The importance of form over substance

8 February 2012


I did Company Law 101 at varsity, and I recall the over-arching principle being, “Substance over form.” In essence, this means the law is based upon actions not words.


“I did not kill him,” is not a defence in itself. Especially if there is physical evidence that you did kill him.


On the other hand, stating “I killed him,” is not enough to be convicted.


Turns out reality is different.


In the real world, form is easily as important as substance. More so in that if you don’t look good you won’t get your foot in the door. No foot in the door and it makes no difference how beautiful your chassis is.


History is littered with examples of great inventions that failed because they were not marketed well. If you don’t tell your story, no one will hear it, so it doesn’t matter how good your story is.


If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears, did it make a sound? The answer is no. If no one heard it, it may as well have never happened.


The good news is that story-telling skills are far easier to master than building skills. Great salesmen have an edge, but you can remove their advantage by matching their “form” and bringing substance to the party. They, on the other, will find it very difficult competing at a substance level.


The war starts with “form.” It ends with “substance.” The teams that understand and master this will win the race.




3 Responses to “The importance of form over substance”

  1. Form or Substance in Marketing, Which One is More Important? » Jesús Gil Hernández Says:

    […] The post The importance of form over substance. […]

  2. Form or Substance, Which One is More Important? » Jesús Gil Hernández Says:

    […] The post The importance of form over substance. […]

  3. What Alan Knott-Craig’s departure means for brand Mxit: An insider’s view | memeburn Says:

    […] in one of his personal blog posts where he states the importance of form over substance. He makes a pretty convincing argument, but perhaps things just spun out of control.Mxit probably has the flashiest office in […]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: