it comes to your business and your products, new is in the eye of the beholders: your customers. If it’s new to them, it’s new.

No matter how long you have been in business, you have people becoming aware of your company, your brands, your products or services for the first time every day. You have people who are talking to your sales reps for the first time. People unwrapping your boxes and reading your instructions for the first time. Visiting your website for the first time. Making their first customer service calls to your call centers. And long-time customers who may be buying a new product or upgrading to a new level of service.

And your business is not only new every day, it is new many times per day. Over and over and over.

On the positive side, it’s a kind of like Groundhog Day, where your business has the opportunity to get better and better as it relives this ongoing cycle of newness.

However many businesses begin to fail when they forget this dynamic over time. They get complacent. Gaze at their corporate navels. Drink their own cool-aid. They somehow think everyone, by now, knows their company history, can recite their mission statement and value proposition, loves their marketing, and conforms neatly to one of their customer personas.

Real world customers are messy because they’re unique, and they’re all over the map when it comes to experience with your company.

Best to instill a corporate culture that continually sweats all the details of customer engagement as if it were a brand new small business, eagerly trying to attract and retain its very first customers, one by one.

Don’t let experience dull your passion. Don’t let the growing number of customers you have diminish your attention to each one.

Think New. Every day.

You may not win the Best New Company award, but your customers will sing your praises and you’ll reap the benefits year after year.