Pho, A Great Lesson In Business

by Tony Chung on May 17, 2011


Yum…. Pho. The popular Vietnamese bowl of transparent noodles with a satisfying soup base and the perfect combination of peripheral sauces and vegetables. The beauty of Pho is that it makes the very thought of Vietnamese food so clear and focused in a foreigner’s mind. When you walk by a pho place, chances are the restaurant name has ‘Pho’ in it. You know exactly what you’re going to get if you go in and sit down. It’s the perfect business lesson — focused, clear, and give the customer what they are expecting.

In comparison, the food served at Korean or Chinese restaurants (for example) is generally more vague. You aren’t clear right off the bat what you’ll be eating should you enter. If you place a Korean restaurant next to a Pho restaurant, a hungry passing foreigner would at least know right off the bat what they’ll be served if they enter the Pho restaurant. Whether he chooses it or not is another story, but just the clarity of the business is a win right away IMHO.

I think you’ve become successful when an average Joe can name what you do within 3 seconds after hearing your brand. Try the following:

Apple = iPhone. GOOD.
Samsung = … tv … tablet … phones… BAD.

Eminem = angry white guy. GOOD.
Kid Rock = … had that one rock-ish/rap hit…. BAD.

IKEA = home stuff. GOOD.
Sears = … appliances … clothes… BAD.

Caltech = engineering. GOOD.
UCLA = …. bruins … white racist chick … poly sci? BAD.

Simpler = win. Complicated = mediocre. Your thoughts?

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