Mike Brandt

Selling is for losers


Last year I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at UBX Conference in Munich. Together with this years speakers a booklet will be made — this is my contribution to the booklet.


You and your brand are something extraordinary! Your purpose is serving people’s needs. What a great purpose of a business! At the same time this inspires your employees and people value your brand and feel connected.

Many brands are failing there though. They are not serving people’s needs completely as Uber, Amazon, and Airbnb, for example, do it. These companies spoil people with on-demand service, seamlessness, immediacy, convenience, and an affordable price.

But we shouldn’t blame Uber, Amazon, and Airbnb, but should realize that many of today’s products and services lack a respect for people. Many come from the industrial age where people had to function and had better to adjust. That’s why today is a time of “disruption”. Many in form of startups rebel and protest. Because it’s time, and the possibilities and potential are massively large, to develop products and services that better and more completely serve people’s needs. Products that people value highly. Now many brands have realised this and try to be part of the “disruption”.

But why do some brands serve people’s needs completely and others, despite large efforts, fail? How come, even though technology and new business models are freely available?

The key is, what I call in my book “people-focus” versus “product-focus”. Too many brands view their business from the perspective of their products and resources. The result is that only innovations and new business opportunities close to the product are developed. Innovations are happening in small steps.

Instead, “people-focus” is about looking through the perspective of the people, identifying their needs and serving them, independant of your current resources and business model. If necessary, you collaborate with others to make it happen, welcome in today’s world of co-creation.

In the extreme it could lead to that you put out a product like the iPhone, knowing that it will kill your own business of iPods. Or if you have a pet store chain and in the future your product and services have nothing to do with pets but enabling a parallel life of man and animals, because you see there important and increasing needs of people.

With “people-focus” you take big innovation leaps and that close to the people. It’s about redefining and seeing your business anew, in fact out of the people’s perspective. How would your dream-business in your business area from the people’s perspective look like? Imagine you stand in the future, in 2025. What would your brand from the people’s perspective do?

In many cases you don’t need to change your current product, but you add value by adding services.

In summary: Selling is for losers. Businesses today have huge opportunities to provide much value to people’s lives and to society. They find out what people really need and serve that. They enable people to create rich lives.

These businesses win.


Briefly to me: Mike Brandt is founder of the Business Design Lab “urge”, lecturer at DMJX, marketing / advertising program, in Copenhagen, and author of the book “Welcome To The Advertisingawesomeness: Forget The Product. Forget The Idea. Forget The Campaign.”