Some time back, I attended the SCORE/OPEN sessions at the SBA office in lower Manhattan. This is one of several seminars sponsored by SCORE and OPEN from American Express held across the United States. These sessions allow small business owners free one on one counseling with retire executives, walking away with strategic useful advice for their business. To learn more, check with your local SBA and SCORE office to find out the schedule of the nearest one to you — or visit their website at SCORE.
For my session, Andy Cohen, a former advertising executive and adjunct professor at New York University, addressed the audience in definitely one of the best 45 minute presentations I have ever seen. Using magic tricks to help illustrate his points, Cohen spoke about how our assumptions affect our decisions “because we treat our assumptions as truths, and misdirect ourselves as a result.” Because of competition, social media, and the increased pressure to “do more with less”, we use our assumptions as a truth behind a decision which can be wrong. He raises the Coke/New Coke fiasco from the 1980s as an example, in which leaders assumed that the preference for taste was more important than the brand. This assumption, says Cohen, led to the change in formula (corrected with the return of old Coke when the public protested).
Andy’s comments connected with me and woke up my marketing buddha! I have long considered the elements of his message, but never in the consistent and coherent manner that he presented. And it was cool to see magic (His trick using an audience member and a cellphone call to said member’s sister was a nice touch). He certainly read the book Made To Stick (by Chip and Dan Heath) because the presentation was indeed unexpected and had stickiness!