3. SHELF it · Book Reviews · Marketing · Novel Concepts and Interesting Research

BR 86: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: Classic Gladwell – very journalistic with a few pretty powerful stories and example. I am not entirely sure if the book is entirely accurate but it does succeed in communicating a few key learnings.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. Snap judgments are innate. We make them about everything. The point of differentiation between a snap judgment we make about strawberry flavored ice cream with that of an ‘expert’ is that we will never be able to explain (correctly) as to how we arrived at that judgment. When you become an expert in a field, you hone your gut in a way that a novice cannot match. (understandably)

The application is apparent when we ask for customer feedback. Asking a customer whether they like a food item on display may work well but asking them to rationalize why would probably take us down an unwanted path.

2. The product is the packaging. I was pretty amazed by some of the examples here.

One that comes to mind is – When 7UP was sold in bottles with a yellowish shade, they had customers complaining that there was too much lime – even if there was no change in the drink!

That explains why the famous Pepsi taste challenge failed because drinking Coke out of a Coke can means something entirely different to drinking Coke out of a plastic un-labelled glass.

3. Going back to the fact that snap judgments are innate. It reminded me of a question a friend of mine posed – We are all innately discriminatory (color, race etc). How do we stop those judgments from taking control of us the moment we see a symptom? That one’s just ‘food for thought’.

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