S04E05 – Be Open To Ideas Sex

Talking About Marketing Podcast by Steve Davis and David Olney

In this episode, unlock the secrets of 'ideas sex' in marketing—transform creativity into strategy with our latest insights on innovative thinking and problem-solving.

This episode is a deep dive into how you can harness creativity, leadership, and strategic thinking to propel your business forward.

In our "Person" segment, we explore the critical role of deadlines in managing tasks effectively, especially in knowledge work. Inspired by insights from Cal Newport, we discuss strategies that can alleviate stress and clarify expectations, empowering you to enhance productivity and satisfaction at work.

The "Principles" segment introduces the concept of 'ideas sex'—the dynamic fusion of diverse thoughts to spur innovation. Drawing from Dan Bigham’s approach in cycling, we look at how applying this mindset can lead to groundbreaking results and help you maintain a competitive edge.

We then address "Problems" by tackling the practical challenges of digital marketing, specifically around engagement metrics. We examine how adapting content and embracing novelty can reignite audience interest and improve interaction, offering you actionable strategies to enhance your marketing efforts.

Finally, our "Perspicacity" segment revisits the ingenious marketing strategy behind the Michelin Guide. We discuss how strategic diversification can transform a simple guide into a globally recognized symbol of excellence, inspiring you to think creatively about leveraging your brand’s heritage for long-term success.

Join us as we explore these themes, providing you with actionable insights and reflections to apply in your professional journey. Let’s unlock new possibilities together!

Get ready to take notes!

Talking About Marketing podcast episode notes with timecodes

01:08  Person  This segment focusses on you, the person, because we believe business is personal.

Managing Tasks And Deadlines

The "Person" segment explores the practical aspects of managing workplace tasks and deadlines. Steve introduces the discussion by sharing his personal affinity for setting deadlines, a practice that helps him navigate the complexities of his projects. This approach was further validated through insights from Cal Newport’s book, "Slow Productivity," as discussed on Sam Harris's "Making Sense" podcast.

Cal Newport emphasises the autonomy of knowledge workers in handling tasks without specified methodologies, which often comes with a need to understand and alleviate the stress these tasks may introduce to their supervisors. He suggests that providing visibility into one’s workflow, such as updating tasks on a public Trello board (or similar), can significantly reduce a supervisor's stress by showing progress and expected completion without the need for constant reminders.

David Olney, in conversation with Steve, relates this to a common challenge faced by founders and leaders: the "Founder’s Dilemma." This dilemma revolves around the tension between maintaining control over tasks and delegating them effectively. Olney highlights the importance of communicating expectations and deadlines clearly to bridge the gap between a leader’s vision and the team’s execution.

The dialogue also touches on the personal empowerment that comes from managing one’s workload transparently. Both Steve and David advocate for proactive communication about task timelines, whether setting or receiving them, to foster a productive and stress-free work environment. They argue that such practices not only improve workplace dynamics but can also be applied to personal life, teaching valuable skills of responsibility and foresight.

Overall, the segment illuminates the nuanced art of task management in professional settings, encouraging listeners to embrace structured transparency to alleviate stress and enhance productivity for all parties involved.

11:07  Principles  This segment focusses principles you can apply in your business today.

The Benefits Of Ideas Sex

In the "Principles" segment, the conversation revolves around the concept of 'ideas sex', a term inspired by Dan Bigham's book "Start at the End." The discussion, led by Steve Davis with input from David Olney, delves into the strategic advantage of reverse engineering and innovative thinking in both personal and professional contexts.

David describes Dan Bigham as someone who has grasped a crucial insight recognised by many intelligent individuals: the importance of envisioning the end result to achieve success more effectively. This approach aligns with techniques like backcasting, where starting with a clear and precise end in mind enhances the likelihood of achieving desired outcomes. Steve shares how Bigham's experiences in the cycling world and his meticulous scrutiny of rules for competitive edges have broad applications, from sports to everyday business strategies.

The dialogue further explores the transformative potential of integrating fresh perspectives into established practices. Bigham’s concept of 'ideas sex'—the blending of diverse thoughts and strategies to foster innovation—is likened to biological reproduction, where mixing genetic materials produces new traits. This metaphor extends to the notion that stale, unchallenged methods (ideas incest) can stifle progress and innovation.

Steve and David discuss the practical implications of this philosophy in the workplace. They emphasise the value of welcoming newcomers and outside consultants who can offer fresh insights that challenge conventional wisdom and stimulate creative solutions. This approach is crucial in preventing stagnation and encouraging continuous improvement within organisations.

The segment concludes with a reflection on the necessity of deliberate and open-minded management strategies that facilitate the intersection of diverse ideas. By encouraging a culture that values constructive challenge and diverse perspectives, businesses can leverage 'ideas sex' to drive meaningful innovation and maintain a competitive edge in an ever-evolving marketplace.

21:33  Problems  This segment answers questions we've received from clients or listeners.

When Mailchimp Is Not Giving You The Numbers You Want

In the "Problems" segment, Steve Davis discusses an issue raised by Jane, a former mentee, regarding her MailChimp newsletters. Jane reported that while her newsletter's opening rates were high, the click-through rates had significantly dropped. Steve suggests two potential reasons for this decline: increased privacy and cookie restrictions possibly affecting the tracking of user interactions, and a general decline in user engagement due to content saturation or lack of novelty in her newsletters.

Steve advises Jane to independently verify the activity on her newsletter links through tools like Google Analytics to see if the newsletter opens are being properly recorded. This step is crucial to determine if technical issues might be obscuring actual engagement metrics. He also reflects on the broader issue of reader engagement, hypothesising that the drop in click-throughs might be linked to a more profound societal shift where people, burdened by the increased stress of modern life, have less mental bandwidth for new stimuli.

David Olney adds that the desire for novelty might still prompt people to open emails but without engaging content that captures their interest, they are likely to disregard the message. He stresses the importance of continually innovating and adding fresh elements to the content to maintain reader interest and engagement. The discussion highlights the necessity of understanding audience needs and adapting strategies to meet evolving expectations and conditions.

25:24  Perspicacity  This segment is designed to sharpen our thinking by reflecting on a case study from the past.

The Michelin Guide

In the "Perspicacity" segment, Steve Davis and David Olney discuss the innovative marketing strategy behind the Michelin Guide. Initially created by the French tyre company Michelin in 1900, the guide was designed to encourage more driving, and consequently, more tyre usage by listing good restaurants across continental Europe. This not only promoted Michelin tyres but also unexpectedly led to the Michelin Guide becoming a prestigious entity in its own right, now synonymous with culinary excellence rather than just driving.

The discussion delves into the concept of a company broadening its marketing approach to include services that, while seemingly unrelated, serve to enhance its core business. The Michelin Guide's success is attributed to its credibility and the quality of information it provides, which has maintained its value over time despite the vast availability of free information today.

David Olney reflects on modern parallels, noting how today's digital influencers maintain credibility. He points out that genuine, unbiased reviews by respected individuals can significantly influence consumer choices, much like the Michelin Guide did. They also touch upon the challenges of replicating such a strategy in today's information-saturated market, where trust and credibility are more crucial than ever.

The segment concludes with a broader reflection on the enduring value of credibility in marketing. Despite the evolution of promotional strategies, the foundational principle that genuine quality and trusted information remain potent tools for influencing and engaging audiences is highlighted as timeless.

Transcript  This transcript was generated using Descript.

A Machine-Generated Transcript - Beware Errors

[00:00:00] Caitlin Davis: Talking About Marketing is a podcast for business owners and leaders, produced by my dad, Steve Davis, and his colleague at Talked About Marketing, David Olney, in which they explore marketing through the lens of their own four P's, person, principles, problems, and perspicacity. Yes, you heard that correctly.

Apart from their love of words, they really love helping people. So they hope this podcast will become a trusted companion on your journey in business.

[00:00:39] Steve Davis: David, I think it's okay if we let people know that you and I, um, in the course of working together, uh, have indulged in what's called ideas sex.

[00:00:53] David Olney: I think that is fair to say, and people should always remember, it's hyphenated, and we want the two words to remain in context. And all shall be revealed in this ep oh, that didn't sound right, did it?

Well, actually, all shall be revealed in a safe, non threatening way.

[00:01:13] Caitlin Davis: Our four P's. Number one, person. The aim of life is self development. To realise one's nature perfectly. That is what each of us is here for. Oscar Wilde.

[00:01:30] Steve Davis: In the person segment for this episode, David, I want to circle back to something you and I have spoken about a few times, and that is my penchant for trying to have a deadline to things that, uh, we're working on. And I've always thought it's, it's just Part of who I am, to know when something is due. Even if it's an arbitrary date, I find it helps me.

Lo and behold, I was listening to, at the time of recording the latest episode of Sam Harris's Making Sense podcast, and he interviewed Cal Newport. And Cal Newport has a new book out called Slow Productivity. Basically, in this book. He, he talks about how when we are knowledge workers, and many people listening to this podcast would be knowledge workers, the thing that sets us apart from people in many other aspects of life is we get given a task, but very rarely is it specified how we are meant to do it and tasks come in all shapes, sizes, forms, media, emails can drop tasks at us, meetings can, it can be a rainstorm.

And so the knowledge worker has to try and work out What they're going to tackle when, how they're going to get through to it, knowing that with every one of those jobs there's a series of stakeholders who are curious to know if any progress has been made. My approach has always been to have a deadline, but I never knew what drove me until Cal Newport was speaking with Sam Harris.

Let's have a listen to the way he set this context for us.

[00:03:23] Cal Newport: You have to understand what is the problem I'm solving for my boss, right? And you know, typically the problem in this situation you're solving for a boss is that this, whatever this task is, it came into their world. It's a source of stress. Like this thing needs to be done and I have to make sure it gets done.

So it's a source of stress. The problem you're solving for the boss is making that stress go away. Right? So one way you can solve it is, you know, if you're disorganized or if you're just office, they don't know you're a black box. I don't know how you organize your work. If I give you something to do, I would rather you just do it right away, not because it needs to be done right away, not because I like getting quick email responses, but because I don't know what's going to happen with this once I give it to you, so I have to keep track of it mentally until it's done.

I don't want to keep track of it mentally too long, so I'm just going to pester you, get this done, get this done, get this done. If you have an alternative thing that they see, Oh, here it is. Boom. It's on the public Trello board. I can watch it march up. You've solved the boss's problem a different way. I don't have to worry about this, right?

Cal is on it. He has this system. He's not asking me to do more work. He's just giving me transparency into how he manages his work. I don't need this done tomorrow, but the key thing is I don't have to worry about this getting done because it's in the system. It's going to march up in a few days. He'll get to it.

I could check in on this anytime I want. Great. You've taken this stress out of my life. So if you're solving your boss's problem, they'll leave you alone. And so I think we, in a lot of cases, we assume what our bosses want is stuff done right away and stuff done very quickly because they're, you know, late stage capitalist and just don't like us and want to exploit us or whatever.

But they don't care about that. They care about make my stress go away. And if I can, if I know how you're going to do this, I don't really care that you have this like dual category list. In fact, you probably are going to get brownie points for me because you seem like you've got your act together, whereas, you know, someone over here, they're always like frantically emailing and forgetting things.

I'm always having to remind them. So I think we have, it's the double edged sword of knowledge, work autonomy, right? We don't have set systems for here's how we manage our work. Here's how we collaborate. Here's how we manage our workloads. That's left up to the individual. So the sharp edge of that sword.

Is that this allows you, if you're not careful to get completely overloaded because, Hey, you manage your own work. And if you say yes to everything and just jump on a lot of calls, you can get overloaded. But the other side of that sword is you can leverage that autonomy to say, here's how I'm going to do this.

And you can find a way to do it. That's going to be better.

[00:05:52] Steve Davis: I'm sure I'm not alone in going through this. And I just find this explanatory. How do you, uh, react to this, this principle?

[00:06:03] David Olney: I think it's very much a founder's dilemma, that if you start a company until you fix something, it's on your mind. And if you can't fix it now, you put it in a priority list as to when you're going to fix it, because it's on your mind.

And the more you go from being the founder to getting other people to work on things because you can't do everything, the more you have to adjust to the fact that either you ask them for a deadline, or you assume they'll do it first because you would have done it first. But learning to communicate that, I would like to know when you think this might be done by.

I ideally would like it by this point, you know, learning to communicate potential deadlines, rather than just expect immediate action, I think is an important transition for founders, and for anyone working with founders of companies, it's a critical thing to have that conversation of, when do you think you need this?

And does that fit in my time frame, or do we need to negotiate why your thing should be higher priority?

[00:07:02] Steve Davis: Well, that's what I like about the nuance here, because many people handing off a job will ask for it to be done now, not necessarily needing it now, but it's the only way they know to remove that tension.

And it's like we have this thing, and we don't have language around it. And yet That's a good point you make. The responsibility is on the shoulder of the founder or the leader who's handing off a task, to be clear about that, but what I love about and find empowering about Cal's writing is that he's talking about it from the perspective of the person being given the job to say, you know what, you can manage up in this situation if you understand that The person handing you this job is under their own pressure or stress as a result of it.

If you can be that person that always makes them feel calm when they've handed a job, you will always be valued, you will always be the person esteemed in their mind and given favor to.

[00:08:10] David Olney: And very much if you working in a consulting type role like we do, it also makes it then harder to procrastinate going, I could have a couple of mellow days and then just work hard.

Because if you've given deadlines out to people, and you've decided to stick to them, you can structure your work week to really be quite sensible, so you can do things properly, not get overwhelmed, also not slack off, and get a really nice balance in your week. So it really is in your interest to learn to talk about time frames with people, whether you're issuing the job or doing the job.

Either way, someone has to start the conversation, and in a lot of cases, founders don't know they need to start the conversation, because they were only ever talking to themselves.

[00:08:52] Steve Davis: Yeah, and I'm also thinking there is a gap here in our education system because this is very similar, this point, to those made by Seth Godin in his book, Linchpin, which I loved, which again was focused on the worker.

Being able to say, you know what, yes, I'm a worker, I'm getting a wage here, but I can still bring my whole self to this, I can be a map maker, and see the context of things and make suggestions, thus, in Seth's argument, making yourself the valuable one who is kept and sought after when things go hard, as opposed to the person who just dawdles along.

There's an empowerment with that.

[00:09:38] David Olney: Drones are replaceable. People who take responsibility for improving the situation tend to become, not irreplaceable because no one is, but they're more highly valued.

[00:09:48] Steve Davis: And here in the person segment, I think this insight from Cal Newport, just the way he's phrased it, has application not only in the workplace, but also around home and in other relationships too, is understanding that, you know, imagine if you were a kid growing up and you knew that when your parents said, Hey, it's your turn on the dishes, can you Feel the dishwasher, whatever, that they still have some stress.

Do I need to remind them again? Will they be done? Can I rely on it? Imagine being the teenager who stumbles on this podcast and goes, Ah, I understand that chemistry now. I can say, Hey, Dad. I am going to do this. I've got one bit of homework, should be done in half an hour, and it's my next job, and I have set a reminder on my phone, so I don't forget.

That would instantly remove A parent's angst and that young person has just had their first taste of how they can manage up throughout their life.

[00:10:50] David Olney: It's going to be a huge win in the moment and prepare them for the world where they are going to go back to being the most junior person the minute they go out into

[00:10:59] Steve Davis: and a junior person who can manage mighty outcomes.

[00:11:07] Caitlin Davis: Our four Ps. Number two, principles. You can never be overdressed or over educated. Oscar Wilde.

[00:11:21] Steve Davis: In the principles segment, David, I've dimmed the lights, I've lit a few candles, uh, I have Dan Bigham's book on the desk, which is called Start at the End, and, uh, I'm ready for some ideas, sex. Good thing we have the lava lamp. It is a wonderful thing. What we're talking about here is Dan Bigham. How would you describe Dan?

[00:11:51] David Olney: Dan has realized one of the most important things that very smart people realize and that is, if you want to do something properly, imagine what the finished product looks like. You know, whether you've sort of got to this point through Anders Erikson's stuff on Peak Performance of the better your mental representation of what you're trying to achieve, the more likely you are to achieve it.

Or whether you've come to his ideas through, you know, something like backcasting. The simple thing is, if we move forward with a lack of precision, we get an imprecise endpoint. The more precise we can be about how we want to, you know, how an endpoint should be. The more likely we are to achieve it.

[00:12:32] Steve Davis: He's a fascinating character.

So, the full title of the book that we've been listening to is Start at the End, How Reverse Engineering Can Lead to Success. A couple of quick observations before the main one that I want to share with you, and that is, A lot of his insights came from his work in the world of cycling. He had previously been an engineer in a Grand Prix team.

And one of the things he learned from being in a Grand Prix team, that he's applied to everything in life since, is to find that edge over the competition. It starts with going through the rule book with a fine toothed comb and look for any gaps, because there are rules at work in most situations. Some of them are highly codified, like a Grand Prix tournament, but sometimes they're mores, they're principles, they're um, assumed ways of doing things.

And his argument is, if we're going to start at the end, we need to look at Where are the gaps in the rules where we can do something that's legal that actually is better than the way people are doing it? And I'm instantly thinking of the America's Cup and Australia 2 with the winged keel. The winged keel made all the difference and it was legal.

It was within the rules.

[00:13:55] David Olney: It was different to what everyone had done, but they were going on habit. Not on actually reading and applying the rules.

[00:14:01] Steve Davis: Hmm. So I think that's a great insight from this book is, and it's a weird one to apply to life, because for many things there is no rule book. There's just convention.

And I suppose he's asking, can we stop and think, and ask ourselves, why do we do things this way? He's really being that, Fully amped up five year old, isn't he, saying, why, why?

[00:14:25] David Olney: Yeah, and not stopping, and it really lines up with, you know, Richard Koch in his book 80 20. You know, the idea that if there's an unconventional option, explore it first, because the conventional is being done to death.

Why would you just repeat the thing that's been done to death, if you could invest some time in the thing that might offer a new way to move forward, a better way to move forward?

[00:14:48] Steve Davis: And that's what brings us to ideas sex. The way he describes it, in fact, let's listen to him, he's going to describe it for us.

[00:14:59] Dan Bigham: In cycling, as in other sports, the knowledge that underpins high performance is passed around in a haphazard fashion. Coaches, soigneurs, mechanics and nutritionists move between teams, taking their nuggets of go faster information with them. And the more progressive teams bring in new support staff from outside the sport, hoping for a fresh pair of eyes.

National and professional teams are staffed by people with years of experience in the sport. Often they will boast about the hundreds of years of combined experience they have in the team. All of that experience translates to knowledge, and that knowledge is essential for the day to day business of running a professional sports team.

Without it, disaster on a basic operational level would not be far away. Imagine replacing all of a school's teachers with parents. How long before the school descended into chaos? Knowledge gained through experience is fundamental to getting a complicated job done. But because the knowledge is based on the past, on all the ways of working, it can become a limitation.

A team of experienced professionals will always look for incremental improvements, not believing that dramatic improvements are possible. The fresh thinking we are striving for only becomes possible if either the experienced professionals are truly open to redesigning their approach from first principles, or, much more likely, someone new comes along with new ideas and delivers.

You could call it ideas sex. Biologically speaking, sex is about two different genetic identities coming together to create a new genetic identity. Ideas work the same way. Fertilization between different sources will create new ideas. Fertilization between two sources with the same genetic identity will create nothing new and may hinder evolution.

We might call this idea as incest. Never a good thing. Suboptimal performance comes from accepting things the way they have always been done. Have the confidence to be open to ideas, Sex. Look for fresh perspectives on your project.

[00:17:12] Steve Davis: In many ways, this is not earth shattering. I mean, did the world move for you? Did the earth move for you, David?

[00:17:17] David Olney: No, the lava lamp went bloop.

[00:17:18] Steve Davis: But I think that was the sum total of the excitement. But basically, I've long heard the argument before where the innovation comes from bringing an idea or a habit or a technique from one sector or industry into a new one.

Um That's innovation. Even though it's not making something new out of whole cloth, it's taking a fish, putting it in a different sort of water or out of water, and seeing what happens. And that's what he means by idea sex, is uh, he talked about the cycling teams where you've got different people from different disciplines coming to join, and so on.

And they look at things afresh, just recently I was running some customer service, uh, workshops, uh, in tourism for the Tourism Industry Council, and one of the points I make is, we should honour the new person who joins the team, and create some space around them, so that, as they go through their day, if they've seen things that make them go, hmm, that's a bit weird, you We need to give them permission to have a quiet word to us as the leader or manager to give us that feedback and go, Oh, that really is weird.

That's absolute gold to have a fresh set of eyes. Um, what else would you apply? Or, in fact, if we think about if we keep the analogy going, how do you set the scene for ideas, sex, David? Do you, would you do it formally or would you just let it,

[00:18:42] David Olney: There are some very good arguments that it needs to be a very deliberate thing, and this is why multiple authors have made the argument that the 21st century is really about generalists becoming organizers of specialists, and getting the specialists together, and helping them bridge the communication gap.

That if you've got ten people who know how to do their thing, you know, well, together, and a generalist can explain a new project or a new idea, or get the ten people excited, and help them communicate better together than they could on their own, that that's really the key point for innovation, trying to do something out of nothing.

is a really rare situation. In the main, we're using the resources we have differently. You know, in terms of someone like Gary Klein, what we're talking about really is creative desperation. We've got the same resources, but how do we use them in a new or more effective way?

[00:19:38] Steve Davis: So it could be that if you're in your business at the moment feeling a bit stagnant or just getting a sense things are suboptimal.

Is there some fresh Blood, a fresh person. I mean, this is obviously the role consultants play too, having that outside to come in to say, Oh, that's interesting. Over here in X, Y, Z sector, people did things this way. And I suppose it's going to be a never ending journey of a new combination, the extra new set of eyes could just be the thing that puts, that is a combination lock that opens things up together.

And I guess the thing, the final thing to remember on this book, which is why we think it's a good read, it's a short read too, uh, start at the end is, it is that reverse engineering. It is looking at what you want to achieve and going, right, well, we're going to win this race. This how, oh, this way. So, what does that mean?

It means I'm not going to be tired at this part of the race. So, what do I need to do to work my way back to make sure that's not the case? And I think there's something in that approach, in that series of questioning.

[00:20:50] David Olney: Most powerfully, it stops you behaving in the habitual way you've learned, and that is you do something, there's a response.

You do something, there's a response. This makes you go, no, no, no, I've got to put the response before the action that caused it. So you have to define the response better, which means you then test the initiation for the response more carefully. So life becomes less haphazard. Everything has to be more deliberate in reverse.

[00:21:18] Steve Davis: Yeah, that's great. And, uh, that's us, that's our chat about Dan Bigham. Uh, it was good for me. Was it good for you, David?

[00:21:26] David Olney: I think it was pretty good for both of us, and I'm sure Dan would be pleased.

[00:21:33] Caitlin Davis: Our four Ps. Number three, Problems. I asked a question for the best reason possible. Simple curiosity. Oscar Wilde.

[00:21:47] Steve Davis: In the problem section, I had an email, uh, just recently from someone, Jane, who I worked with a long, long time ago, saying, uh, she is using MailChimp to send out newsletters. Uh, the opening rate is soaring, still going well, but click throughs this year have just dropped off the edge of a cliff. Have I heard of any bugs?

She doesn't think anything's changed in anything she's doing, but suddenly people aren't clicking through. And so I thought I'd just share out loud my thinking that I share with her. There's two things that came to mind. One of them is whether increased privacy and cookie restrictions are blocking some of the reporting, working its way back.

I know that more and more systems are just closing the door on that sort of thing. Um, however, What I said to, for her to do as her homework, was go and have a look independently, whether it's in Google Analytics or some other web based server, on the articles that you are sharing in your newsletter, and see if on the day the newsletter is sent, there are actually any.

a big amount of opens that aren't being captured in the newsletters, uh, reporting. Because if that's the case, then definitely there's something not getting back to MailChimp. But if it's crickets there, I think we've understood that. Maybe the world has become busier, and that content is not as compelling as you've been thinking it's been, and maybe this is the year with increased stress of surviving in life, people have closed down how much brain is available to new stimulus.

Any thoughts on that, David, that you'd add?

[00:23:36] David Olney: Just an extension to that thing of it's a more difficult year. Also, when things are more difficult, people's desire for novelty. So even though you might be respected and trusted, and people historically, a reasonable number, would have opened the email and then clicked through, they'll still open it just to see if you're doing anything new.

But without novelty, they're just going to close it and go on to the next task. Because unless they specifically need or want your product or service, they can't really be tempted when things are difficult and they've still got this drive for novelty. So, the

[00:24:14] Steve Davis: Lovely steak and vegetables you've been serving is still good quality, but maybe they need the red wine jus to get them over the line at the moment.

[00:24:25] David Olney: Yep, they need something of the month, whether it's source of the month or something's different about the vegetables, but something has to add novelty back as much to probably distract them from the high stress, you know, years we're living in, but also to make them realise. You're still growing and changing and developing and evolving because, alright, we want to trust things, but we don't really want the things we trust to be absolutely stagnant.

We're going to be more impressed when the things we trust keep gently, gradually getting better. Because then we feel more confident in trusting that person or organization. We don't just trust them because they did a good job. We trust them because they're going to do a good job.

[00:25:11] Steve Davis: Okay. Jane, I hope that's also helpful as well.

We do know novelty leads to a dopamine effect, and maybe that's what we're hungry for at the moment.

[00:25:20] Caitlin Davis: Our four Ps, number four, perspicacity. The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it. Oscar Wilde.

[00:25:39] Steve Davis: Earlier in this episode, we talked about Dan Bigham who had has had quite a career in cycling and if you think cycling Uh, we think tyres. Well, I do. Is that what you think about, David? Tyres?

[00:25:51] David Olney: I think about those funny bells being rang when they're going really fast, going, Why is there a cowbell near bicyclists?

Yes, well, there is that too.

[00:25:59] Steve Davis: They want you to move.

[00:26:02] David Olney: I'll give a golf clap for that one. I really liked that.

[00:26:06] Steve Davis: So, tyres, Michelin. For perspicacity to finish off this episode, Dave and I were talking over lunch and just pondering out loud the Michelin Guide.

[00:26:17] Michelin Ad: Today we're going to talk about the Michelin ZX Radial.

The tire that, again or not again, roars. The tire that, kilometer after kilometer, stays safe. Because it is built to last a long time, it can bear my name. Longer safe, longer efficient. Michelin ZX.

[00:26:49] Steve Davis: Now michelin, French tire company, back in 1900, They started publishing a thing called a Michelin Guide. Nothing to do with tires. It was a guide to good eating, to good restaurants around continental Europe. And why would they do that? Of course, you had to drive to get to them, which meant you were using your tires.

Which, the more you got to use your tires, the more you would buy. Tires to replace them and hopefully Michelin tires It's interesting how it's become successful in its own right ever since that time and Someone can happily go to Michelin star restaurants without having to Michelin tires, and not even think twice about it, they've really diverged at a fork in the road.

But David, that concept of a company being so broad in its thinking about its marketing back then, that has spun off its own entity. What do we think in 2024? Is that still a smart strategy? Is there still a door open somewhere? For someone to step in and dominate a complimentary category with basically a gift to the community that also, in a roundabout ways, gets their name in front of people accidentally.

[00:28:23] David Olney: I'm very much of two minds on this, because at one level, you think trying to now put out an equivalent kind of guide in a world of so much free information would be a nightmare. Like, how would you get any attention? And yet, even though when the Michelin Guide came out, this idea that someone's going to tell you where you can drive to and why it's going to be worth it, why the meal is good, um, the fact that they did that credibly is probably why it stuck.

Yeah, initially it was a guide, but it very quickly became a credible guide. And credibility always has value. So, thinking, as I was thinking about this, about Joe Pulizzi's book, Content, where he says, Build a community first who trust you, and then sell them a product. So thinking around about why Joe Pulizzi's idea of become the trusted person, before you try and get anyone to spend money, means this is probably still possible, But it would be a big commitment to do it properly and to not give in to the cheap shot at selling product too early or making decisions for the sake of the product that go against this idea of credible information.

[00:29:36] Steve Davis: I would hazard a guess that in the early days, we're talking 1900s, automobiles new, there wouldn't, wouldn't have been saturated market of tyres and this would have definitely given Michelin. Some talking points. I actually think for the first few decades, in particular, it would have been an absolute winner for them.

with a direct correlation. They could sit back in the boardroom and say, this is selling us more tires. And then I think as time has gone on, uh, it's just become its own separate entity. I doubt many people even tie together. Know the two things are related. Yes. But the thing that I think is timeless here, and that's the nature of the perspicacity segment is to look for what might last to challenge our thinking.

I think the credibility angle is absolutely. Spot on that there are so many fake awards out there. I got peppered towards the end of last year with at least a dozen different awards entities saying that I have one best marketing business in Adelaide award and all I have to do is pay 800 to complete the process.

And it's like, it's just fake, rubbish, no credibility, and so we're saturated, uh, with that sort of thing. I think credibility does stand the test of time, and there must be openings where, if we have done that exercise that I try to get people to do, whether they're a client or we're in a workshop, and they just think about, um, what problems do you solve?

for your people. How do you make your customers feel good about themselves and what impact is your entity having on the world? I think somewhere in there lies the heart of something that could be your Michelin

[00:31:34] David Olney: Guide. As you were talking then the big thing I think about you know being a guitarist is some of the YouTubers You know, who have good relationships with the guitar companies and get sent gear to test, but the ones who are really honest, you know, I like this guitar and it's good.

This is a good guitar. I don't like it, but that's just me. But draw that distinction between quality or not, I like it or not, and see them as different categories and the impact they appear to have on what instruments young guitarists buy. It's alive and well, but it really comes down to the credibility of the person, in the examples I can think of, rather than the credibility of companies now.

And we can trust a person just about, but trusting a company now, if they don't have a figurehead we trust and connect with, is getting harder and harder.

[00:32:28] Steve Davis: On that note, We'll head down to my car. Let's drive out and have a meal somewhere. How are we going to choose a place? Have you got a Michelin guide on you?

[00:32:36] David Olney: No, but I'm sure we can find it on our phone.

[00:32:40] Caitlin Davis: Thank you for listening to Talking About Marketing. If you enjoyed it, please leave a rating or a review in your favorite podcast app. And if you found it helpful, please share it with others. Steve and David always welcome your comments and questions, so send them to podcast at talkedaboutmarketing.

com. And finally, the last word to Oscar Wilde, there's only one thing worse than being talked about, and that's not being talked about.

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