Make Sure You Zig When Others Zag (The Nintendo Wii)

Posted on by in Branding/Differentiation, Business, Creativity/Innovation, Leadership, Planning, Remarkability, Strategy

At it’s core, remarkability is all about differentiation. It’s not about being the biggest or most famous or most expensive. Nor is remarkability about perfection. Instead, it’s about doing something in such a way that the recipient of that action is moved to positively remark to others about the experience they had with you (or your product or service). A perfect example of this would be the Nintendo Wii.

Before last Christmas, almost all of the media attention was on the release of the Sony Playstation 3, with it’s incredible graphics and comparable price tag of $599. In second place was the Microsoft Xbox at $399 (and again with cool graphics). And then there was the somewhat retro, but completely different video experience, the Nintendo Wii, which has completely taken over the market–at a price point of just $250.

But what really made the Wii so successful was that it wasn’t attempting to be like the other two. It wasn’t attempting to design a new game for hard core gamers. Instead, they decided to create a game for non-gamers. Instead of focusing on the same customer base as the PS3 and Xbox, they went after people who didn’t want to use a traditional video controller. And moreover, it went after people who were decidedly older. For example, 70 percent of their TV budget focused on the 25-49 year old market and they even went as far as taking out ads in AARP.

In addition, by using older and cheaper graphics components and a motion sensitive device (two completely different approaches than the PS3 and Xbox) , they’ve created the opportunity to not only create games where seniors at senior centers can virtually bowl or boomers at neighborhood parties can virtually throw a football or play double’s tennis, they’ve also created a gaming machine that actually makes money ($50 per machine vs. their competitors who lose money on every machine they sell–even though they sell at a higher price point).

Or to put it another way, by choosing to zig while everyone else was zagging, the executives at Nintendo have created a completely different gaming experience which has not only won over the market, it’s also reversed a 20 year trend of declining sales for the company (plus it actually makes money–a truly novel concept :-).

So as you look at your company or organization, how are you zigging while everyone else is zagging? How are you choosing to be different? Is that difference significant enough that your potential customers know it? And is it enough to encourage them to part with their hard earned cash (or hearts or time or energy, etc)?

Remember, if you want to be remarkable, you’ve got to be zigging while others are zagging!

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