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Why slamming the brakes can be a great product strategy… just ask my dog


During a recent visit to the off-leash park, my dog was being jostled by a pair of pooches either side.

Instead of carrying on, enduring the torment of being corralled by the hecklers, my dog stopped, stood tall, and let them go past. Then she changed course and reasserted herself.

And my four-legged friend’s not the only example of effectively redirecting your strategy mid-play.

Hollywood car chases

The hero is driving at speed when villains pull up on either side and try to jam his car. So what does he do? Slams the brakes, letting the villains career to their doom. Sucks to be them.


The book Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behaviour tells the tale of how Intel slammed the brakes on micro-processing because they were in an unwinnable war with cheaper manufacturers. Now, Intel is arguably stronger than ever.

Independent schools

In a war for fees, some schools are slamming the brakes on single-sex educational programs and moving co-ed.

Go Harvey Norman, Go!

Harvey Norman’s boss Gerry Harvey copped a lot of flack recently for complaining about competing with cheaper off-shore retailers. Here’s what you should do, Gerry: slam the brakes, because you won’t win on price.

So here’s the lesson: if you find yourself being jammed either side by competitors in a price war, a technology war or a product war, slam on the brakes. Let them hurtle to their doom (in the nicest possible way) while you change course, reassert your brand and, of course, remain top dog.

Bri Williams is a product development and consumer analytics professional who uses her blog, People Patterns, to explore behavioural insights and observations for marketers. Follow Bri at @peoplepatterns

Image by: KB35