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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=MAYA Principle'>MAYA Principle</a>
Sales Strategy
Ben Wise & Darren Chiu, CAPTIVATE lock


Let’s face it, change is scary. It pushes people out of their comfort zone, which is why influencing change is so challenging. But knowing this, we can use it to our advantage by blending the new with the familiar, paving a smoother path to your desired outcome.

MAYA, or Most Advanced Yet Acceptable, is a design philosophy that balances innovation with familiarity, balancing the new with the old. Pioneered by Raymond Loewy, known as the ‘Father of Industrial Design’, the MAYA principle was instrumental in the development of everything from the original Coca-Cola bottle to the Space Shuttle.

"The adult public's taste is not necessarily ready to accept the logical solutions to their requirements if the solution implies too vast a departure from what they have been conditioned into accepting as the norm."- Raymond Loewy

One of the most famous examples of the MAYA principle in action is the iPhone, which has been a case study in steady, incremental changes. Even the original iPhone launch in 2007 looked an awful lot like the popular iPod. Over time, Apple continued to iterate, bringing more changes with each launch while maintaining enough of the previous design so that it was familiar to users.

While the MAYA principle is commonly used in the design world, it’s also incredibly relevant when it comes to influence and persuasion. Simply put, it’s all about finding the perfect pitch that captures your audience's attention, while still feeling accessible and familiar.


Start with the familiar. When you first introduce your proposal, focus on the aspects that are familiar to the customer. Look at the status quo and determine what they like about it and be sure to weave that in. 

For example, if you want your client to run their first influencer campaign, start by showing them how the messaging and brand elements will be similar to your traditional creative execution. Or if you are managing a re-org, lead with the ways you’ve maintained the best elements of the current structure.

Starting with the familiar will immediately make your counterpart more comfortable, laying a positive foundation for what comes next.

Build on the familiar. Once you have established a foundation of familiarity, you can start to introduce new and innovative features. But be sure to do so in a way that is easy for the customer to understand. 

Back to your influencer campaign - you can start to go into the authenticity and unique reach of the chosen influencers. Or how your new proposed team structure creates a better experience for clients. 

This is where you add the new elements, but your audience will find them easier to grasp if they are built on top of a familiar foundation.

Within the next month, select a project where you need to influence change. Instead of starting with the reasons for change, begin by highlighting the common elements you’re keeping around. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, move onto the proposed changes. 

Have a great example? Share it and you could be featured in the next Captivate.

Want to Learn More? Check out these great resources.

If you’re interested in the history of Raymond Loewy and how he developed the MAYA principle in product design, check this out.

Watch Steve Jobs launch the original iPhone here (skip ahead to the 2 minute mark). Before he ever shows the new device he lays a familiar foundation based on existing products that everyone already knows and loves.

For more details on using the MAYA principle in sales, this article provides an in-depth look. 

 Authored By:


Ben Wise is a 15 year industry veteran who has held successive sales and leadership roles at Google, where he is currently the Head of Programmatic Media working with the largest agencies and brands in Canada. Ben is active in his community where he serves on the Board of the Daily Bread Food Bank and recently completed a two year term as the board chair. Ben advises multiple startups on sales and go to market strategy and volunteers in various mentorship programs helping students and young professionals.

Darren Profile Photo

Darren Chiu is a Strategy Lead at Google, helping brands across all industries develop best in class marketing strategies. With over 12 years of industry experience, Darren’s passion for communication doesn’t stop at the world of business and sales. In his spare time, Darren moonlights as a comedic storyteller, stretching his creativity and perspectives beyond the boundaries of his professional life. As a recognition of his dedication and expertise, Darren was selected as an Emerging Leader in Advertising & Sales by The Peak in 2023.

Ben Wise & Darren Chiu are the founders of Captivate, helping you apply the art and science of persuasion to your selling. Beyond Captivate, Ben and Darren have over 20 years of combined sales and leadership experience at Google where they work with many of the largest advertisers and agencies in the country. 

Beyond his day to day work, Ben is very active in his community where he sits on the Board of Directors of the Daily Bread Food Bank and volunteers with multiple mentorship programs helping young professionals enter the world of tech and sales. Darren moonlights as a comedic storyteller, stretching his creativity and perspectives beyond the boundaries of his professional life. Darren was selected as an Emerging Leader in Advertising & Sales by The Peak in 2023.

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