Monday, January 02, 2006

Fish versus people.

On the way back from the UK, my wife, daughter and me spent a couple of days in Chicago.

We did the tourist thing and took our toddler to the Shedd Aquarium. Damn, that's a lot of fish. Big fish, little fish, in-between fish. Sharks. Frogs. Ugly fish and pretty fish. Amazing to think that all these specimens are inhabiting our planet's waters.

As I inched around the place – toddler speed, you see – I realized, however, that one creature was more popular than all the others.

Human beings.

Yes, every time there was a human swimming in a tank with a scrub brush or standing behind glass handling, say, a sting ray, the crowd loved it. And yet, I'm quite sure that when the creators of the aquarium were originally deciding which creatures to include or how to show them, they never imagined that a dude in a scuba suit would draw the biggest crowds.

There's a lesson in there for anyone trying to develop a new brand. Be prepared to zig when you thought you should zag – nothing goes quite as neatly as planned. The smart people bob and weave and find the best path forward.


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