I am currently reading the delightful book “Ask Iwata” — a collection of stories and insights from Nintendo’s former president (and game developer) Iwata Satoru. Iwata was the mastermind behind the Nintendo Wii, DS and numerous games for the early Nintendo platforms.
The book is chockfull of fun anecdotes and leadership wisdom. One which stood out to me — as it is an interesting way of formulating a core belief of mine — is this:
We made it absolutely clear that our mission was to “shock people, in a good way.” Unless you can shock people, you’ll never gain new customers.
At the beginning of 2013 I wrote about a similar idea on this blog: “Polarize on Purpose”. You have to stand out — especially in today’s world of overstimulation, over-saturation and relative abundance. To stand out, you literally need to take a stand — you must be known for something. Which, also means, that you will be the product or service of choice for some, but not everyone. And you need to be okay with that.
The best companies do what Iwata said: They shock people, in a good way. As that is the best way to truly stand for something new, unique, and fresh.