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For all companies talk regarding doing things with an attitude of ‘best practice’, the reality is many approach their role/goal with the attitude of what they can ‘get away’ with.
Of course they don’t consciously say that – and of course, there are commercial realities that they have to take into account – however in my experience, many companies would be better off focusing their efforts on simply executing ‘minimum practice’, i.e.: the fundamental elements that need to be done well, rather than continuously talking big but ultimately, always aiming small.
Don’t get me wrong, I want companies to push standards, expectations and quality – creating ‘new best practice’ than simply being on par with everyone else – but the reality is that can’t happen by just talking about it and, as we all know, over-promising, under-delivering is a recipe for disaster. Just ask Nokia.
But occasionally you find a company that wants to push boundaries … make new standards … lead the change … and that is hugely exciting but when that change is married with a completely misguided belief in your own importance – or worse, a completely misguided belief in how important you are in your audiences mind – then you will find you’re on a fast track to potential commercial suicide.
Case in point:
What that is a photo of is a neck pillow … you know, those things you stick around your neck when you’re on a plane in an attempt to get some sleep.
Now I appreciate that money doesn’t grow on trees and people can get irrationally attached to certain things – but is it really necessary to offer a service where a lost US$16 travel item will be reunited with its owner?
Maybe it is.
Maybe people become emotionally attached to their US$16 neck pillow.
Maybe Travel-Blue, the company who make the products that offer this service, know people don’t actually use this service but it helps them be differentiated them their competition.
Maybe this ultimately says more about me than Travel-Blue or the average person buying these things.
Maybe it’s a bit of all of them.
But if it’s to differentiate in the knowledge it will hardly ever be called upon, it’s evil genius [Kind of like the time I recommended to SONY that they should offer 50 year warranties on their fast-becoming-obsolete-thanks-to-smartphone-technology, Handicam. Though I’d also suggested they should communicate their High Definition Handicam to ‘alien conspiracy theorists’ under the justification that it would help them prove aliens live amongst us thanks to its amazing ability to capture every detail] … but if it’s because they think people want – and will use – that service, it’s possibly one of the greatest brand delusions [if not overkills] since Mont Blanc decided it was a good idea to launch a bloody aftershave.
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