When Binary Choices Are So Poles Apart


Here’s a winning Sales angle sparked from England’s current National Apprenticeship Week. One ‘advertising, creative and digital media talent’ initiative joins the effort with a delightful play on established brain types.

You probably know the vibe. Left-brainers are analytical process-driven data lovers. Right-brainers are inventive care-free artists.

Although it seems such stereotype myths are readily debunked.

And it is upon this that the campaign builds.

They use the traditional poles of Linear and Lateral thinking. Then they add a third. Diagonal.

Each gets a snappy label too; plan, create & do.

There can often be a wonderful way to deploy binary camps on a bid to your advantage.

The obvious is to put options or people into one of two camps. In a way that frames the one you prefer more favourably.

I always begrudgingly admired the evil Lenin for how he coined the names of factions. The bolshevik was an adaptation of the word for majority, his enemy the menshevik, so nicknamed from the term for minority. The inference being you wanted to be with the larger party who clearly held sway.

(Michael White enjoyably re-tells this and adds the disparaging sobriquet late-seventeenth century origins warring emergent English parties hurled at each other. Hinting at how nicknames that stick can be a sales-clincher, if indeed fraught with danger as a modern-day tactic.)

I also even blogged on a Black or White example six years ago.

So, there’s the Good or the Bad.

But what of the Ugly?

In many cases morphing a pair into a trio can have big impact.

I think to the nauseous Blair winning electoral landslide with his “third way”.

On more pleasant ground, there’s my blog from a fitting room extolling the maybe option last year.

I’m further reminded how it might be best to be neither extrovert nor introvert, but ambivert.

Then from the business world, it was the strategic genius Porter that warned against diluting your absolute Differentiation or Cost Leadership drive, else you’d fail from being ‘stuck-in-the-middle’.

And one of my favourites imagines a whole new glorious landscape away from the poles of Innovation and Imitation, coined Appropriation. Lawrence Lessig and general remixers of the world unite and all hail the second-movers.

Often it is not a binary opinion that seems the ideal. Some measure of a more a new and neat conflation of the polar pair emerges as desired. If you can sense this, then you can own the blend.

it can be a great and distinctive way of framing how to view an industry, prospect or personnel future.

And when you freshly suggest it first, you are well and truly on the upward diagonal line to a signature.

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