“I just remove everything that is not the elephant.” Introducing UnSpring.

A tourist walks into a store that sells wooden elephants. Hundreds and hundreds of wooden elephants. All looking identical. The carver is in the store working on one of his creations. The tourist is amazed at the carver’s dexterity and skill and asks him – “how do you do this? How do you carve such perfect-looking elephants. And with so much ease.” The carver shrugs and responds – “I first pick up a block of wood. Then I remove everything that’s not the elephant.”

I heard this story long long back. And have no clue of the origin of the story. But it stayed with me forever. I see the best brands and companies in the world doing this – having the clarity of knowing who they are not. Brand consultants usually advise brands to figure out what you are. It’s equally important to know what you are not. An awareness of what you are not helps save a company/brand/person from making expensive experimental mistakes. And focusses the entire team on sticking to the path laid out by the brand.

When Arun, Vineet and I first started dreaming up Spring, we also pushed ourselves to dream up Unspring. What we are not. What we will never do. This actually turned out to be a lot more difficult. It’s tough to commit to the doors that you will close. And that’s why it’s important to do this.

So here goes. At great risk to ourselves and knowing that we will be answerable for our subsequent actions, to our team and partners and believers, here’s what we are not. Here’s UnSpring for you:

Give us a shout if you are carving out your own personal elephant. If you are looking to find the ‘Un’ for your brand. We would love to help.

Raja