Penta Digital, Inc. July 16, 2008


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News From
John McAuley
Idea of
the Week





You: the One and Only
A Message From John McAuley
The Way I See It

A Not So Trivial Pursuit

In 1979, two friends – Scott Abbott and Chris Haney – sat down to enjoy a game of Scrabble. As they unpacked the board, they discovered that some of the pieces were missing. Rather than look for another game to play, they decided they should try creating a board game of their own. Two years later, the duo introduced the first prototype of what would become Trivial Pursuit.

At the time they started working on Trivial Pursuit, neither Abbott nor Haney had any experience creating games. Abbott was a sports editor for the Canadian Press in Montreal, and Haney was a photo editor for the Montreal Gazette.

The game itself met initially with a tepid response. Abbott, Haney, and their business partners – Chris's brother, John Haney, and friend, Ed Werner – sank just about everything they had into its development. The quartet pushed hard to get it released and saw their dreams come true in 1983, when sales in both Canada and the United States topped the million mark. The following year proved even more successful, as Trivial Pursuit soon became a household name.

At the time, Trivial Pursuit was viewed as an overnight success. In truth that “night” had been long, hard, and fraught with anxiety. Here's the way I see it: Overnight successes seldom happen overnight. They typically take time and involve a fair amount of sacrifice, sweat, hard work, and tears.

At Penta Digital, we understand the work you've put into building your company or career, and we realize it certainly has been no trivial pursuit. So whether you're still struggling through the overnight – or enjoying the light of the dawning day – give us a call. We want to help you look good on paper.


John McAuley
Idea of the Week
Creating a Category of One

Building the perfect brand centers on finding those precious elements that truly separate your business from the competition. You need to be able to not only communicate what it is that you do and the service or product that you provide, but why your customers should choose you over every other option available to them. The word "Only" is hugely important in the world of marketing for that very reason - it helps you accomplish both of those goals at the same time.

The Power of "Only"

Fill in the blanks in the following sentence:

"Only [your brand] delivers [relevant benefit that nobody else provides in quite the same way you do] to [your target audience]."

Once that sentence is complete, you'll notice two very important things. First, that you've arrived at the perfect framework through which to build your brand for the best results. Everything that you do in marketing should center around this one simple and focused idea, that nobody does what you do in quite the same way that you do it.

Secondly, you now have a beautifully simple way to communicate what it is that only your brand brings to the table for the customers that you're trying to reach. You've just built a brand and successfully created an important category where you stand alone from everyone else all at the same time.

The Success of "Only" and Creating a Category of One

To get an idea of this in motion, consider the example of Volvo. To fill in the previous sentence with information related to that brand, you might say that,

That simple, brand promise is one of the many reasons why Volvo is one of the most successful businesses in its industry today. Not only is it both understandable and believable, but it's also unique and does an excellent job of differentiating Volvo from the rest of the pack. It's immediately compelling in that it focuses on the natural concerns of parents, and is admirable because it's making a promise regarding the safety of children.

In one simple sentence, Volvo has told you everything you need to know about who they are, what they do, why they do it, and why you want them to be a part of your life. Now you need to do it, as well.

By creating a category of one for your business, you not only have the framework through which to craft your brand, you also have the perfect form for that message to ultimately take as it reaches the masses. Remember, you know that only your brand delivers one or more particular benefits to your target audience - it's a large part of why you got into the business in the first place. Now, it's time for your customer to know this, too. That is where the word "Only" will come in handy again and again.



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