Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pick Any Two: Daniel Newman's Thoughts

A few weeks ago, I wrote about trust which featured an interview with the awesome Dan Newman, CEO of UnitedVisual.  Today, I'd like to share with you another of the questions asked of him.

As you'll soon see, I deliberately didn't edit out the guys who randomly walk through as Dan is trying to answer.  This is for two reasons.  One, this is kind of in keeping with our "on the go" and "spur of the moment" type of vibe we like to have with how I write and also with our 678 Partners vlogs.  As to the second reason, I'll get to that in a bit.  In the mean and in between, please watch...

I'd like to highlight something that Dan brought up which is critical.  Interestingly for us, though we didn't direct him, he went straight to pricing.  As he says, price is not the issue.  Even in this economy, people will not set aside the important intangible elements like trust as they decide how and why to do business with one another.

To borrow from Talking Heads, it's "same as it ever was" in distressed economic environments.  No matter how bad it may seem, pricing still does not supplant how important it is for the customer to feel that the vendor is providing the most appropriate solution for the stated need.  In other words, trust always matters.


We couldn't agree more when Dan explained it nicely in his Price-Quality-Service triangle.  When he suggests "pick any two" it's precisely because price is never the single decisive issue for someone when making a purchase decision.  Though it may contribute in some instances, the point is that there are intangibles that have a hand in selection: anticipated level of quality or the anticipated level of service.

Let's bring this to real life.  All of us have a "gut feel" as we evaluate items for purchase based on our own Price-Quality-Service continuum.  I am picky about gas station brands and consequently pay more at the pump even though it's up to $5/gallon here.  I have weakness for certain brands of clothing as Amir does for his favorite watches.  On the other hand, I have negative hang up about buying private label grocery.  I don't lose sleep over store brand peanuts.

In economics, this is very simply called price elasticity.  And, we know that there are many factors that play into elasticity like budget and income among others.  While I'll never admit to being an awesome economics student, I always felt like much more time and care was spent on the tangibles of elasticity rather than its intangibles.  This conversation with Dan brought that home for me even more.  The intangibles do matter and we need to spend more time caring for them.

Final Thought

I'd like to go back to why I kept the two guys in the video.  The second reason why I kept them in is because it was striking to me how unscripted Dan's answer was.  Despite the interruptions, he quickly gave us a succinct direct answer which showed that this idea of trust and how trust is granted live with him in his daily personal AND business life.  Both his idea of trust and its granting are in his DNA and manifested in his view of Price-Quality-Service.

Do you have a point of view on Dan's Price-Quality-Service triangle?  Please comment below and, if you've liked this post, please share with others.

Parissa Behnia
Idea Chef

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