Hungry Hippo Helps you Understand Competitors

Monday Morning Marketer

As I enjoyed an aggressive, fast-paced game of Hungry Hippo with my two year old, it dawned on me that there are some pretty significant business lessons to be gained from this game.

First, you can never judge success by outward appearance. But you can draw some conclusions. We’ll call this perception. We may perceive the green hippo to be successful, the yellow one to be cautiously assertive, the orange as fun loving, and the pink sensitive to others. We may be wrong, but there is no doubt about it that a first impression in business is what creates a first step to a relationship.

So, my daughter happily picks the green hippo… driven to success. And I arrogantly pick the fun competitor, knowing I’m going to win anyway. It’s a head to head battle that is won by my sweet young child six out of seven times.

How? Statistically, shouldn’t it have been 50/50 odds or better in my favour? I mean, she’s two and I with my orange hippo had some skill at the table! I perceived my orange hippo and I were better at the game than my wee girl.

But then it dawned on me, like in business, there is only so much you can control. You can create your brand and plan the first impression you want to be known by. You can choose who has the hands on the lever ready to snap up those little white balls of opportunity. You can use trial and error to plan the perfect pace and strategy to get what you want.

But you can’t know for sure what is beneath the colourful exterior of a competitor. In fact, you may falsely assume they are the underdog… when from out of nowhere they kick your ass. Best to spend more time concentrating on your own game and don’t prejudge the other hippos. Nor take them for granted. They may just snap up all your chances to win the game because you didn’t take them seriously! Because trust me, they didn’t doubt they would be the winner for one second.

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