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Follow the Other Hand - Ideas are what keep businesses alive. Without new ideas, any business stands a good chance of slowly declining and eventually dying. The best companies never stop evolving and generating new ideas, and putting these ideas into action.

“Follow the Other Hand” by Andy Cohen gives a new, fun, and practical strategy to energizing your business by learning to think out of the box and come up with brilliant ideas. Through the metaphor of magic and a story of how a real company used magic to transform itself into a vibrant, profitable business, Cohen offers magical secrets to entrepreneurs and business people on how to turn their businesses into successful enterprises.

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Follow the Other Hand

  1. 2. Follow the Other Hand A Remarkable Fable That Will Energize Your Business, Profits and Life AUTHOR: Andy Cohen PUBLISHER: St. Martin’s Press DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2006 NUMBER OF PAGES: 172 pages
  2. 3. <ul><li>Ideas are what keep businesses alive. Without new ideas, any business stands a good chance of slowly declining and eventually dying. The best companies never stop evolving and generating new ideas, and putting these ideas into action. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Follow the Other Hand” by Andy Cohen gives a new, fun, and practical strategy to energizing your business by learning to think out of the box and come up with brilliant ideas. Through the metaphor of magic and a story of how a real company used magic to transform itself into a vibrant, profitable business, Cohen offers magical secrets to entrepreneurs and business people on how to turn their businesses into successful enterprises. </li></ul>THE BIG IDEA
  3. 4. I. Using Magic to do Business <ul><li>Using magic to do business may sound weird and ridiculous at first, but if you look at the most successful companies today, you would realize that all of them use magic. Starbucks turned a fifty-cent cup of coffee into a $3-dollar experience. Dell is able to deliver customized computers within 24 hours. Land’s End lets people design their own clothes on the Web. Build-a-Bear became an overnight success because it allowed children to make their own stuffed toys. </li></ul><ul><li>Before these companies were able to do these, people thought that these were all impossible to do. But because of the magic of new, innovative and daring ideas, all of these companies became mega-successes. </li></ul><ul><li>The first magic trick to learn, therefore, is to realize that you have to constantly think of new ideas for your business to grow and become successful. Competition for time, money and space demands that we think differently to stay ahead. There are so many more products and services than consumers out there. </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>Jonathan West owned an olive oil distribution business that was founded by his grandfather and handed down to him by his father. By the time Jonathan inherited it, however, competition and technology was making the business flounder. </li></ul><ul><li>Local mom-and-pop stores that sell his products were being forced out of business by larger supermarket chains that have no relationships with him and therefore keep forcing his prices down. There were just too many olive oil suppliers and products so supermarkets didn’t really need his. He has to keep lowering his prices just so the supermarkets would stock his olive oil. </li></ul><ul><li>Jonathan grew up learning how to do business from his father and grandfather. But with the rise of new technology and globalization, he realized that the old business formulas would not work in the emerging business world. He needed new ideas. And through a friend’s introduction, he decided to seek the advice of an unlikely consultant – Merlin the magician. </li></ul>II. The Story of Jonathan West
  5. 6. III. Identify a Goal for Your Business <ul><li>First thing Merlin asked Jonathan to write down one very big goal or dream that they want to happen for his company. And Jonathan wrote down, “Make the supermarkets demand my products.” </li></ul>
  6. 7. IV. Make a List of all the Problems You Are Having In Your Business <ul><li>Next, Merlin asked Jonathan to list down all of the reasons or obstacles that will keep that goal or dream from happening. And Jonathan listed down the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Too many competing products to choose from </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No leverage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competitors constantly cutting down prices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customers don’t care who imports the products when the product still appears the same (Olive oil is olive oil.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competitors offer supermarkets more money to get shelf space. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology is allowing the supermarkets and gourmet shops to go directly to my sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We have limited control over the pricing of an item that we don’t manufacture </li></ul></ul>
  7. 8. V. Write down all the Ways You Can Make Your Goal Come True, Even Seemingly Impossible Ones <ul><li>After this, Merlin asked Jonathan to set aside the first list and make a new one: a list of all the ways he can do to make his dream come true. It was hard to do it at first, but Jonathan finally came up with this list. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Supply products that my competition doesn’t have and that cannot be found anywhere else. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use my knowledge of the industry that the supermarkets don’t have </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use my personal connections with my suppliers that the supermarkets don’t have </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help the smaller gourmet shops grow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stop thinking like the middleman and act more like the distributor. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Begin competing with my buyers – large and small. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. VI. Follow the Other Hand <ul><li>This is what ‘following the other hand” means. Most people grow up trained to think largely with their left brain– the logical, practical side of the brain, which controls mostly the right side of the body. This is why majority of people are right-handed. Following the other hand means putting the right side of your brain to work– the side that controls the left hand, the side that is creative and different. </li></ul><ul><li>Following the other hand means challenging the conventional wisdom that keeps telling you something is impossible and can’t be done, and then doing exactly that– the impossible. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, John Osher did just that when he came up with an electric toothbrush for only $1 more than the manual toothbrush. Before he did so, experts said electric toothbrushes would cost from $50 to $75. But Osher followed the other hand, used the technology that was already available in making battery-operated toys and lollipops, and did the impossible. </li></ul>
  9. 10. VII. The AXE Performance <ul><li>Unilever did just that with AXE, the first successful body spray that hit the US market. Before AXE, all the experts said that body sprays were simply not a good product to sell to Americans. They said the US market for body sprays did not exist. All across the globe, people used body spray to deal with body odor, except the US. They said it was because Americans were obsessed with taking baths and showers. </li></ul><ul><li>But Unilever followed the other hand. They challenged the conventional wisdom and packaged AXE. But they packaged it differently for the American market. While Americans may not care about how they smelled, they did care a whole lot about “getting the girl”. AXE was thus packaged as a body spray that would attract the girl of your dreams. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, the first AXE commercials showed young guys being chased by pretty girls in humorous scenarios. And people loved it. Pretty soon, other companies were offering their own body sprays to the American market. But they never became as successful as AXE was, and still is. </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>To sum up, then, the first magic secret you need to learn is to Think Differently. Come up with a product/service that is different from others. Learn from the AXE experience and do the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create an effect. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Follow the other hand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop the method </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Begin with a great performance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Achieve the effect. </li></ul></ul>VIII. Lesson Number 1: Think Differently
  11. 12. <ul><li>Lesson Number Two is about building trust with your customers. And this means giving them choice and control. How exactly do you do this? A magician does this by engaging the audience. He lets someone pick a card from a deck, giving both perceived choice and control to the customer. How do you translate this to business? </li></ul><ul><li>M&M did this by allowing customers to choose their own color for their candies. They asked Americans to vote for the next color for M&M’s. This turned out to be a brilliant pre-engagement strategy. By engaging customers in the product even before they bought, they increased their market. Customers are more inclined to buy a product that they feel that had a part of in making. An emotional relationship has been achieved. </li></ul>IX. Lesson Number 2: Building Trust – Making the Audience Part of the Act
  12. 13. <ul><li>Today’s businesses spend millions of dollars on brochures, print ads, television commercials, Websites, and direct mail pieces designed to imprint their brand on and build a bond with customers. But the truth is, the secret to brand fame is building long-lasting emotional relationships with customers. </li></ul><ul><li>To do this, your brand should be more than a name, a logo, or a catchy tune. Your brand should be an experience. </li></ul>X. Defining Your Brand – Creating a Magical Experience
  13. 14. <ul><li>Jones Soda became successful by turning their brand of soda into an experience for customers. First, it lets customers offer photos that can then be put on the soda label that appears on the soda bottles. Customers, then, can actually experience seeing photos of themselves or photos they have taken on the soda bottles. Personalized labels create a wonderful high, as well as build a great bond with customers. </li></ul><ul><li>Impossible? A lot of people thought so to, but Jones Soda searched for the technology that would allow them to personalize bottle labels. And after they developed the technology, they patented it. </li></ul><ul><li>Also, Jones Soda allows customers to suggest their own flavors, which is why they have an assortment of quirky flavors like Crushed Melon, Berry Lemonade, Turkey, and Gravy Soda. </li></ul>XI. The Jones Soda Brand
  14. 15. <ul><li>By learning from the Jones Soda success, you learn how to define your brand by creating a magical experience around it. And you can do this by doing the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Create Wow. This is simply using technology and drama to create a wow effect. But equally important, you need to make sure that you create a WOW experience for a product that customers actually need. Think of it in terms of the diagram below. </li></ul><ul><li>Discover. This means letting your customers own the brand. Jones Soda spends less than a million in advertising. Instead, they let customers discover the brand by putting the softdrink in less conventional locations and providing unique communities, like its websites, which allows customers to discover new musical artists. </li></ul><ul><li>Listen while performing. This means listening to your customers. Customers will tell you what they like and don’t like. Then use the feedback to create a new customer experience and it’s a guarantee you will create a unique brand. Pringles, for example, asks people to submit ideas for new Pringles Prints. </li></ul>XII. Lesson Number 3: Create a Magical Experience to Define Your Brand
  15. 16. <ul><li>Of course, coming with new ideas puts you in confrontation with people and structures that resist new ideas. Someone or something out there is surely bound to heckle you, or discourage you from putting your ideas into action, whether it is your boss, your workers, your customers, your financiers, suppliers, buyers, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Presenting new ideas therefore is like doing a magic trick. It requires an understanding of your audience and knowing how to act when they respond. </li></ul><ul><li>How do you handle idea-heckling, or resistance to your ideas? First you need to understand that resistance may have various reasons: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>-- territory – its not their idea and they feel threatened </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-- control – the idea heckler negates your idea in order to assert </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>his authority </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-- risk aversion – the idea heckler has a limited ability to think </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>differently out of a fear of falling or not feeling empowered to </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>take the risk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-- reality check – the idea heckler may have a valid point. You </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>have a bad idea </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-- poor preparation – you haven’t properly prepared the </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>presentation or thought out the idea. </li></ul></ul>XIII. Lesson Number 4: Idea Heckling – Removing Obstacles to Thinking Differently
  16. 17. <ul><li>The final lesson is simply writing down what makes you and your company unique and different from the others. These are two separate things: your magic and your company’s magic. In this way, you can remind yourself that there are different kinds of magic you can put to use in turning your company into a success. Here are what Jonathan West wrote: </li></ul><ul><li>What’s My Magic: </li></ul><ul><li>I am good at building relationships. My great-great-grandfather’s motto was “what goes around comes around”. I believe that treating people fairly is part of my magic. </li></ul><ul><li>If I didn’t have this family business, I’d be doing something in advertising and marketing. I love ideas and have always admired a great ad. Enjoying creativity is part of my magic. </li></ul><ul><li>When I am excited about something, I find it transfers to others. I guess you could say my passion about things is infectious and motivates others. That’s magical. </li></ul><ul><li>I might dream about a career in advertising, but I love food, and this career connects me with restaurants, gourmet food supplies, kitchenware companies, and great chefs. I have a ”magic” knack for knowing what tastes good and why. </li></ul>XIV. Lesson Number 5 : Discovering Your Competitive Edge – “What’s Your Magic”
  17. 18. <ul><li>After receiving his magic lessons from Merlin, Jonathan presented his ideas to his team and together they decided to develop and sell their own product – American salad dressings, something that until then were not stocked on supermarket shelves. </li></ul><ul><li>The company has developed a line of American dressings using traditional American ingredients from various states. Their products come in a variety of shapes, like the state of Florida, the Seattle Space Needle, etc. Their brand identifies with being American and their website provides information on cities and states in the US. Uniquely, they will also have a freedom meter that will tell customers exactly how many calories each bottle contains, so they can have a choice. </li></ul><ul><li>In addition, they are going to develop a new way of selling olive oil – olive oil on demand. This means providing greater information on their olive oil products to customers, and allowing customers more choice and control on what kind of olive oil they want to buy. </li></ul>XV. Epilogue: What Happened to Jonathan West?
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