Not All Decisions Are About Cost
You can learn anything online from an expert anywhere in the world, at any time, for free. But 20 million people still decided to attend college last year.
Your team meeting can absolutely be held over tele-conference, saving thousands on travel and catering, but research says 6 of the 10 people on the call won’t actually be paying attention.
It’s far cheaper to teach a class virtually than to fly everyone in. But when was the last time you heard anyone raving about a webinar?
Money is the easiest factor to consider when making decisions, but it’s also the most basic of decision factors.
The most successful brands are successful because they make choices that conflict with economy. They believe that some things are worth investing in even if it may not be easy to explain ‘why’ up front. They hold principles that aren’t compromised or even explained by expense.
Weeks before the iPhone launch Steve Jobs decided to replace the plastic screen with one made of glass, a decision that caused chaos and likely millions of dollars in manufacturing changes. How do you calculate the ROI on his decision?
Pixar could have saved thousands by not paying designers to travel by car down Route 66 as a team, eating at real diners and buying touristy post-cards as part of the research for the movie Cars. But would the movie have been as successful?
Those are decisions easily altered when you apply the frugality filter.
“Why travel down Route 66 in person when you can just do a Google Street View? We’re on a budget.”
“All cell phones get scratched. If we move to glass it will cause delays and inflate the price of the product. No one will know the difference, let’s just stick with plastic.”
But, there is a difference between a Google search of a Route 66 diner and the reality of being in one. It’s not easily quantifiable, but it’s real. Let’s call it the authenticity factor.
The authenticity factor is what makes people spend 60k on a degree when they can gain the same knowledge for free elsewhere.
The point is that using cost as a filter on every decision will push you gradually closer to the dollar store and further from Louis Vuitton. The choice to spend money as a company is not so much “how much will this set us back”, but rather “what do we believe in?"