How trends and creativity become contagious

This is a brilliant little film that really looks into how trends take off. It references Malcolm Gladwell and his Tipping Point theory. It is beautifully filmed all over New York and makes so much sense throughout. It’s creative, well thought through and relevant – without being up itself.

The killer point for me in the whole 13 minutes is the supposition by Jon Cohen, CEO of Cornerstone that any brand needs to be based on passion. I agree 100%.

The other great point is that what influences one person will just not be the same as what influences another. So we have to be individual. Create things because they’re great, not because the research said that they would be broadly acceptable to a mass audience. That’s a way to run a big brand and try not to mess it up too badly, but certainly not a way to create one in the first place. If everyone else is zigging, then zag.

Briliant, brilliant, brilliant.

And thanks to my mate Patrick Chapman, Marketing Director of WDA Automotive for pointing it in my direction.

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It’s not about branding – it’s the product

Malcolm Gladwell chooses between Pepsi and Coke?
Malcolm Gladwell chooses between Pepsi and Coke?

I think we can all get a little distracted by brands and branding. Convinced of our own brilliance and self glorifying world that creating a quirky little logo will have the punters pouring in.

Well I’m here to dispel that rumour. It won’t.

A good logo on its own will not win you a single customer. Not one.

A bad one can however, stop you even being considered for calling up.

Bad logos are hateful, every designers worst nightmare and we love the glow from great work. Peer respect is important in almost every industry and we all feel good when our work is rated.

But it’s the product that really matters, branded or not.

If the product works and people feel comfortable with owning in – no proud to own it – no even delighted to give you their custom and eulogise to their friends about how great it is, then you know you have a potential winner.

So here’s one for you. Which search product is better?

Bing – Microsoft’s new baby
Google – the worlds most dominant search provider
Yahoo – yeah, remember them?

Well now you can see, in a blind test. Judging only by the efficacy of the product. How quickly did it give me exactly the answer I was looking for, how efficiently my problem was solved or how painless the experience was.

Try it for yourself with this Blind search tool.

It comes from a very clever man called Michael Kordahi who has his own blog here.

It means the branding is irrelevant and you have to choose on the results.

Now I will add the caveat here that blind testing is not always a faithful predictor of what you are going to do in future. Martin Lindstrom in his book Buyology massively disproved that, but it will make you think.

Now Pepsi also tried this with their own taste tests. For years they proclaimed that people preferred the taste of their brown fizzy water over Coke’s but it still didn’t translate into long lasting sales. (although it did prompt the launching of ‘New Coke’ if Roger Enrico the former Pepsi CEO is to be believed.) Latest thinking shows this is more to do with it being a sweeter drink (which is easier to like in small quantities) than it actually being preferred as a long term brand ‘friend’.

Anyway, try it for yourself. See which you think really works, brand or no brand.

Thanks to Niall Kennedy, for the use of the Malcolm Gladwell (my hero) Pepsi v Coke image

Malcolm Gladwell – Outliers – Book review

Maybe I’m biased because I saw Malcolm Gladwell deliver some of this book at a presentation in London earlier in the year, but I have to say that this is one of the most enjoyable ‘business’ style books I have ever read.

It’s not just because he writes so beautifully using descriptions that make you double take and look at the way he has described difficult concepts in such simple terms, but because he makes sense of the many seemingly random subjects he covers.

Has it got any direct relevance to branding? Well probably not, but it does teach you an awful lot.

It’s not the big things that matter, it’s always the series of little things that add up to make one huge success or one huge mistake. In effect, you make your own luck, as long as you know which bits to manage.

Success isn’t an accident (even if it looks like it may be), it’s always about a series of small things happening in the right way at the right time, that sometimes you can only see by looking back at them. I’m not much of a rear view advocate, but in this case, by looking back, you learn a hell of a lot about how to behave when you’re going forward.

If you want to read some more of his musing, then have a look at his site here, or alternatively if you want to hop straight in and buy the book – which I absolutely recommend – then you can buy it from Amazon here.