When radio was first introduced to the market in the 1920s it was a flop, nobody bought it.

Radio manufactures were frustrated that they have invented the single coolest piece of technology in like forever, talk about a game changer.

They thought this has to be the most disruptive thing in the world but no one bought it and they couldn’t understand why.

Along comes a guy called David Sarnoff, who works for Radio Corporation of America [RCA].

He assess the environment and then says we have framed our value proposition all wrong.

We are trying to sell people a box, a piece of technology, that’s not what they want.

He goes out and speaks to promoters of a boxing match to broadcast a famous boxing match between Jack Dempsey vs. Georges Carpentier in 1921 [Boxing’s Broadcast Firsts].

He comes back and says we are not selling boxes we are selling experiences.

We are in the business of bringing to the world live experiences in people’s living rooms.

Framed that way, all of a sudden people get it.

“Oh you mean I can listen to a boxing match from my living room? That makes sense to me.” 

Reframed that way, radio becomes this run-away success story.

When Steve Jobs, introduced iTunes, he didn’t say “now you can download music in a portable device.”

He framed it as: why download the entire album if you can just download and listen to your favorite song, without buying the entire album?”

Uber framed their value proposition say: press a button and your ride arrives in a minutes.

Reframing may sound like a trivial thing, but it’s not, it’s huge thing.

Reframing your value proposition is hard and a lot of companies struggle with it.

Once you are used to doing business in a specific way, you are bound up in your ways, that it’s very difficult to change your worldview and relook at the world with a new and different lense.

Failure to reframe a value proposition has resulted major companies going bankrupt.

Nokia failed to read their market and reframe their value proposition and went bankrupt.

Kodak failed to reframe their value proposition and went bankrupt.

Blackberry [BBM] failed to reframe their value proposition and went bankrupt.

Sony failed to reframe their business model in the midst of technology and they were disrupted.

All these companies were disrupted and most of them vanished, not because weren’t smart, not because they lacked resources, but because they lacked the imagination to reframe their businesses in the face of transformation.

If a problem can’t be solved within the frame it was conceived, the solution lies in reframing the problem.

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