How often have you seen assumptions, either made in the early stages of a project, or as a result of a long association with a product category blinding people to alternatives, gradually become accepted as “fact”?

I have seen it often, as has everyone who ever sought to overturn the status quo, these “factoids” rear their ugly heads to stymie innovation.

Many years ago, when flavored milk was all packed in cartons that cost a few cents each, it was an accepted “factoid” that consumers would not pay extra for different packaging that added to the cost of the product.  It was a “fact” that plastic bottles with a resealable screw cap that added 25 cents to the cost , for less product, held no attraction to consumers, a “fact” confirmed by market research.  At the time, whilst pretty obvious that the research was flawed by asking consumers questions about something they had not seen, the institutional forces against any innovation were strong.

However, we launched a product,  “Dare” flavored milk that delivered less product in a more expensive, more user friendly and attractive package, and consumers changed their behavior overnight, and the product was not only a success, but it changed the marketing landscape of flavored milk overnight, and 20 years later it is still on the market.

So much for the so called facts.