One of my favorite projects involved a distribution problem with Snapple. The company had more than 50 flavors and had encountered a problem: Customers were taking whole lunch hours to figure out which flavor they wanted with their tuna sandwiches.
At that time, I was touting a shift in consumers' desire for something called managed choice, in which "editors" sifted through people's options and eliminated what was unnecessary. My recommendation for Snapple was a rack that held only eight flavors. . . four that remained constant and four that changed daily. That way, consumers could choose something different or something familiar.
Editing customers' choices has always been crucial. Just ask pharmacists. They've surpassed physicians as the most trusted professionals-in many cases, their opinions now carry more weight than doctors' do.
And now we're starting to see a change in editing itself. Editing is no longer just eliminating what you don't want-it's also delivering more of what you do want. In our information society, any source (especially a Web site) that doesn't take you deeper into your subjects of interest will more than likely not be used again.
This suggests consumers' expectations have changed. More than ever, you'll have to be up on the latest issues and help customers know what's on the cutting edge in your industry.
Watts Wacker-lecturer, political commentator, social critic, bestselling author and CEO of FirstMatter-is one of the world's most respected futurists.