The Wiggles is one of the most enduring forms of pre school entertainment ever devised. According to BRW magazine’s rich list they generated $45 million in 2004. In a recent interview with Paul Paddick, (most of us refer to him as Captain Feather Sword; “The friendly Pirate”) Paddick explains that as part of the Wiggles circus, he has had to curb his natural exuberance. For example, none of the Wiggles ever touch children. And when they are photographed with children, they always adopt their now famous “point fingers” pose – “so there is no doubting where their hands are”.
The Wiggles team insisted that touching children, however innocently, was inappropriate – and open to the risk of litigation, particularly as the monetary value of the Wiggles brand name rose.
I certainly did not realise the deep thinking and intent behind such a gesture, however I’m not surprised given we are talking about a world class, multi million dollar business.
The Wiggles are a great example of a business that cares deeply about their customer, their brand reputation and knows the risks that come with the audience they are talking to. They remind us that businesses are successful when they make decisions inspired by the customer instead of making decisions for the customer.
If you are in a role of leadership or influence, a great question to ask each day before serving customers might be; “Who am I serving?”
When we take a Human Centred Design approach to business, we are putting people at the heart of problem solving and decision making when designing products and services. Perhaps the very opposite would be a Command Centred Design approach, where organisations make customer-facing decisions driven from political agendas, cost cutting agendas or personal preferences from management.
When we determine the audience we are serving or performing for, are we pointing fingers with intention to entertain and sustain our businesses brands or are we pointing fingers with an intention of commanding what our customers will get?
What I love about asking the question; “Who am I serving?” is how it reminds us, that without this person to serve… There is no business.