Due or Despite?

Due or Despite?

By: Berlin Packaging Specialist
Date: October 28, 2019

You’ve probably heard the old adage that “success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan”. As funny as this is statement may be, it raises a serious question about how we attribute success. When looking at a successful business or new product launch, it can be difficult to understand what aspects were key in driving that success. Tabulating this is particularly difficult within the “soft science” spheres of marketing and design.

Every new product launch has many success criteria that are measurable, including operational costs, profit margins, etc. But when many of these engines are working well, how do we know which of the ingredients are actually failing, only to be propped up by success in other areas? The world is full of successful companies with terrible logos or poor marketing campaigns. Many consumer electronics products have maddening interface design and button configurations. Just think of how long it took you to program that clock on your nice new coffee maker, or assemble that best-in-class baby crib. It’s obvious that even the well-selling products can be improved, and a lack of attention to these details allows room for other products to jump ahead.

Many companies cycle through CEOs, not to mention brand managers, each time their company bobs up and down during turbulent times. While many decisions are plainly wrong in hindsight and measurable in their failure, sometimes these failures may be driven by a lack of consideration to important variables. Perhaps the one thing holding your company back is outside of the tabs on your spreadsheet, and rather in one of the “soft” areas such as design, service, or customer satisfaction.

The CEO of the highly successful Levy Restaurant company Andy Lansing recently said “We know we can’t be 100% better than our competition, but we can be 1% better in 100 different areas”. This statement acknowledges the sort of thin and wide-spread success required to continually succeed. Each variable must be studied and judged according to its own success criteria, with critical attention given to a wide variety of influences so that the success can indeed be enjoyed by many fathers, without the dead-beat dads.