Raise the ceiling or lower the floor

To create value, you have two choices

To create value, you have two choices:

  1. You can raise the ceiling

This applies to generating value of any kind.

Raising the ceiling means you elevate your category

You’ll know you are raising the ceiling if you feel good about people trying to copy you. You think, “At least they’re doing something positive.”

You don’t think “Oh god, what have I done.”

Mainly, raising the ceiling means you make the world a place you personally would like to live in.

Even if you only change the culture one degree in the right direction, you played a part.

How can you raise the ceiling?

Get creative within self-imposed brand constraints.

Find new levers.

Use existing levers in new ways.

Give more than you take.

Create work that’s even better than expected.

Make people feel glad they trusted you.

Bring good taste.

If this were the first (or only) impression of you, would you feel proud of how you come across?

Lowering the floor is faster

You can create just as much value from lowering the floor. It’s usually faster with more immediate gratification. That’s why it’s so popular.

You can cut in line.

Give bigger discounts.

Do whatever it takes to decrease friction.

Ask for forgiveness doing something you know isn’t okay.

Do quid pro quo transactions.

Use fear and scarcity to appeal to prospective customers who are desperate for results.

True, you can be spammy. But there’s always someone who’s willing to be more extreme. It’s a race to the bottom.

Whenever you’re asked to create value (which is all of us every day) you get to decide if you want to lower the floor or raise the ceiling.

Lowering the floor gives you fast results.

But raising the ceiling means you get to help create a world you personally want to live in.

Marketing | Product | Strategy | Prev: altMBA, Seth Godin HQ, Flite (acq by Snapchat), Gap Inc. @wes_kao | weskao.com