You want capitalism in a nutshell?
Okay, put down the MBA. Take the economic degree off the wall. Here we go everybody.
In 1900 it was all about features. In 1925 it was all about benefits. In 1950 it was all about experience. Today it’s all about identification.
Features and benefits are the reasons people give to justify buying patterns and behaviors because experiences, feelings and identifications are difficult (apparently impossible if you’re a man) to put into words.
That’s all there is to it. And you thought you were in for a long, boring lecture.
Greg Galle of C2 always asks three little questions of any company he meets.
1) Who are you?
2) What do you do?
3) Why does it matter?
The executives always smile at the first question. It’s easy.
The second question? Not so easy. In fact, sometimes they get a little tangled answering. Is it a product? A service? A product that produces a service?
Truth is they’re probably hedging their bets because the third question usually knock ’em on their ass. Really, why should anybody care about what you do? Pimping a little extra margin? Yeah, whatever. Improving heating bills by 3 percent? Shoot me.
Ask yourself the question.
Why? Does? What? You? Do? Matter?
Or to put it more bluntly, how is what you’re doing making the world a better place?
Because if you’re not making the world a better place, you don’t really have a hope. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
I’m not talking triple-bottom-line blah blah blah. I’m talking top line. If your main goal is not to improve the world for everybody (regardless of what you do or sell or trade) you will be out of business in the very near future. You will either be taken over by someone who delivers more societal value to the people you currently do business with. Or your market will evolve and leave you behind.
How soon? Depends on your business. If you’re a newspaper you’ve got maybe five years before your current business model is shot to hell. Broadcast television a little longer. Oil maybe ten years.
Don’t think for a moment you’re immune because you’ve got a legacy business or you’re dealing in commodities or you’re a monopoly. Whatever business you’re in, you’re next.
You’ll either become the future or you’ll become history. Hopefully you understand what’s at stake. If not, get the fuck out of the way.
The race is not won by the fastest or the strongest or the tallest or the smartest or the richest or the most powerful.
But the one most responsive to change.