Point of view: Get lucky

James Hurman

Once successful enough for humility, business leaders nearly always count luck among the secrets of their success; being in the right time at the right place, that sort of thing. Yet, I don't think I've ever seen a planning proposition for a brand to position itself to take advantage of luck. It sounds dippy.

But are some brands luckier than others? Can the fortunes of Nike or Apple or Coca- Cola be attributed only to the practicalities and sound planning and vision etc? Or is there an element of the stars lining up alongside those basics? And if so, is that just fluke?

In the late 1990s, the British psychologist Richard Wiseman found enough unusually lucky people to gather them up and examine them. He was driven by the idea that, while luck almost certainly finds us and not the other way around, there are people with a knack for putting themselves in the places luck goes looking. Upon inspection, he found that there are indeed attributes shared by the lucky. Attitudes and behaviours that don't create luck exactly, but increase the likelihood of it happening. There are four principles, and you can learn to adopt them – in fact, Dr Wiseman does classes teaching people how to be luckier, and, reportedly, they work. He wasn't interested in marketing, but I couldn't help thinking there's something in his work for brands.