Beavers Foxes Dolphins Owls

I realise it is a touch self-indulgent to have so many sport related sales wisdom posts, but it is getting close to crimble. And England were truly magnificent in India.

Here’s the opening para of one recent suitably satisfying cricketing article.

In psychological profiling, the England players are divided into four animal categories.

Beavers – those who like structure and a rigorous daily routine, Foxes – independent, fearless types, Dolphins – sensitive, empathetic souls who like constant reassurance and Owls – who tend to be intense, deliberate and very analytical.

Jonathan Trott would be a beaver, Alastair Cook is a fox and Matt Prior a dolphin. Kevin Pietersen would like to be a fox but is actually a dolphin.

Psychological profiling. Big company HR departments love this stuff.

My curiosity piqued, I surfed to find a consensus that these are well-known;

Beaver – Gold/Responsible/Guardian
Fox – Orange/Adventurous/Artisan
Dolphin – Blue/Harmonious/Idealist
Owl – Green/Curious/Rational

Now, I’m no shrink. I remember studying Belbin and thinking it was useful. This stuff should really only be used by those in the know. Yet there is a fascinating idea inside here.

A few years ago, my (inept and dismissive) mobile phone company introduced four types of contract. They were named after animals. And each had its own ‘personality’. In such a way that they were all positive traits, yet different, so as to ensure that not everyone would stampede towards being the most obviously attractive and aspirational one.

This could be adapted to describe your product’s variants. Or your customer buying ‘pressure’. Or something else relevant entirely. And maybe even linked also with a colour for a secondary slant.

It is all a bit marketingy, I know. But imagine you are with your ‘champion’, deep within clientside. You try and isolate the emotions attached to two or three key elements.

Riff together. Come up with animals to match. It’d be a bit of fun if nothing else. But it could just set you apart when you need to run through that crucial slide deck to explain everything in a nutshell to bigwigs that don’t know you from Adam late in the day. And what could be easier than showing a big image of a cute animal or two and using it as a launch pad to put tricky concepts across in simple English? They might actually remember your presentation…

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