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How to Make Money Forever

I was in Carmel, California last weekend after an absence of over 25 years, and was struck by how much I liked the same simple pleasures of Carmel’s environment – the sight and sound of the waves crashing against the jagged rocks, or the mist of the nighttime fog hitting my face as I sat by a fire enjoying cocktails on a rooftop bar.

Upon my return, I read a front-page article in the LA Times about Disneyland’s It’s a Small World ride.  “It’s a Small World endures the test of time as more rides are ditched for high-tech versions.”  Even though, the ride has long outdated technology and political incorrectness like Arabs on magic carpets and Mexicans with sombreros.  And, a continually repeating theme song that a recent poll ranked the world’s worst “ear worm” (worse than ‘Who Let the Dogs out’). Yet, over 111,000 visitors a week still enjoy the ride making it one of Disneyland’s most popular attractions, even after fifty years.

How does it endure?

According to the article, industry experts and visitors agree that the enduring popularity “hinges on its simplicity and sunny message of peace.”  Like the enjoyment of simple sensory experiences in Carmel, our universal longing and desire for peace does not go out of style and cannot be improved with technology.

Business value propositions can also be timeless and universal.

Here’s one example:

A national furniture company came to me with a vexing problem.  While some of their customers had displayed almost fanatical loyalty – one woman spent over $200,000 in one month solely on this company’s furniture to furnish her home – most retailers reported that the company’s various products were steady sellers, but nothing extraordinary.  How could they capture this woman’s passion for their products and translate that into a tipping point for sales nationwide?

After extensive research into the company’s core value proposition, we realized that both retailers and customers alike said the same thing – when surrounded by the company’s couches, tables, lighting and accessories, on a pure emotional level, they all inexplicably felt something extraordinary – the company’s furniture made them feel good.

The company leveraged the power of feeling good by focusing on selling “environments” of hand-selected groupings of furniture and accessories rather than individual pieces.  That way they could recreate the “feel good” effect of being surrounded by the magic of the company’s creative design.  Virtually overnight, retail sales soared from an average of $150 per square foot for products spread across the entire store to over $400 per square foot for the ‘environments’ of furniture.

Clearly, “feeling good” is a timeless and universal desire.  In the case of the furniture manufacturer, the only thing they needed to do differently was to convince retailers to alter the selling environment for their products to feature and emphasize their products’ core benefit of feeling good.

Wouldn’t it feel good to have a timeless and universal value proposition for your company?

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