What Business are We In?

I was driving to work today and passed an oil change station. I don’t worry about oil changes any longer since I am driving an electric vehicle, but it reminded me of an energy audit I did for Quaker State oil decades ago. It was such a pleasant visit, helping them find energy efficiency opportunities and ways to improve plant throughput. But, as I sat at lunch with the plant manager the rest of the story emerged.

Lunch started with the usual pleasantries which included my admiration for his products. While he appreciated my accolades about how good they were he reminded me that people no longer changed their own oil … they had their oil changed by others. And, the brand choice of the oil itself disappeared. So, it mattered more who changed the oil … which then determined the oil used.

Before you get too cocky in your response, think about the changes we are experiencing now with Siri, Cortana, the Amazon Echo, etc. We ask Siri where the nearest this or that is … and perhaps we see all our choices … perhaps not. Google the questions you hope your customers ask about you and your service offerings and see what else shows up … perhaps listed ahead of your offering. Perhaps your offering doesn’t even show.

Digital engagement requires you are noticed and then positively viewed. Perhaps you are invisible are not differentiable.

Go ahead, Google what you think customers are asking about yourself.

Reinventing the Wheel

Thank goodness I am not traveling like I used to.  But if I were still a road warrior, this latest luggage invention would have gotten my attention.  And, for those of you who are still on the road, take a look at this.

There are several things to notice about this.  First, watch how you get drawn into the story.  Remember that this is a Kickstarter campaign ad … they are trying to raise money by pre-selling this luggage concept.  The features of the bag along with the benefits become an integral part of the story.  And, one of the most distinguishing features is the wheel design.  I have to admit, when I saw the picture I was curious how anything so absurd could be an improvement.

Well, once again, you get drawn in and witness how this wheel design overcomes one of the most common problems we have all had with “wheelie” luggage … crossing uneven/changing floor surfaces.  We see it, remember our difficulties, and almost immediately “get it” … case closed …

Then, the deal is cinched when he uses the phone app to locate his missing bag.

Perhaps the only mistake in the ad design are his closing words of attack … not needed … less is more … let it go.

Lots to think about. I almost wish I was back on the road just to have one of these.