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There are lots of businesses out there claiming to be the best at this, that or the other. And when they say best about something measurable and precise, like biggest or fastest, that’s fine. When they say best about something that’s not measurable in a precise and unequivocal way, like customer service or quality, that’s not fine.
But being best, even at something that is measurable and precise such as size or speed can be dangerous. Being best can be dangerous if the brand that is best settles and becomes complacent. Being best can be dangerous if the brand that is best forgets to address how to continually improve. Being best can be dangerous if the brand that is best does not at least match, with sincerity and genuine commitment, the energy and enthusiasm that the challenger brands invest in being better, too.
Best gets attacked from all sides. The good things that they do get copied. The bad things that they do become lessons that those around them, obsessed by better, learn from. Best brands can suffer from no apparent incentive to keep on moving forward. Because, to some of the best companies in the world, it can seem to them that there is nowhere else for them to go. And they bruise easy, they get bruised by prodding and the poking from those that want to overtake them. Being best can be hard. There’s a lot to contend with.
So. What to do?
Well, it could be argued that it is much better to have a mindset focussed on better than it is to have a mindset that is focussed on ‘best’. Even if you’re best right now. Perhaps because ‘better’ is a journey, and because ‘best’ sounds more like a destination. Perhaps because better sounds vibrant and organic. And best sounds silent and still. Better feels progressive and questioning and curious and challenging. Best sounds like something to defend, something to retain, something to encase. Better sounds relatable, likeable and exciting! Best sounds, well, a bit boring, elitist and distant. And worst of all, when we really think about it, best can feel – and by definition actually is – temporary.
And so it follows that if a brand happens to be the best at something that is precise and measurable, it should also have a powerfully honed and powerfully communicated ‘better’ aspect within its brand strategy. This brings to mind words like humility, vulnerability and a likeable human side too. Because it acknowledged that just because something is the best today, it does not mean that it will be the best tomorrow. Even ‘best’ has to keep on trying.