Image courtesy of Lufitoom

I was taking afternoon tea with the man-legend Russell Davies this week and amongst many random things we chatted about was the idea of Unspecial. I suppose at its heart Unspecial is about how similar we all are. While we all have our idiosyncrasies, we aren’t that special or unique as human beings, we like being part of the herd. Segment away you direct marketers but the truth is that more unites us than divides us. That’s why we have been able to take the Food Lover strategy authored in the UK for Lurpak and take it right round the globe – it turns out that while the food people love is culturally distinct a love of good food is not. People are Unspecial and so are you.

And I want to try and apply this idea to planning – perhaps we might call it Unspecial Planning.


I am a fan of real insight, the revelations derived from real I life not research. And the truth is that the very best place to start in deriving real insight is yourself – so called planning from within. Your forensic understanding of your own behaviour and attitudes is your best first step in understanding how to change that behaviour and those attitudes.
This technique involves starting every project not with a vast data trawl or a few groups but with a degree of self-examination. Its one of the reasons that I have long held that anxiety maketh the planner. It takes a dose of anxiety and introspection in order to really unpick why you do the things you do. By way of example I used this technique on Visa where the aim is to replace cash for small and medium value payments across Europe. I simply worried out why I paid for stuff by card rather than cash and how I feel when paying by card is not accepted or unacceptable. Forget convenience, speed or any of that rational stuff, the reason I use my card is to save my cash. And it turns out that I’m not so special.
Unspecial planning therefore is an approach about looking within yourself to find real behavioural or attitudinal insight and then figuring out exactly how Unspecial you are. That’s when research is brilliant, to check out your level of specialness. If you turn out to be rather special it probably best to dump that sparkling new strategy you are about to unleash on a waiting world. However, if you happen to be a deeply unspecial human being then you may just have hit pay dirt

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