In an interview about his new book Zag, Marty Neumeier shares his opinion on good as opposed to diverse, describes the need to zag while other companies zig, and suggests the ways of making one’s label catch the eye of the customers.
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In Zag, Neumeier emphasizes the importance of having an “onliness” statement for any brand which strives to get prosperous. If a firm cannot explain its uniqueness, he says they had better go back to the start and think more thoroughly. Neumeier does not just speak big words. He has founded and is operating a consultancy company Neutron, and he gives plenty of practical suggestions for gaining success in his books. In one of his previous books The Brand Gap (2003), Neumeier dwells on the issue of the huge gap between business approaches and client practice. He emphasizes that the customers do not pay attention to business methods. The only thing that matters for them is the significance of the company’s services or goods in their environment. Neumeier suggests a scheme of creating a brand in which the synergy of five elements is required: distinction, cooperation, innovation, confirmation, and advancement.
When describing his opinion on differentiation, Neumeier mentions that its “plain-old” type is the driver of company’s failure in the era of developing market disorder. He explains that the customers are getting more and more reserved, and only some outstanding features of the labels can draw their attention. Neumeier remarks that cardinal distinction is the only thing that can help the business owners to create a prosperous brand.
In his book, Neumeier suggests a “good vs. different” chart which divides the products into four sections according to the two axes of different and good. The remarkable thing about this graph is that the goods in the section “not good and not different,” which seem to be in the worst position, have the best feedback in the market analysis. On the contrary, the products in the section “good and different” have poor feedback. Neumeier explains such paradox by the necessity of looking for unusual ideas and not simply taking the old ones for granted. He says that things which at first may seem weird and unacceptable frequently turn out to be the most successful and popular. According to Neumeier, great ideas are not the ones obviously beneficial but the ones that give people time to think and come up with fresh solutions.
When giving advice on trend-tracking methods, Neumeier says that first of all, they should be new. He remarks that no fresh ideas can be found in the past. He suggests to look at the possibilities with “unfocused eyes,” and says that great tendencies are easy to notice when one contemplates long enough. The best tendency, Neumeier says, is the one best coordinating with the brand. Also, he mentions that combining several trends is a good idea.
Neumeier believes that the success of some companies became possible due to the perseverance of several leaders. However, he says that not all brands have to follow this pattern. Some of them take a risk and try innovative methods which lead them to success. What concerns failures, Neumeier says that the reasons can be numerous, but there is one point in common for all the loser companies: when they cannot explain their “onliness.”