Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Smaahht aka Different

This past weekend I went to Boston where a friend of mine goes to Haahvaahd and hangs out with smaahht kids. On the plane ride out there I read a book that just came out called "Different" written by Youngme Moon. Coincidentally Youngme Moon teaches marketing at Harvard (let me know if you want me to go back and write this whole thing with a Bahhstan accent because I will). Unfortunately I did not run into Youngme while I was out there.

It's possible that I have a "honeymoon" phase going with this book since I just read it but nevertheless I am going to say that it was one of the best "marketing/business" books I have ever read. I kept finding myself thinking about examples of brands and companies I work with and relating their stories to the examples and theories laid out in the book. I also stopped multiple times to just think. So yea, I would say it's a book that makes you think.

I don't want to get into too much detail about the book because beyond my saying that it is an awesome book I don't want to get all reviewie. However, I will quickly elaborate on one example just to give an idea of what this book gets into.

Some of what Youngme Moon writes about in this book is brands that stand out. She refers to one of these groups as "Reverse Position Brands". An obvious example of this type of brand is Google. In the mid to late 90's Yahoo, AOL and other search engines from the Ace of Base era battled to add more features and more stuff to their homepages in order to stay neck and neck with each other. Along came Google who decided to not include any of those features users were used to.

This was a ballsy move at the time.

Google had faith that people would get over the fact that it didn't provide those things and embrace what it did provide which happened to be, wait for it.....different (see what I did there?).

That is a game of just the tip of what this book is all about so if you think the way I just described that was dumb just keep in mind that the person who wrote the book isn't me...it's a person that teaches at rather high-end university.

Lastly, I bought this book on a whim because it has one of the best promotional videos ever, in my humble opinion.


Sorry if this post comes off as sales pitchy but it's very common in the advertising industry to talk about "breaking through the clutter" and other cliche crap like that. This book does a great job of addressing those issues in a way you don't think about or read about every day.

One love, one heart

Eric McPherson

Twitter: @EricWMcPherson


  1. Read the Purple Cow by Seth Godin! In fact, read a bunch of books by him. While brands try to be the end-all for everyone, the ones that can market to a specific niche, and then develop that market, take over.

    Think about it: how many Canadian first baseman or catchers with huge chops are there? Find a niche -- much like your particular dress of t-shirt and gym short -- and market yourself to all of the babes that dig the way you do business. It's science. Works 60% of the time every time.

    Another stimulating place for ideas is Ted Talks. Stream the goodness at home and prepare to have your mind blown.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions, I've actually seen the Ted talk featuring Seth Godin so basically I smell what you are stepping in.