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Embed Your Essential Profit-Expanding Messages into Your Offerings

Jan 29, 2008
Wise designers of offerings will go to great lengths to make it hard for people to do the wrong thing. Most vehicles with automatic transmissions won't start if they are not in Park or Neutral. That design helps avoid having the vehicle take off unexpectedly.

But even the wisest designer can be outfoxed by people who are confused. A crucial piece of a lawn mower that had to be assembled was made in a peculiar shape so that it could only be attached in the correct way. But an impatient assembler ignored the directions and tried to put the piece on in the wrong way.

When that didn't seem to work, the assembler got out his tools and bent the piece to fit the way he wanted to attach it. Fortunately, someone later noticed the error . . . and the impatient assembler, now red faced, re-bent the piece back into some semblance of its correct and peculiar shape and attached the part properly.

While attending events at the home stadium of the New England Patriots football team, many people park in small lots behind businesses that are up to 2 miles from the stadium. Others come by train and have to walk across a large parking area from the station to reach the stadium.

Realizing that people at football games occasionally imbibe an alcoholic beverage or two, the stadium's designers must have wondered how they could keep these people from getting lost after the game and wandering around in roadways where they might be injured or cause automobile accidents.

Many people would have dealt with this situation by having an army of police on hand. But the Patriots play in a small town. You couldn't hope to round up enough police to do this in the way that a metropolitan police force might.

You could also build underground walkways for the entire routes, but that's pretty expensive.

What would you do?

The Patriots hit on a simple solution. All the remote parking sites on the north and the train station are connected by painted lines on the adjacent sidewalks that lead from those sites to the corner of the stadium that's next to the pro shop.

After the game, you go to the pro shop, find your colored line and follow it until you reach your vehicle or train. There's the same system from the south part of the stadium to the off-site parking lots in that direction.

If you are too dazed to find the start of your colored line, there are parking lot attendants everywhere who can easily direct you to your colored line. In a few key places, there are short pedestrian tunnels so the cars can whiz by overhead. In a few other places where people may be tempted to jaywalk, one or two police officers are stationed on large horses so they can quickly intercept people before they make a dangerous mistake.

Rarely do you see anyone walking where they shouldn't be . . . but there are bound to be a few foolish people in any crowd. You could only restrain those few people by assigning personal guards.

How might a similar approach be applied to AIDS prevention? It takes two to pass on an AIDS infection. Providing social and economic incentives to people to communicate their AIDS-infected status could be a big help. In some communities, a few of those who have such infections have chosen to add tattoos on intimate parts of their bodies that indicate that they are infected. Such tattoos help others realize the risk involved in transmitting bodily fluids during sexual relations with these infected people, and also help the infected people find partners who are also infected. So rather than being increasingly isolated from other people, for some this self-identification has brought more closeness.

If it were more socially acceptable to be seen as an infected person, such tattoos or other emblems could be located where they were more visible. That adjustment would also serve as a reminder to uninfected people that perfectly healthy looking people can have AIDS. Seeing such indications could then not only serve as a reminder of what behaviors are helpful and harmful, but could also provide opportunities for couples and families to bring up the subject of how to avoid infection.

This idea of advertising your infection status gets to be a problem, of course, if the use of the tattoo or emblem becomes compulsory. That raises all sorts of legitimate concerns about privacy and individual rights.

If that point isn't clear to you, think about how you would feel if you had any kind of infection (including the flu) and you were required to wear an ugly hat until the infection had passed. You probably wouldn't like that very much, would you?

But if you were honored as being a good and loving person because you wore the ugly hat and the choice was yours, you might wear the hat. Who knows what benefits might follow?

How can you embed your profitable growth message into your offerings?
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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