Lovely tale about what designer does

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A Donkey and a Banjo

Once upon a time there was a raccoon who made his living making and selling banjos to the animals in the forest.

One day a donkey entered his shop.

“How can I help you?” asked the raccoon.

“Well, I would very much like to play the banjo,” said the donkey.

So the raccoon sold him a basic, but lovely starter model. The donkey went his way, rejoicing in his new purchase. The raccoon was also quite pleased, reckoning he had just gained a repeat customer, as the donkey would certainly be back for a banjo case, strings, finger picks, a pitch pipe, sheet music and – eventually - a top-of- the-line banjo.

The donkey went home and flailed away at the instrument for several days. But, as the timbre of his playing did not meet his expectations, discouragement soon set in. He stashed the banjo under his bed and did not revisit the raccoon’s shop.

Soon after, the raccoon was lamenting this circumstance to some of his friends. Frankly, it was not the first time a promising customer had failed to return. Business was flat.

“Your logo is outdated,” said the mole, a branding guru. “I will spherize it for you!”

“I will write you a clever tv spot!” said the bear, who was a copywriter. “I’ll hire Joe Pytka to direct it”

“You need a trans-media, multi-channel, viral marketing strategy!” said the rabbit, a web tycoon. “I will monetize all of those eyeballs!”

The raccoon felt paralyzed.

Then the fox - who had been listening in the corner - spoke up.

“Perhaps what your customers really want,” he said, “is not the banjo itself, but the magic of banjo music. So, perhaps you should be in the art of delivering them that magic.”

“What?” said the raccoon, but dimly comprehending.

“Look, why not let me make some posters offering banjo classes?

Then allow me to redesign your shop so it feels inviting. I will set up some chairs, put on some hot coffee and ask everyone in.

Then you can hold jam sessions in your shop, where new players can mingle and hone their skills? And I could invite a visiting virtuoso to give a recital. I’ll create a little newsletter that explains what you do every week. I can also film the sessions and create a website to make it all available online for creatures living in the outlying hollows.”

“In this way, you’d start giving customers banjo…joy,” suggested the fox. “Consequently, I believe the demand for your instruments will blossom.”

“Capital!” exclaimed the raccoon, catching on.

And that’s just what he did, following the fox’s suggestions.

In no time, his shop changed from a mere banjo store to a hive of banjo action. The donkey, hearing that lessons were to be had, came back. And he told others. Who then told others. Demand skyrocketed.

The raccoon hired assistants and opened a recording studio. Customers came from everywhere. Best of all, the dells resounded with the dulcet ding-a-dang of the banjo.

When the raccoon went to pay the fox for his remarkable services, the raccoon asked him what line of work he was in.

“You are not exactly a writer. You are not exactly a poster maker. You are not a brand consultant. You are not a web designer. Yet you did all of these things for me”

“Well, that’s because I am…a designer”, answered the fox.

And soon after the raccoon came to see himself not as a banjo builder, but a “maker of musicians”.

And so did everyone else.


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Comment by Neeraj on January 9, 2010 at 18:32
Hey thanks Daniel & Alex for appreciating the post.
Comment by Daniel Christadoss on January 8, 2010 at 1:31

That was a really good one.

Comment by alex Papanastassiou on January 7, 2010 at 15:45
That's an awesome tale and I love the last question of the raccoon to the fox :)


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