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This Week’s Focus: I’m reading a great book, A History Of The World In 100 Objects, by Neil MacGregor, the former boss of the British Museum. One of the objects that caught my eye was a 6,000-year old jade axe, which was found near Canterbury, England. There are no domestic reserves of jade in the UK and the item had been sourced from a remote Italian location and shipped over 1,000 miles to England around 4,000 BC. It may not have had an Armani label attached, but it was obviously an object to be admired rather than used.

Over the past 6,000 years little has changed. Your customers may talk about what they want and need, but what will really set you apart from your competitors is your ability to understand and deliver what they really desire, even if they can’t articulate it themselves. That’s why providing exclusivity, great design and an amazing customer experience, rather than simply a useful and reliable product or service, is at the heart of many of the world’s most successful companies brands.

A jade axe can’t do anything more than a stone axe, but it is hugely more desirable. Where are you providing stone when you could be offering jade?

Off The Record: Accidents Will Happen by Elvis Costello

And it’s the damage that we do

And never know

It’s the words that we don’t say

That scare me so

© Stuart Cross 2015. All rights reserved.