Desire Path

Am I a bad person for laughing when I saw this sign at a local Spot Coffee shop?

Turns out that giant vase on the ground is a garbage can after all.

Here’s another image that makes me laugh.

This college installed a railing to stop students from walking on the grass.


Both images are a great example of a “desire path.”

According to wikipedia, “The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination.”

A desire path can kill grass.

It can also stop your business from separating itself from the competition.

Every industry has an invisible box surrounding it.

The edges of that box live in the present and were developed by the past.

Inside the lines are the standard comforts that exist in the industry. The easily navigated way of doing things that customers woefully expect.

Outside the box is where brands live.

The difference between a brand and a company

Every company wants to be a brand name, but few make the leap.

A well-worn desire path can be the culprit.

It’s easy to say you want to deliver a customer experience that rivals, but your customer service rep may already have a certain way of doing things.

It’s easy to say you want your marketing to stand out, unless you can’t handle the criticism.

It’s easy to not push past the edges of your industry to keep everything safe and vanilla.

It’s a lot easier to traverse a desire path and be a company instead of a brand.

Investigate if there are desire paths leading to predictable and uninspiring results for your customer.

Find ways to zig while others zag in your industry and you can create a unique experience for your customers that will help establish your brand.