The resulting statement -- "To be one of the most well-known and
respected organizations in the world known for nurturing and
inspiring the human spirit" -- according to a former executive,
"guides us, anchors us and inspires us to this day."
When Howard Schultz returned to Starbucks, he immediately
focused on coffee.
"Starbucks Going Back to the Bean," was the headline in USA
Today. "We'll spill out more coffee than most coffee shops sell,"
Mr. Schultz said in the article.
Managers talk about nurturing and inspiring the human spirit.
Entrepreneurs talk about coffee.
Most entrepreneurs -- think Howard Schultz, Steve Jobs, Jeff
Bezos, Michael Dell -- are right brainers. When entrepreneurs grow
up, however, they often fall into management mode and let their
left-brain subordinates take over.
Logical, analytical thinking tends to build confidence in a
person's ability to predict the future. After all, if you've
studied a situation in great detail, then you should be able to
foresee what will happen next.
If there are a number of strategic moves on the table, there's
no room for discussion if a CEO weighs in with his or her
assessment. "We will do strategic move A because it will produce
the best results in the future." Discussion over.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
is co-author of the forthcoming book "War in the Boardroom," which
will be released Feb. 24. Mr. Ries is chairman of Ries & Ries,
a marketing consulting firm he runs with his partner and daughter
Laura Ries. Their website, ries.com
, and leftrightbrainquiz.com
, have a simple quiz to
determine if you are a left-brainer or a right-brainer.
Certainty is the mark of a left brainer, whereas holistic
right-brainers are never quite sure. Before Dietrich Mateschitz,
founder of Red Bull, introduced his unique beverage, he tested the
concept. "People didn't believe the taste, the logo, the brand name
... a disaster," he was quoted as saying at the time.
But he introduced Red Bull anyway, something a right-brain
entrepreneur would do but not something the logical thinkers at
most big companies would do.
Management deals in facts and figures, an analytical approach to
a problem. In short, management deals in reality. Marketing,
meanwhile, deals in perception. What matters to marketing people
are not the so-called facts but what's in consumers' minds.
Bet on perceptions
Last year, Hyundai introduced its $40,000 car, the Genesis. "All
we're doing is bringing people to the truth -- the quality,
residual value and safety technology," said John Krafcik,
VP-product planning at Hyundai Motor America.
That might be the truth, but the perception is that Hyundai is a
cheap car. So who is going to win this battle? Most marketing
people would bet on perception. (Didn't Hyundai notice the fate of
Volkswagen's $100,000 Phaeton?)