I remember a design project at Georgia State where I participated in a team responsible for marketing a lightbulb company. Our ad campaign pretty much got trashed by the judges as unoriginal, but we hit on one thing that I think is worth remembering: the way to sell lightbulbs is to change your focus off the bulbs. Our company sold “100% bulbed light.”
It’s a subtle difference, but I believe perspective makes a big difference in a company. Do people care about the bulbs or the light? At the Threshing Floor last Friday, I was reminded that Hallmark isn’t a greeting card company, but a social expression company. According to George Barna’s Master Leaders, Disney isn’t in the theme park business; it’s in the happiness business. Banks are in the peace-of-mind business. And so on.
A perspective focused on the end experience of the customer is going to meet their needs better and result in a better product. Do you know what your real business is? What is the feeling that your customer will go away with? It’s about vision, and vision starts at the top.
Last month, one of Wycliffe USA’s board members summed up Wycliffe’s business. We’re not in the Bible translation business, but the Bible transformation business — lives changed by the Word of God. That’s our vision.
Back to the design project. Of course it was a marketing campaign. Only a marketing campaign could convince the pubic that incandescent bulbs are anything more than: “80% bulbed heat, 20% bulbed light.”