Godwin Vs. Me Vs. Zappa
Godwin’s law states that “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”
Similarily, my law states that: “As a marketing-related discussion grows longer, the probability of a reference to Apple approaches 1.”
I’m not a fan of quoting famous people (somehow, a little wisdom seems to be lost every time they’re repeated; particularly when they’re posted on Facebook, as was the case with this one), but I saw a good one yesterday so I’ll do it anyway: “Without deviations from the norm, progress is not possible”. Frank Zappa said that.
Which perfectly illustrates the problem with constantly referring to what already exists. We don’t Think Different by thinking the way Apple does, no matter how awesome they are.
Our thinking are too often limited by the frames created by the great brands. But to create something equally great we must look outside these frames. Apple, Google and Nike challenged conventions and broke the rules. But in doing so, they created new conventions and rules. We must aim to break these!
Hi Marius, great insight. Can be applied to any product or brand. But I can’t help but think that the lure and comfort of convention is what we, as consumers, are more likely to head towards. I think your illustration of Google and Apple show there are a few companies who are comfortable to innovate, but we have other companies who are equally happy to follow. And they do quite well. South Korean products have literally exploded onto the world stage in such a short time.
Jul 19 2012, 8:24 AM
Marius Dønnestad responded:
Hi Michael! Thanks for your comment. I think you’re right, most consumers are conservative. However, progress is inevitable, and everybody comes along eventually. Consumers are quicker to respond to change than companies and while innovation is risky it is arguably a greater risk to be left behind. Just look at online shopping: a few companies are extremely successful, the late majority of consumers have shopped online for years, and Australian retailers are still in the stone age.
Sure, you can be successful without innovating, like LG and Samsung. But will it last? And wouldn’t they have been more successful by innovating? The margins in the category (minus Apple) are tiny, and they are locked in a constant price war.
I guess innovation (in a broad sense, not just technology) is simply added value, and thus the difference between a brand and a commodity. Following is easy, but risky. And makes the strategist superfluous:-)