Daily Lab: Brilliantly irrelevant

Simpler, not smarter.

Daily Lab: Brilliantly irrelevant


  • Avoid being brilliantly irrelevant by focusing on actual customer wants
  • Be useful and helpful instead of making things more complicated
  • Value comes from being relevant, not merely intelligent

Why read the rest:

  • Dive deeper into industry expertise on why relevance and simplicity beat brilliance in business

Famous 20th century advertiser David Ogilvy once warned against “skidding about on what my brother Francis called ‘the slippery surface of irrelevant brilliance.’”

It’s an easy thing to do, when you own a business and you care a lot about it, and the problem you’re solving.

You might end up obsessing over being “the best,” even if the customer wants something else—or something more.

You might demand to be the cheapest, even if the customer needs more value—or is suspicious of a too-good deal.

You may even strive to be the smartest—even if your prospects have no idea what you’re talking about.

Instead, as Ton Dobbe wrote in The Remarkable Effect, “The more relevant you appear in the eyes of your ideal customer, the bigger your success.”

It’s not about being brilliant, it’s about being useful. Helpful.

It’s about demonstrating our value, not our intelligence.

Like David A. Fields wrote in The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients, “Executives are far more likely to buy a solution they understand than one that seems mystifyingly complex, difficult to grasp or shrouded in mystery.”

Instead, he writes, “they intuitively adopt Occam’s razor: the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.”

We don’t get clients by making things more complicated.

We earn their confidence by making things simpler.

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