It's string. That goes between your teeth.

I would have never thought in a hundred years that floss could be improved upon. It's just string, after all. Then I used Glide. This floss was unlike anything that I had ever used.

Perhaps it's odd that I'm so intrigued by floss, but for a guy who's about to pursue a career in brand and product management, this is about as good as it gets. To me, Glide is a prime example of someone taking a boring, ordinary item, and making it extra-ordinary. Something worth talking about. And I think the name fits the brand perfectly.

What else can be improved upon? Toilet paper? Disposable razors? Spaghetti sauce packaging?

I think everything has room for improvement. Upgrading floss demonstrates that.

You're the Expert

Sometimes the first thing a client says to me at work is (something to the effect of) "I don't really know what I'm doing, but..." Anytime I hear this, I get excited. To me, this is a concession that means "I'm talking to you because you're the expert. I will believe whatever you tell me, as long as you say it with confidence." As a result, I feel like I am in control.

The confidence that comes from this opportunity can be very empowering. Closing a sale is a lot easier when your customer has already admitted that you know more than they do.

For me, the tricky part is having this type of confidence on every interaction. I think the key is to remember that whether your (potential) customer says it or not, they are coming to you because you are the expert.

Explanatory Slings

I thought this was clever. It's a sling that shows what happened so that you don't have to explain it over and over again. I think this exemplifies that it's the idea that counts, not the technology.

Owning Up

Though I have not closely followed everything that has been going on with Toyota, my casual observance of their reaction to the problems and recalls has left me with a good impression. The Toyota ads of the past few weeks have not been directed towards selling cars. Rather, the company is (rightly) owning up to the mistakes they have made and they appear to be genuinely and sincerely focused, for the time being, on regaining consumer trust.

In 1982, several people died after taking Tylenol that someone had laced with cyanide. Though Johnson & Johnson (the manufacturer) was not directly at fault, they owned up and did everything they could to make it right. The company tried to find the culprit, both internally and by working with police. More importantly, however, they changed the way they did business and introduced tamper-proof and tamper-evident packaging. As a result, the entire industry changed and millions of people are safer because of it.

I believe that with the tragedies that has occurred with Toyota's braking and steering malfunctions, there is a great opportunity for both Toyota and the whimpering auto industry as a whole. The first step is owning up, which they seem to be doing. In the end, however, the true test will be whether Toyota can effect a change in the way they do business; a change that makes people safer in the future. If they can do this they will, like Johnson & Johnson, regain our trust and remain a successful company for many years to come.