Wally Olins, a tribute

Yesterday I shared a lively interview with Michael Wolff only to discover a few hours after I posted it that Wally Olins, the other half of legendary Wolff Ollins, had died. Creative Review has a lovely tribute.

Wally Olins, co-founder of Wolff Olins and chairman of Saffron Brand Consultants, has died aged 83. CR editor Patrick Burgoyne pays tribute

The Financial Times once described Wally Olins as "the world's leading practitioner of branding and identity" and it's hard to disagree with that assessment. Certainly Wally didn't as, in typical style, he placed it in a prominent position on his website.

 

Earlier this year Michael Wolff and Wally Olins were reunited at the Kyoorius Designyatra in India, which was chaired by Creative Review's editor Patrick Burgoyne. In this first video, Pat asks the influential pair what drove them mad about the other.

What does, "it's too expensive," mean?

Seth Godin on the value, cost and affordability of your product:

Often, it actually means, "it's not worth it." This is a totally different analysis, of course. Lots of things aren't worth it, at least to you, right now. I think it's safe to assume that when you hear a potential customer say, "it's too expensive," what you're really hearing is something quite specific. A $400 bottle of water is too expensive to just about everyone, even to people with more than $500 in the bank. They have the cash, but they sure don't want to spend it, not on something they think is worth less than it costs.

Not everyone will value your offering the same, so if you wait for no one to say, "it's too expensive" before you go to market, you will never go to market. The challenge isn't in pleasing everyone, it's in finding the few who see the value (and thus the bargain) in what's on offer.

 

Creating a Culture of Quality

Ashwin Srinivasan, managing director, and Bryan Kurey, senior director at CEB, share the results of a study on quality and working with a bias towards it in Harvard Business Review:

For two years CEB has conducted research exploring how companies can create a culture in which employees “live” quality in all their actions—where they are passionate about quality as a personal value rather than simply obeying an edict from on high. We define a “true culture of quality” as an environment in which employees not only follow quality guidelines but also consistently see others taking quality-focused actions, hear others talking about quality, and feel quality all around them.

We interviewed the quality function leaders at more than 60 multinational corporations, conducted an extensive review of academic and practitioner research, and surveyed more than 850 employees in a range of functions and industries and at all levels of seniority. Some of what we learned surprised us. Most notably, many of the traditional strategies used to increase quality—monetary incentives, training, and sharing of best practices, for instance—have little effect. Instead, we found, companies that take a grassroots, peer-driven approach develop a culture of quality, resulting in employees who make fewer mistakes—and the companies spend far less time and money correcting mistakes.

The whole article reminds me of something Luke Sullivan shared several years ago on his blog concerning making things with subliminal quality built-in


Parsing Is Such Sweet Sorrow: Shakespeare through the lens of statistics

Nate Silver re-launches a vastly expanded FiveThirtyEight and amongst the new content we find a gloriously nerdy essay by Emma Pierson that begins with: 

More than 400 years after Shakespeare wrote it, we can now say that “Romeo and Juliet” has the wrong name. Perhaps the play should be called “Juliet and Her Nurse,” which isn’t nearly as sexy, or “Romeo and Benvolio,” which has a whole different connotation.
I discovered this by writing a computer program to count how many lines each pair of characters in “Romeo and Juliet” spoke to each other, with the expectation that the lovers in the greatest love story of all time would speak more than any other pair. I wanted Romeo and Juliet to end up together — if they couldn’t in the play, at least they could in my analysis — but the math paid no heed to my desires. Juliet speaks more to her nurse than she does to Romeo; Romeo speaks more to Benvolio than he does to Juliet. Romeo gets a larger share of attention from his friends (Benvolio and Mercutio) and even his enemies (Tybalt) than he does from Juliet; Juliet gets a larger share of attention from her nurse and her mother than she does from Romeo. The two appear together in only five scenes out of 25. We all knew that this wasn’t a play predicated on deep interactions between the two protagonists, but still.

From there she goes on to explore all of Shakespeare's lovers and how much, or how little they talked to each other, making an interactive visualisation that brings new perspective to the plays (for example, see how in the comedies there are separate relationships that draw our attention whereas the tragedies have the lovers front and center.)