The one click rule

A common failing of young brands is trying to be too good.

Too healthy, too high performance, too ethical, too whatever.

Now this might add up to an objectively splendid product, but splendid products aren’t necessarily what sell. The market doesn’t value “the best”. It values “easy to buy”. It values “familiar”.

Push too far away from the norm and you lose that familiarity. You make a product which, whilst on paper may be amazing, isn’t “easy to buy”.

The perfect product is one which is markedly improved on one metric but keeps everything else the same in order to remain familiar.

This is the one click rule.

Say you want to create a better ketchup. Some options for this may include:

Removing sugar
Sustainable packaging
Different coloured tomato
Adding functionality (e.g. protein)
Using “wonky” tomatoes

The specifics don’t matter, but that will do for example.

That list represents “five clicks”; five ways to deviate from the market norm. It would be easy to think that the “ultimate ketchup” would do all of those things – and maybe it would. But it would be such a freakish Frankenstein’s monster of a ketchup that only the most adventurous would buy. It would also be pretty expensive.

Take just one of those clicks however – one click on from the norm – and you have a clean, friendly, familiar, but compelling product.

Now that’s a highly simplified application of the idea, but you get the point. There is a limit to how far you can drag people form the norm if you want to make a change in a category. There’s a limit to what they’ll tolerate, and what you can communicate.

It’s worth remembering that norms are norms because people like them, and because they work. Every time you mess with one, you are taking a risk – mess with many, and the risks compound, until you face a vanishingly small chance of the idea working.

So let familiarity and comfort be your watchwords – and the one click rule be your guide.

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