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The Intuitive Customer - Helping You Improve Your Customer Experience To Gain Growth

May 23, 2020

The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don’t Make Sense Part 1


If you go into business, you probably have checked out what the competition is doing first. In many cases, you might be tempted to do the same thing. After all, it is working, at least to some extent. 


 However, we think that taking a different tack, choosing a different road, or embracing that idea that doesn’t make sense, will be a way to create competitive differentiation that you would otherwise not have. Without new ideas, you offer the same old same old. 


In this first episode of a two-part series of The Intuitive Customer, we host speaker and author Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy UK, who is known for his TED talks and being a general advertising legend. His book, Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don’t Make Sensediscusses how you can create products driven by ideas that are irresistible to customers.


Key Takeaways 


Part of Sutherland's book is 11 rules of succeeding with nonsensical ideas, which a few of these were the subject of our discussion. Let’s take a closer look at the few we asked him about and what he had to say.


It doesn’t pay to be logical when everybody else is being logical. Sutherland says that when you worry about the same things as the competition and run the same metrics for success, you are essentially becoming the same business. Moreover, you can commoditize your market. However, when you strike out on your path with your concerns and ways of measuring success, you diverge from the competition’s path. In other words, you abandon the comparison to find your comparative advantage. Most companies choose to be objective with their focus on concrete issues and problems that they can analyze and report. The risk here is that you spend a lot of time focusing on optimizing things that do not drive significant behavioral changes for customers. If you choose a subjective focus, you open up the possibilities for how you can change your business for the better.


The opposite of a good idea can be another good idea. There is often more than one path to success in a market. Your competition might have a great idea, but not the only plan. If you were to do the exact opposite of what your competition does, you could have another great idea that speaks to a different segment of the market share. Moreover, you might uncover some hidden unmet needs that people might not have realized they wanted, and area that we often discuss regarding our Emotional Signature research.


The problem with logic is it kills off magic. When your focus is on the rational, you miss out on all the irrational magic that can occur in your customer experience. Moreover, you don’t recognize it when it presents itself to you; instead, you think it’s a trick or cheating. However, using solutions that work with customers’ irrational nature will help change their behavior in ways you didn’t know possible. Moreover, you have more solution options to choose from to do so.


Solving problems with only one rationality is like playing golf with only one club.  Businesspeople tend to approach issues and opportunities with a similar mindset. Sutherland describes it as a financial engineering, Newtonian-reductionist mindset. However, when you define a problem, you often also determine the solution. If you think about the issue in economic terms, you often limit yourself to financial solutions. However, when you open up your definition of the problem to include a lot of different areas, you have may options for the direction of your solutions. For example, solving problems using persuasion, Sutherland says, will allow you to marry economics and behavioral science, which is at least two clubs from your solutions bag.


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About Beyond Philosophy:

Beyond Philosophy help organizations unlock growth by discovering customers' hidden, unmet needs that drive value ($). We then capitalize on this by improving your customer experience to meet these needs thereby retaining and acquiring new customers across the market.

This podcast is produced by Resonate Recordings. Click here find out more.