It could be said that a Camel is just a horse designed with the advantage of not watering it every few hours. To me it’s a compromise on the sleek,elegant and fast paced nature of the horse, with a need for being able to not have maintain it as much. No essential grooming needs to take place. No shoeing. And when it does drink, it can store enough water, that I wouldn’t have to water it again for days.
Compromise? Yes…because the Grand national would look quite ridiculous with camels bombing all over it. (Although…there’s an idea!) The elegance and intelligence of the animals is amazing. They are genuinely beautiful animals, although they do scare me. (I got thrown off a donkey at weston-Super-Mare when I was 3. Even when I use glue now, things don’t stick!)
It’s as much of a compromise as Vanilla Ice Cream.
Vanilla is the bulk standard. There are thousands of companies selling Vanilla Ice Cream. And they all kind of taste the same don’t they?
But here’s the thing. There is a MASS of people that want to eat it. For those that are lactose intolerant, have issues with nuts, etc… there are thousands more people that don’t want to taste a challenging mouthful of Radish flavoured Ice Cream, (real flavour), or the luxury of a double choc chip, heart attack inducing flavour. Why?
Well it’s mass market isn’t it? It’s a safe compromise for a child’s 7th birthday party.
But could you build a company around ‘safe’, ‘boring’ vanilla flavoured ice cream now? Probably not.
So can you build a driving school around, ‘dull’, ‘unimaginative’, ‘run of the mill’ driving lessons and earn the top rate in your area? Probably not either. The ‘boring slot’ is filled. And trying to shift it and change the world is probably going to be far too difficult. Simply because the blandness of the product, in this case the lesson, is it’s greatest asset. It can be copied over and over and over and over again and I’m sure you will agree, will be wanted by most pupils in the market.
You wouldn’t even think of marketing yourself as “More bland than the leading bland brand.” Yet we all do, don’t we?
Real growth comes from things that offend, annoy, startle, that are too big, too small, too big, too light, too…something! Whilst they are ‘too’ something for some people, they are just perfect for others.
The areas for growth can often be found in industries where mavericks up end their field because the dominant brands, simply wouldn’t employ them. The market leaders continue to show their dominance in industries because they continue to market the compromised version of what they set out to do all those years ago. They forgot how to lead and innovate. They have to market what they have always done, simply because it continues their profitability, and as dominant companies, with investors and shareholders, that is what matters to them, not to the clientele they serve. It serves them to sit in the ‘middle’ to have a strangle on a mass market. (Just think WHY Driving School Franchises are not actually recognised as a Franchise according to national and international governing regulators. There are many reasons for this, and some of them cannot be solved, so perhaps we should no longer call them franchises?!)
So where is the growth in our industry?
Well, it’s in creating something remarkable.
Good, you can get ten a penny. Bad, you can get anywhere. And normal is well…just vanilla and safe.
Remarkable is out there somewhere.
Remember the time you first went for a drive in the country and saw cows? Wow! You mum or dad probably pointed them pout to you. I know I did to my son.
Problem is that after 20 minutes they are……just cows. Normal, big, fat, spotted, cows. Eating grass. Occasionally doing amusing things to each other worthy of You Tube, but they are JUST COWS!
But you’d be interested in seeing a purple cow.
You would wouldn’t you? I mean its a cow…but it’s purple…and that makes it remarkable.
Your driving lessons, your driving school are your versions of cows.
So I ask you…what would make your business a purple cow and remarkable? What would mean that you start changing the people you serve, the people you need to market to and in turn the money the you could earn?
1. What can you do differently TODAY that would give your pupil EXTRA Value at no cost tot them and NO COST to you?
2. What could you ‘package’ up that would warrant an increase in hourly or block rate that would be of LITTLE cost to you?
3. What skill / offering / concept, could you invest in, that would make your business better and different to people around you?
Time to do something VERY different then…
(With huge thanks to the writings and recordings of Seth Godin)