In 2003, Joe Calloway wrote a book called "Becoming a Category of One: How Extraordinary Companies Transcend Commodity and Defy Comparison." Back then, it was a sound statement of how companies such as IBM and BMW answered the who-are-you question with clarity and fervor, creating an emotional bond with their customers. That same year, Seth Godin wrote "Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable." He cited companies, such as HBO, Starbucks, and JetBlue, that had created remarkable new ways of reinventing old businesses and stood out from the crowd as hugely successful brands. In 2003, these books contained brilliant thinking -- miles ahead of the curve.
Unfortunately, being one of a kind and remarkable aren't enough to make a clear signal to stay above the noise in 2010.
Take, for example, a box of Frosted Mini-Wheats. They stand in a category of one. They have the fiber that appeals to the adult in me and the sugar that appeals to the kid in me. They are smart and fun. That's remarkable. However, if I don't eat breakfast, they'll be left behind like the purple cow who won't fit in my condo.
Something's missing to make it irresistible.
One other book was written in 2003 that holds the secret to raise remarkable to the highest order of a category of one. The answer lies on page 98 of Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference." Gladwell discusses an experiment at Columbia University in which Dr. Leventhal presented information about the positive effects of a shot to students in two control groups at the student health center. One group got plain information, and the other got highly emotional information. Both groups had a three percent response rate. Leventhal reran the experiment by adding a small bit of new content -- content the students already knew -- the location of the health center and the hours it was open. The new groups had a 28 percent response rate. The difference was that he showed them how the health information and the call to action could fit easily, seamlessly into their lives.
Now, if I say Frosted Mini-Wheats are great at night with ice-cream and chocolate. are fabulous snacks, and make great finger food, would you take notice? Once I start finding a way to fit them into your life, they become irresistible.
Head, heart, and a meaningful, seamless fit in my life and you've got me.
Irresistible is a strategy.