Aug 16, 2011

Speed Sells, But Results Take Time

No doubt about it, speed sells. We live in a time-starved, productivity obsessed world. Every second counts, and saving your clients time is a fantastic value proposition.

Advertisers have been playing to consumers need for speed for decades. Just look at some of the classic brand slogans:

  • “30 minutes or it’s free” -Domino’s Pizza
  • “The quicker picker-upper ” -Bounty
  • “For fast, fast, fast relief” -Anacin

One of my favorite speed slogans is FedEx’s, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” It’s brought to life in their classic 1981 commercial with John Moschitta, the fast-talking man.

The final voice over does a good job summing up our relationship with speed. “In this fast moving, high pressure, get it done yesterday world, aren’t you glad that there is one company that can keep up with it all?”

Speed is sizzle

Here’s the dichotomy. Even though speed sells, results take time.

The Atkins Diet claims you can “Lose up 15 pounds in 2 weeks.” Why bother changing your eating and exercise habits with a service like that? Losing more than a pound a day for two weeks sounds very appealing, but it’s hardly sustainable. True weight loss requires lifestyle changes otherwise you’ll find yourself yo-yoing between weight loss and weight gain.

Even though results take time and investment, many still hope to short circuit the process and find an easier way. It’s instinctual.

Results are substance

Dr. Anders Ericsson demonstrated it requires 10,000 hours of conscientious practice to become an expert. The notion of the 10,000-Hour Rule was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers.

Ericsson studied classical violinists at the Berlin Acadamy of Music. He discovered that virtuoso violinists were not born that way. They worked their tails off, and practiced 2 to 3 hours a day for 10 years to master their skills. By age 20 the virtuosos had acquired 10,000 hours of practice.

The accomplishments of the virtuosos cannot be short circuited with speed. There is no substitute for hard work and practice. The students in Ericsson’s study who practiced only a few times per week did not become virtuosos. They became music teachers!

It’s a brand choice

Time is a commodity we could all use a little more of. Linking your brand to saving time and increasing speed makes a lot of sense. For example, FedEx is rated in the Top 100 Most Valuable Brands by Brandz with a brand value over $11 billion.

But before you link your brand to speed, determine what your products and services really deliver. Are you helping your customers change, or are you helping them manage and save time? Both are perfectly fine. The only challenge is you can’t do both.

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