How picking your spots to make it more difficult on your brand/company can yield breakthrough results. 

By Manoj Raheja

“Jack White, the former front man of the White Stripes and an influential figure among fellow musicians, likes to make things difficult for himself. He uses cheap guitars that won’t stay in shape or in tune. When performing, he positions his instruments in a way that is deliberately inconvenient, so that switching from guitar to organ mid-song involves a mad dash across the stage. Why? Because he’s on the run from what he describes as a disease that preys on every artist: “ease of use”. When making music gets too easy, says White, it becomes harder to make it sing”. 

You can read the rest of the article HERE.

We use consumer research to observe and uncover consumer pain points so that companies can create products or offer solutions to alleviate them.  So it’s funny that I’m going to make the case that while solving consumer pain points is still the right way to grow your business; adding a few pain points to your internal process might also help you yield greater breakthrough results.  Consider these examples:

  • Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics was faced with trying to compete with teams that had 3-4 times his budget but the same overarching goal of winning the World Series.  That led him to an innovative approach that identified “getting on base” as the most critical factor to winning games.  This allowed him to build a team with low cost players that most teams would overlook. This is now well documented in the book and motion picture – Moneyball.
  • There is a study conducted by the University of Washington that found handwriting activated more of the brain than keyboard writing, including areas responsible for thinking and memory.  The theory is that a keyboard makes writing quantity much easier and so when we write on paper; it forces your brain to focus and be choiceful.

So how can you use this concept to make it more difficult and turbo charge your business results?  Here are a few thoughts:

  •  Reframe the challenge:  Quaker hot cereals is 80% of the hot cereals market…but only 6% of total cereals…and only a fraction of total breakfast options.  Consider how reframing in this case would take you to very different strategies!
  • Tie one hand behind your back:  We’re going to launch a new brand and achieve the same awareness targets as usual but without TV.  This is a handcuff I think many marketers will find familiar.  Those who embrace it as a fun and competitive challenge will be the ones who crack it!
  • Get rid of the crutch (Use Ppt 50% less):  Instead of creating version 20 of a deck and then reading it during a presentation, what if Senior Leaders said – just come in and let’s have a conversation.  This is the school of Steve Job’s philosophy.  Make the content owner know their stuff and not waste time tweaking a deck.  Do you know the % of time your team spends on decks?

These are all examples of adding more resistance to your business on the way to better results…and that’s what makes the idea of this theory…cool!