maine

Proving People Wrong

Fast Company article link, here: https://www.fastcompany.com/most-creative-people/2018

Reese Witherspoon makes big budget female-centric films, Lyft's new VP of marketing raises $5 million dollars for charities and steals market share from Uber, and Vishal Shah makes it possible to use Instagram as a storefront.

Anyone can have a good idea. 

Implementation is the hard part.

 

'She turned Gone Girl and Wild into breakout films and followed them up with HBO’s Big Little Lies, sweeping nearly every category for which it was nominated at the 2017 Emmys. Having spent years hearing from studio executives that there was no market for big-budget female-driven content, Reese Witherspoon has succeeded to a degree that proves a hunger is there. “Fortunately,” says Witherspoon, “I like proving people wrong.” '

https://www.fastcompany.com/most-creative-people/2018

 

 

 

What Stealing Looks Like

This 4th of July holiday I made a new friend who works for Hearst communications. She's hustled hard to get her place as editor for a bike and running publication, and when we began following each other on Instagram, passing one of the many phases of the 21st-century friendship, I commented in faux (but secretly real) jealousy of her 2k+ followers.

 

In her profession, companies like Nike, Lulu Lemon, and Oakley not only send her **free** items but at events, press photographers take her stellar photo which she can, in turn, can post to her account. As you can imagine, the photos look pro (plus, she doesn't sell out for free stuff!) and the Instagram-presentation is what you're familiar with if you've spent even 5 minutes on the app.

 

What's important here, is I found this new friend to be a real, down to earth, modest person. She's a killer athlete, sure, but doesn't arrive with ego or self-importance.

 

Somehow we got to talking about her discovery and acceptance of the immediate reaction she began to receive from her followers each time she posted photos of...herself. The numbers were and remain, greater. Then she said something along the lines of: "People like the pictures, so I post them." This light observation can seem obvious but my marketing mind can't stop but thinking about it.  

 

What Molly experienced is what Seth Godin writes about'Nobody says, "That Yo Yo Ma, he’s so self-promotional," or, "can you believe what a self-promoter the Dalai Lama is?" That’s because they’re not promoting themselves. They’re promoting useful ideas. They’re promoting tactics or products that actually benefit the person they’re reaching out to.'

 

Ok, ok. I'm not comparing my friend to the Dalai Lama! And photos of her aren't necessarily helping others, but those photos certainly aren't hurting anyone. More importantly, she's posting not to self-promote, but rather because her audience responds with affirmation. 

 

"Give the people what they want" comes to mind.

 

I can't get this simple and obvious lesson out of my marketing mind. In my past and previous clients, I find an incessant fear. The fear stems from not 'getting' social media, and then grows powerfully out towards ideas that self-promotion is selfish and more commonly narcissistic (admittedly, I relate).

 

But what the hell are we waiting for? We want a bigger business, we want more people to know about us, and we want our audience to like what we sell.

 

I can't articulate this final point as well as Marie Forleo, a killer-instinct-businesswoman who you need to check out if you've not already. Repeatedly, she teaches her business approach along these lines: "If your audience doesn't know what you offer, you're essentially robbing them of your experience."

Popularizing Christianity

I don't know much about David Brooks. His name is familiar and if I take 30 seconds, the internet reminds me that he writes a column in the NYTimes. I've also heard him on NPR, and maybe PBS. If I still regularly tuned into PBS.

But I'm not writing so much about the career of David Brooks as I am about his life's work (there is, in fact, a difference). And his life's work is relevant to my career work because his life work is about marketing complex ideas to the mainstream world.

Growing up, I was raised, in part, by the son of a minister. The denomination isn't important so much as, one I'm still not a religious person, and two, our life was laced with religious ideas and values, morals, ponderings, etc. We didn't go to church frequently, but morality was big in our household and with a father who was not only the son of a minister but also a man of science, evolution was frequently a topic in addition to religion. 

The point: I found it interesting, even at such an age, that religion was so...sticky. Kids, like myself, didn't really get it, nor were we going to read a bible to ease our understanding. Before I understood how many children's books existed (those I hadn't seen obviously did not exist!) I remember suggesting: what about a book telling the story of Adam and Eve, but for kids. And it should additionally explain evolution. All content would be in kid-speak but the core, sticky stuff would also be presented. It was sort of like a book for meeting in the middle.

Back to David Brooks. He takes complex ideas and popularizes them for the mainstream such as Christianity and other impenetrable subjects. My 5-year-old brain had no idea what 'popularize' meant, nor of any streams except those behind our house. But I think I was kinda' talking about the same thing as Brooks.

And today, reading the opening paragraph of this article, I thought about my most complex client: highly skilled, talented, experienced architect and designer, who needs to popularize deeply intellectual work. This clients wants and needs to distill their ideas for the mainstream public. 

Why? Because they like many, want to grow business by acquiring more customers, and they like many struggle with the same problem as other firms: the mainstream customer does not typically understand the inner workings of a deeply intellectual artist.

And here there's a tug of war: does popularizing mean cheapening? Does popularizing mean omitting? But the tug of war can be a dance; there can exist fluidity in the communication between your brilliance, your creative genius, your spark, and the words, images, patterns, and thought-provoking choices any business makes in order to meet their ideal customer. It's just a matter, I think, of recognizing that you're not, in fact, compromising anything in this act of 'marketing'. Instead, you're doing your client a service by meeting them in the middle.