Be Interesting or Be Invisible

Posted on Nov 30, 2010 by Steve Tyink

Think about it: how many of your last 10 encounters with any organization stand out as memorable? If you’re like most, the answer might be one, if that.

Unremarkable experiences are part of a wide-spread ‘sea of sameness.’ They are vanilla, average, status-quo, just like the rest. Plain and simple, they are nothing special. Now don’t get me wrong, vanilla is a great ice cream flavor, but in this case it’s not a complimentary adjective.

Organizations everywhere are searching for ways to separate themselves from the ‘sea of sameness’ and are asking, “How do we differentiate our business from the rest?” Parity in the marketplace is rampant. If you want your product or business to stand out, it will be the experience that people remember.

In a recent survey, 22,000 Americans were asked 10 questions to define their experience in multiple industries. Sixty-eight percent rated their experiences as forgettable, 20 percent were memorable horrible, while only 10 percent were ranked as memorable in a positive way. In other words, customers could remember specific details about the experiences they received only a fraction of the time.

Take for instance Virgin America Airlines. They are one of America’s favorite airlines, in part because they have “re-imagined” the experience, including their safety overview. Click here to watch the video they show before every flight.

Check out the elements that connect with passengers in a new way:

  • It’s Easy: My favorite moment of the video is where the narrator says, “For the .0001 percent of you who have never operated a seat belt before, it works like this…” In other words, we at Virgin America Airlines understand that you know this, but we have to show you anyway. We see Virgin America is human and has a sense of humor.
  • Design: The video is current and relevant. Virgin America stays in touch and designs interactions with all audiences in mind.
  • It’s Fun: Virgin America uses actual real-life humor. They make fun of the situation and thus create something that is interesting.

So compare this video to the safety videos shown by other airlines – invisible and forgettable, nothing special. No humor, no design, no joy, no fun.

As we move through the ‘sea of sameness’ together, what will make your business interesting and keep you from being invisible?

About Steve Tyink

Steve Tyink leads Miron’s experience-based design efforts, assists with process and lean improvement, and adds elements of innovation to business development and corporate strategies to differentiate the Miron brand. Steve also applies his expertise to serve as a resource to those seeking ways to create innovative facilities that encourage an emotional attachment for their own customers and employees.

Get in touch with Steve Tyink
View all posts by Steve Tyink
[email protected]

One Response to Be Interesting or Be Invisible

  • Bill Meyer says:

    Good comments, Steve. It is especially difficult for an engineer to be interesting! I will really have to work at it. I wish you a great 2011.