Ewe must be joking? – Add some Apple thinking to your agency’s efforts

I attended a seminar a couple of years back which featured Steve Wozniak , the co-founder and original brains behind Apple.

He came across genuine, down to earth, and incredibly clever but I was bored by the end of his talk – so much so that I vividly recall wondering why Gangsta rappers don’t attract stalkers. Maybe something to do with packing Uzis and stuff like that.

Anyways, the wizard of Woz is a genius despite not being a charismatic speaker (didn’t need to be really as his sidekick at Apple was). One thing he did say has stuck deeply in my mind.

“If you want to create conventional minds give them a conventional education.”

When Wozniak and his more business focussed partner Steve Jobs set up Apple they defied conventions.

Their products were better, marketed superbly and were seen as being ground breaking by customers who were drawn to them like seagulls to a busy beachside cafe.

My daughter started school last Monday. She tells me she’s been told to colour her pictures in between the lines. Boll#cks to that.

Colouring in between the lines is the first step on the road to conventional  thinking and as discussed cultivating conventional minds might get jobs done but I’m pretty sure it ain’t gonna come up with world changing ideas that move society forward.

I see conventional thinking every day with my work alongside estate agents, I’m guilty of it sometimes.

Doing things just the way they’ve always been done and expecting different results is mental.

But I also see agents doing things differently, slightly unconventionally and doing really well because of it.

My most successful client with a string of offices open seven days a week – a move they introduced more than 20 years. At the time it was unconventional. Back then no one opened in their area past 2pm on Saturday, and often closed for half day on Wednesdays.

An agent I spoke with this week has sent his team on basic sign language courses to help communicate better with deaf or hard of hearing clients.

When he told me I thought wow that is different and grabs the attention. Plus it racks up some decent PR points for his agency.

But perhaps the most recent evidence of how breaking convention can lead to agency success is Ewe Move.

I’m not talking about its business model either.

For me from a PR and marketing perspective it’s a BRILLIANT example of going against convention.

For the record I don’t or never have worked alongside Ewe Move although from the outside looking in I bet it’s a great craic.

What Ewe Move have done differently is communicate their brand using sheep, woolly puns, lamb photos and a total focus on attracting franchisees using a lot of automated and tech savvy marketing.

They were brave enough to invest heavily in this ‘wacky’ branding and marketing approach.

Looks like there’s been a good ROI on that as last week they were bought by Martin & Co for a baaarilliant £15m!!

Some of the industry forums have mocked the deal. The owners of Ewe Move probably haven’t noticed, too busy being different and unconventional for caring about the utterings of people who are obviously not that busy.

Finally another great example of breaking an industry’s conventional approach to things is Paddy Power bookies.

Good luck and here’s to your next instruction.


PS: Off to a tour of the Innocent smoothie HQ today. Anything I learn I’ll share next week.




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