Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win: Books: William C. Taylor, Polly G. LaBarre

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by: David Polinchock

I received an advance copy of Mavericks at Work, which will be available in October, and I've been enjoying the read. But I came across a quote today that I just had to post:

"One of our core philosophies is that we spend money that other people would spend on marketing to create a store experience that exceeds people's expectations. We don't spend money on messages — we invest in execution." Glen Senk, Anthropologie

Now that's putting your money where your mouth is! It's not about telling people what you do. It's about doing what you do.

So, if we were in the Wal-Mart pitch, we'd be saying "Don't spend $500 million on advertising. Put $500 million into creating the most authentic, relevant and compelling retail experience you can create. Then let that new experience speak for you! We think that will deliver a message that will really impact your bottom line."

Are you ready to put your money where your mouth is? Sure, it's easy to spend money on messaging, but you create a much better value when you spend money to execute well. Take look at a piece that Dan Pink wrote for Yahoo Finance:

Today, utility is abundant. We have more products and services than we can handle, and most function just fine. To stand out in a crowded marketplace, sellers must make a dramatic leap in utility — or stand out in some other way. They can try to compete on price, but that usually ends in a downward death spiral.

So the alternative is to compete not on left-brain attributes like price and functionality, but on right-brain qualities such as emotion, meaning, and look and feel. Case in point: Target sells toilet brushes and vegetable scrubbers designed by superstar architect Michael Graves. Even the most mundane, utilitarian objects in our lives have been turned into objects of desire.

I've identified an initial group of five publicly-held companies that differentiate based on design: Apple (AAPL), Target (TGT), Starbucks (SBUX), Motorola (MOT), and Procter & Gamble (PG). (Surprised by that last one? Don't be. P&G CEO A.G. Lafley has said many times his company "is in the design business" and that design is how the company avoids descending into commodity hell.) Turns out that these five design-centered companies have easily outperformed the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ over the last five years. (Emphasis mine)

So let's build this index together. It's your DADI, too! Send your nominations to me at I'll put the list together and report back to you in a later column. 

So, putting your money where your mouth is might actually make you money! Are you listening Wal-Mart?

Link: Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win: Books: William C. Taylor,Polly G. LaBarre.

Link: Good Investing by Design: The Trend Desk – Yahoo! Finance.

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