Let’s say that I buy my wife a two carat diamond ring. At the same time, you buy your wife a one carat diamond ring. Let’s also assume that the diamond I buy is not very good quality — it has a few flaws, the cut is not great, and the color is a little off. Your diamond, on the other hand, is superb — it’s flawless and clear and the cut is spectacular. In fact, though the diamond you bought is half the size of the one I bought, your diamond cost more — maybe quite a bit more.
So, in the Best Husband Sweepstakes, who won? Well, I did. Even though it takes four C’s (cut, color, clarity, and carat weight) to measure a diamond’s quality, people really only talk about carats. When your wife flashes her diamond, no one asks, “Gosh, what clarity is it?” The only question is, “Wow, how many carats is that thing?” You bought a better diamond but I win the opinion poll.
It hardly seems fair, does it? You’ll know in your heart of hearts that your wife has a better ring. So will she. But in the “marketplace” of public opinion, two carats is better than one.
What does this have to do with strategy, innovation, and brand? All too often, companies and individuals really don’t understand how they’re being judged. It’s useful to take a step back and determine how the league table is really being compiled. Here are some examples:
Do you really know how you (or your company) are being judged? Maybe it’s time to step back, look around, and re-evaluate. Ask around. Do some research. Evaluate what other people are evaluating. It’s good to know about cut, color, and clarity. It’s crucial to know about carats.