Monday, August 3, 2009

Using Monty Python to enhance the business of American business...

Todd Mintz has a great story in Focus, a trade publication for business execs on the business lessons we can learn today from taking a look back at Monty Python.

The men of Monty Python were brilliant satirists, but who knew their business acumen could be applied today when developing branding, marketing, sales and corporate strategies?

Some lessons include:

On branding:

"Well, before he went he left a note with the company, the effect of which was how disappointed he was with your work and, in particular, why you had changed the name from Conquistador Instant Coffee to Conquistador Instant Leprosy. Why, Frog?"

In the quest to be new and innovative, brand managers sometimes feel the need to tinker with success (think “New Coke”). Their ego gets the better of their judgment and they push forth ideas they think are creative but are unsuccessful in the marketplace. The end result is that revenue tanks. If brand is strong, don’t mess with it; just adjust the peripherals in order to increase sales and industry share.

On sales:

"Ah well, this is your free dead Indian, as advertised.
-I didn't see that in the adverts
-No, it's in the very small print, you see, sir, so as not to affect the sales."

A good way to irritate customers is to offer “disagreeable” terms and conditions that they don’t learn about until their transactions have already been completed. Sure, the customer might have “consented” and the vendor might end up collecting the additional revenue. However, this same customer will bombard customer service with angry calls, tell all of his or her friends about your company's poor policies and post hate messages on the Internet. It’s always more cost effective to generate repeat business from existing customers than acquire new customers, so companies should treat their patrons well.

On the new millennial career path:

“I didn't want to be a barber anyway. I wanted to be a lumberjack.”

Many successful people have had rough starts to their careers. They’ve switched jobs multiple times until they found their calling — and once that happened, they excelled. However, if you stick to a career path that you don’t like, you will ultimately have incredible personal and professional dissatisfaction. Do what you’re passionate about, and you should be able to figure out how to make a living from it.

Mintz lists 20 lessons in all we can learn from the Monty Python crew - for more on applying the wisdom of Monty Python to modern American business, click here.

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