Posts in category: Differentiation

The pros and cons of being nice

The pros and cons of being nice

Because humans are social animals, being nice is a basic requirement to stay in business. If we want our businesses to last, we must learn to work with people’s emotions effectively. We must build relationship equity with our emotional intelligence (EQ.) Just...
Context-sensitive ads

Context-sensitive ads

I spotted these great ads inside an airbridge in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. This ING “Everything You Need in Just One Photo” campaign struck me as a great example of designing to suit (and exploit) the context. People are usually queuing inside an airbridge waiting...
Amsterdam Museum timeline works

Amsterdam Museum timeline works

The main exhibition at the Amsterdam museum uses a timeline very effectively to lead visitors through the narrative. The timeline ran through all the rooms dedicated to the exhibition. It provided a clear sense of chronology and worked well to highlight just enough...
Cola is red

Cola is red

Following on from my chocolate is gold post, here’s a photo of the drinks fridge in a convenience store. Notice how red is the category colour of cola flavoured drinks. Arguable set by Coca Cola in 1958 and since then widely echoed by their competitors. The one...
Chocolate is gold

Chocolate is gold

Gold balls at the Ór – Ireland’s Gold exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology in Dublin. All that gold and not a single piece of chocolate. Isn’t it interesting how certain materials become intimately linked with categories of products? Some...
Helping people build loyalty

Helping people build loyalty

Helping people usually involves helping them solve problems they are facing. AKA relieving their pain. A study in the Harvard Business Review shows that companies build customer loyalty through quickly solving problems, not by extraordinary acts of service. Via 5 Ways...
Hidden true value

Hidden true value

The value we can offer our clients can be divided into two parts. The part above the ground is the visible part – this is our marketing – what we tell the world we do. This part is tailored to the context of our target audience. It is also our...
Personality vs process businesses

Personality vs process businesses

Every so often, I hear this wisdom being passed around entrepreneurial circles: Don’t build a business around you. You must create a business that is process-driven, not personality driven. You need a clear exit strategy for yourself to make your business truly...

Making a mark in a world of slim

It must be really hard to be an electronics product designer at the moment. Consider the plethora of same-same looking television sets at the moment. The primary opportunity for visual differentiation/expression seems to be increasingly limited to the stand. Images...

Being different: two ways

Being different to get noticed. Usually by doing something that you don’t normally do; something out of the ordinary relative to your audience’s expectations. Being different as a way of being. Because you have accessed and expressed those aspects of you...

The voices within

The internal conversations we have with ourselves have a significant bearing on our well-being and our responses to external stimuli. Awareness of these conversations is an important step toward more conscious, deliberate and authentic being. Similarly, organisations...

Don’t be the tool

Your business is a tool, to help you further your cause and enable your life. In trying to be more “business-like” we lose our authenticity as individuals. We start to talk like the tool. We relate to other people as a tool. We become the tool; just like many others...

A means to an end

Business is a tool. A means to an end. Business (the exchange of value between parties) is a human activity. There is nothing inherently right or wrong about this activity. It is also an end in itself. The waters of judgement get muddier (bloodier!) when we start...
Pineapple upside down loyalty programme

Pineapple upside down loyalty programme

The old way of selling: Entice buying with promises, claims or discounts. Sales material and people are shiny and glossy. Promises are grandiose and often just shy of too-good-to-be-true. There are loyalty programmes too: The more you buy, the more you are rewarded....

Advertising facts vs emotion; then and now

Compare and contrast: When a product (or service) is first-in-market, the advertising is more infomercial than commercial. There is more education or informing involved than selling. Or put another way, the features sell the product. Lots of facts. Lots of...
Three design approaches

Three design approaches

“[Apple] has become so synonymous with both good design and minimalism that most people assume those two things are one and the same. They’re not: You can have good design that’s fanciful and wacky; likewise, you can have minimalist design that’s horrible.” – Despite...

Your tagline, meet unintended context

I was stuck in a spectacular jam on the freeway recently for almost an hour. During one of the slower-than-walking-pace oozes forward, I spotted what looked like a local government truck parked on the emergency lane, with this tagline printed on its side: “We make it...
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