Background Sounds

Feb 24, 2008

Ever noticed how you tend not to hear background sounds after a while? When you first turn an air conditioner on, for example, you notice the sound. After a while, you don’t hear it anymore. Same goes for a clock ticking, among other things.

Our brains have “novelty detector neurons“, which respond to newer sounds, and stop firing if a certain pattern of sounds is repeated over and over. Because of that, sounds that don’t change fade into the background, and we don’t hear them.

We have a natural instinct to not pay attention to things that stay constant. And on the reverse side, as marketers – and face it, we’re all marketers – you need to be different to get attention. You need to keep changing with the times, adapting your medium and message to fit the audience.

You need to provide something that others aren’t used to hearing.

Whatever you’re marketing – be it your personal brand, a corporate product or anything else – how are you getting attention, and stopping yourself from fading into the background?

Lessons from the Mona Lisa

Dec 26, 2007

An interesting video on the Mona Lisa, and why she is famous. It’s a small painting, whose subject isn’t even a significant historical figure. So what makes the painting stand out so much? As the video shows, it’s about the small, but revolutionary changes in the painting.

Small details, done in a way that nobody had done before, is all you need to stand out.

Your Opponents Weaknesses or Your Strengths

Dec 20, 2007

No matter what you’re doing, you’ll always have competition. In games, in business, even in relationships. There’s always competition of sorts. How do you deal with this competition? There are 2 general ways people go about dealing with competition.

You could focus on your opponents weaknesses. Target where they are weak and adjust what you’re doing to hit them there. Or you could focus on your own strengths. Don’t think so much about what they do, but just do what you’re the best at. Of course, it’s best when your strengths align with your opponents weaknesses, but that’s not always the case.

A good example of that was the Sunday EPL matches. Liverpool vs Manchester United and Arsenal vs Chelsea. Liverpool and, to a lesser extent, Chelsea, typify the first approach. They change their system and the players they use based on their opponents. They try to identify weaknesses in the opponents play and plan according to those weaknesses.

Manchester United and Arsenal, on the other hand, play their own game. Yes, they study their opponents (who wouldn’t). But at the end of the day, they focus on what they do best. They stick to their game.

The results over the weekend? 1-0 wins for both Manchester United and Arsenal. Not much of a surprise there, to me. The best way to win is still to just do what you do best. Play to your strengths.

At least that’s what I believe. What do you think? How do you beat your competition?