Monthly Archives: March 2009

Precedent

In some institutions, what came first is an invaluable guideline. Decisions are based on former decisions. It’s purposely difficult to justify changing course.

Law is probably the best example. Decisions made without precedent are rare and typically left to the highest court to determine… to, y’know, establish precedent.

But too many modern decisions are based on the templates of someone else.

Like: “Our return policy is the industry standard.”

Until, of course, someone changes the standard.

Or: “Whatever you sell, have ‘X’ as an option. You’ll alienate customers without it.”

Moral of the story: You’re operating something — right now — based on someone else’ precedent.

It’s not yours, it’s a false standard. Consider raising the bar, or changing the game altogether.

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Jon Stewart is our generation’s Edward R. Murrow

The greatest journalist of our era is a comedian on a basic cable network.

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The inside joke

I think any friendship can be measured by the amount of inside jokes you share.

And while I’m not an ad guy, this commercial best visually expresses what I’m getting at:

The inside stuff creates loyalty, always has. Works for friendships and it works for business.

So how about it?

Share any inside jokes with your fans?

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The science behind remarkable

I wanted to share some interesting research we covered on our GasPedal blog a few weeks ago. It’s a 2003 study conducted by Christian Derbaix and Joelle Vanhamme of Belgium’s Université catholique de Louvain showing the influence of remarkable and surprising events on word of mouth:

The frequency and amount of WOM were clearly larger for negatively and positively surprising experiences than for their non surprising counterparts. Highly significant correlations were found between surprise, subsequent emotions and the frequency of WOM.

When hypothesizing why consumers are more likely to engage in word of mouth following a purchase involving surprise, Derbaix and Vanhamme suggest it could be related to the psychological “weight” associated with the event:

Surprise elicits substantial cognitive work (causal search, causal attribution, schema updating, and so on) and as mentioned by Söderlund (1998), this cognitive burden could lead to more interactions with others to the extent that interactions with others can help the individual in alleviating this burden. Therefore, the likelihood of inducing social sharing (WOM) is high.

So, in other words, if you deliver an unexpectedly remarkable experience to your customers, science tells us they can’t help but tell their friends about you.

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