Sonder | Boldness is a one trick pony
Being a one trick pony and focussing on just one thing is a bold and proven strategy for success
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Boldness is a one trick pony

Boldness is a one trick pony

Being a one-trick pony is typically regarded as a weakness. It suggests there’s only one thing that you, or your business, does well. Nothing else. Just one thing that you are totally skilled in and have mastered at the expense of all other distractions.

I’m sorry, hang-on… being masterful of one truly remarkable “trick” is a failure?  On the contrary, consciously choosing not to try and be good at other things is to be commended in our hyper-fragmented, over-saturated, modern market place. Is Amazon a one-trick pony? They just sell things online. Is Facebook a one trick pony? They just connect people on a digital platform. Croc’s? They just make rubber shoes. Spanx underwear? Michelin tyres? Roku speakers? Pretty much every successful digital start-up out there in the ether?


Let’s call it “JOT”.

Having JOT is to be authentic and to be a challenger brand. As Adam Morgan wrote in Eat the Big Fish, challenger brands don’t just commit to something, they overcommit (to JOT). Like when Steve Jobs returned to a distressed Apple and cut the new projects from 150 to 3. He went on to reduce their number of computer products by over 70% because, when he asked his senior managers, “Which ones do I tell my friends to buy?” No one could give him a simple answer.

Applying this kind of discipline is the role of CMOs and leaders who have the insight and resolve to sacrifice the shiny new thing, or possible short-term opportunity. From an owned media perspective, the businesses that know how their customers want to engage with them and where their growth can be attributed, can double-down on the media that truly matters. If it’s your website that attracts the greatest audience and sales, then focus on that until it is the best experience possible. If your stores are the asset that connects with your customers and drives growth, then don’t be distracted by other channels until your stores are the best environment possible.  

Focusing on JOT doesn’t mean not trying new things when appropriate or letting go of a product/service that isn’t working. It simply means to honour the strategy, stay the course and don’t be ashamed of being a one-trick pony. There is boldness in doing just one thing incredibly well.