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Newsletter #989: The “Rethink It” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Tesla, Amazon, and Dollar Shave Club all have something in common: They got everyone’s attention by being unlike everyone else — by being “disruptive” businesses. Whether your business model is completely unique or you’re just doing something to change the way people see your industry, rethinking the status quo makes your business worth talking about.

Here are three ways companies are rethinking the usual:

1. Buying glasses online
2. Making forklifts fun
3. Missing mice posters
4. Check it out: Far Away Perspectives of Famous Places

1. Buying glasses online

People still have a lot of anxiety about buying stuff online. That’s especially true for something like prescription glasses. After all, glasses are a highly personal product you have to try on and get used to before you buy. But Warby Parker, an entirely online eyewear store, lets you test drive five different pairs of glasses for five days before you buy anything. Even better, once you decide on a pair, they’ll donate glasses to someone in need too.

The lesson: Make your customers feel good about trying something new — whether that’s by alleviating their fears or giving them an extra incentive to try it out.

Learn more: Warby Parker

2. Making forklifts fun

What commercials have you seen for a forklift lately? What about an excavator? A telehandler? Do you even know what a telehandler is? If you’ve seen Caterpillar’s latest video, using this equipment to play giant JENGA, you probably do. They showed off the amazing feat of moving and stacking wooden blocks weighing 600 pounds each into a giant JENGA tower. Before this video, the average person probably didn’t care who made forklifts — now they know Caterpillar is the one who pulled off that cool stunt.

The lesson: Construction equipment isn’t known for fun and games. But that’s exactly why everyone’s talking about Caterpillar’s giant JENGA video.

Learn more: YouTube

3. Missing mice posters

Most pest control companies use scare tactics to promote their stuff. They gross you out with all of the possible nasties that could be creeping around your house so you’ll feel like you need their service even more. The problem: No one is going to share a promotion that grosses them out. That’s why we like this campaign by d-CON where they placed small missing posters of mice all over New York City. It’s funny, it’s unique, and it doesn’t make people cringe. That’s much more sharable than the typical rat poison commercial.

The lesson: Making people feel like they need your product isn’t the same as making them want to talk about it.

Learn more: Adweek

4. Check it out: Far Away Perspectives of Famous Places

You might think you know what famous places like the Pyramids of Giza, Stonehenge, and the Taj Mahal look like, but photos from these unusual perspectives might change your mind.

Check it out: Distractify

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