• Austin Brailey

Michelin Stars: The Marketing Of A Tyre Company

Dave Trott's ‘Predatory Thinking: How To Out-think The Competition’ provides more brilliant stories to make you think.

Check out my posts on his other books: Creative Blindness and One+One=Three.

Here are five stories from 'Predatory Thinking' that are now ingrained in my head...

Michelin Stars

The most influential indicator of a restaurant’s quality comes from the marketing of a tyre company.

Michelin wanted to sell more tyres and needed drivers to wear down the ones they had, so they launched the Michelin Guide, showing people what was worth travelling to around France.

The Michelin Guide assumed a life of its own and consumers began looking to it as a guide of a restaurant’s quality. This meant chefs fought to get into it and displayed their stars.

A great piece of marketing became a whole new business!

Great Writing

For Trott, the best writing takes complicated things and makes them simple.

For example; the Japanese discovered that travelling through greater mass slowed neutrinos (subatomic particles) down. When asked to describe why the discovery mattered, a scientist said:

"The entire universe consists of neutrinos. Many, many more times than that which we consider solid matter. They pass through us, and our world, as if it weren’t here. And, because they're everywhere, their mass is a far, far greater physical presence than ours.”

Still complicated. So he was asked, “Why should we care?” The scientist paused and said:

“It means we are the ghosts in someone else’s universe".

Making complicated things simple is great writing.

Having Some Skin In The Game

It is El Al Israel Airlines policy that the person responsible for security checking passengers’ luggage has to fly on the plane.

“The person who inspects the passengers’ luggage for bombs has to bet their life on how well they do their job,” writes Trott.

It’s “the reason why El Al has a reputation as the safest airline to fly with if you’re worried about terrorist bombs.”

Trott isn't saying everything should be treated as life or death, only that those with "some skin in the game" are likely to act very different to those that don't.

Involved Vs Committed

In 1940, Britain stood alone against Germany and needed America's help. But “...the Americans saw Britain as weak and about to crumble. Some people in Britain even wanted to make peace with the Germans.”

Britain’s commitment was in question, and so the USA wouldn’t act.

When France surrendered, Churchill couldn’t allow their powerful battleships to fall into German hands. He gave the French three options: sail with Britain against Germany, take the ships to a neutral port and wait out the war, or scuttle (deliberate sink) their fleet.

The French said they would do none of those things. So, The Royal Navy sank the fleet.

It was apparent to everyone that Britain was committed. There was no going back. America finally decided to give much needed aid.

Incubators Made From Car Parts

A million premature babies die each year in the Third World because they don’t have working incubators.

The main problem is no one knows how to fix them when they go wrong. 98% that break down, never get repaired.

In rural communities, there is little technology. But there is one thing that almost every community does have; a vehicle of some sort.

Because those vehicles are precious, they're looked after and communities know how to repair them.

The answer was not easy but it was obvious: design an incubator made from car parts.

That’s what Timothy Prestero and his teams of volunteers at Design That Matters did.

Right now, that car-parts incubator is saving little babies’ lives.

BUY: Dave Trott's ‘Predatory Thinking: How To Out-think The Competition’.

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