Make Things Beautiful

So you have a territory of differentiation. But more often than not, you won’t be alone. In fact chances are that your segment is heavily commoditized – unless you are a luxury brand, of course. Why should this be of interest?

Let me try and explain this for the company I work for: Aston Martin. For us, we compete in the high luxury segment for cars. We do not build the fastest, or the most powerful cars – we leave this to our more bling and generally more red competitors. But we do claim to build the most beautiful cars in the world. It is a bold claim, and yes it is subjective – but it does carve out a clear, distinctive territory of differentiation, the territory of sophistication and taste.

It sounds simple, but by and large it is not. Nature has the ability to create beauty with seamless effort. We love to see, touch, taste and smell beautiful objects. They inspire us, make us feel good and pass on positive emotions. But when we humans create things, it does not come natural to us to make them beautiful. Machines, things, processes, invoices – you name it: they are generally designed to be functional. Rational. It requires a lot more insight, thought and hard work to make things simple, functional – and beautiful. At Aston Martin, we spend more time than almost any other car manufacturer painting our cars: 50 hours of paint plus polishing.

What are you making beautiful?

The effort that goes into making things beautiful is undervalued, and often not consciously recognized at first sight. The trick of course is scale. Once you have a distinctive proposition that resonates with your audience on a clearly articulated territory then go and make what you already do – but more beautiful. What does it take? Act on it with integrity. Anything you do, everywhere with anyone. The materials you choose, your staff, suppliers, partners – act with full integrity. It is at the basis of building a successful and lasting business. And if you can make it beautiful on top of that, it will pay off in multiples.