Every single company or organization should have one person whose sole job it is to just say, “NO!”
To shoot down every idea.
To poke holes in every theory.
To play devil’s advocate.
A person whose job consists of saying, “No,” when everyone else around them is saying, “Yes.”
There are too many examples to list. Examples of a brand thinking one thing was a good idea, but then when it is out in the marketplace everyone realizes it is a terrible idea and leaves people asking themselves, “Why didn’t someone just tell them not to do that!”
My favorite example is Lane Bryant.
Lane Bryant is a leader in plus-sized fashion. In 2012, Lane Bryant changed their brand and marketing approach. They designed a logo that was meant to “speak to the latest on-trend Lane Bryant® and Cacique® fashions, while bringing an emotional connection to the imagery.” They abandoned their sans serif logo for a half-cursive/half-print logo.
Clearly, not one person at corporate ever took the time to remind the marketing leads that the majority of Americans aren’t even learning cursive in school any longer. And that when asked, most readers think a cursive “m” has two humps and a cursive “n” has one. So to the lay individual, their brand now read “LAME” Bryant. Not exactly the ideal image for a plus-sized clothing brand.
Thankfully, they changed their logo again in 2015 back to the traditional and classy sans serif font.
It is not always safe to be the person at the table who has to say,” No, that is not a good idea.” However, companies should look at this individual as an asset rather than a troublemaker. Organizations should understand the value of the “NO” rather than always expecting a “yes.” Learn from the opposing idea, and move forward with a fully fleshed-out idea. Don’t be “lame” when it comes to seeing all points of view!