In his book "Save The Cat" (http://amzn.to/2oPWNoS), screenwriter Blake Snyder says every film (I can't bring myself to call them movies) should have a 'save the cat' scene.
It's the moment early in a film when we meet the hero, and they do something that defines who they are and makes us, the audience, like them.
Being popular isn't so easy. If you just smile at people and are generally polite, those who are forced into proximity with you will find you just fine, but other than that no-one will notice you. And what's a punk rocker or a sports star going to think of you? Bit wishy washy.
If you stray from the normal, stand for something, you'll be more likeable to some, and less likeable to others. Go extreme, and your reputation will precede you, you'll go viral.
From a marketing point of view, most things come back to brand values. Do you stand for 'fun' or for 'dedication', for 'quality' or for 'exploration'. You can find out at http://www.johnallsopp.com
Say, you stand for 'excitement'. Let's assume that you would like to gather around you an enthusiastic crowd of people who live for 'excitement' too.
What would be the 'save the cat' moment in a film in which the protagonist stood for excitement?
Let's bring it back to you. Let's do this for real. What is your main value? What's the very last value you would hold on to with everything you've got?
Hang on. We have to separate something. Apparently the guy who invented Uber calls it Boober because of the increase in lady attention he's received since becoming mega-wealthy. I see values come through the exercise on my website that are about what the business owner wants for themselves from running their own business. That's not it. This is about the value that you want to project that you want an audience full of. If you're Red Bull, you want an audience comprising loads of people who are up for it. If you're the boss of Red Bull and you secretly enjoy gardening, you keep that out of the picture.
You'll need a quiet moment for the next bit.
With your brand value in mind, we can start with the film idea if you like .. imagine you as the hero in a film. You are living your key brand value. What would be your 'save the cat' moment that got loads of viewers, who also live for your chosen value, to like you?
Next: you're not really in a movie. You probably have a website with a bio or profile, you maybe have a LinkedIn account, a Twitter account and you have a business card. What could you say, in a sentence or two, that's your equivalent of a 'save the cat' moment? What have you done that evidences you standing up for your value? What societies are you a member of? What work have you done?
Say something to make your audience like you.
Save the cat.
What are your competitors overlooking?
This is a key question for your business strategy. Find what makes you different.
You know, we are quick to embrace homogeneity. I've B&B clients who look along the street to determine their price, and business consultants who won't stray from 'professional language' (they've clearly not seen Tom Peters in flow).
Marketing is about difference.
The petrol station that made their airhose deliver pink air, and made a successful marketing campaign around that (perhaps my favourite marketing story).
Even in, say, psychology which is supposed to be a science so you might expect everyone to agree on what they know, there's Freud who created a whole mental model from scratch and Rogers who thought there really wasn't such a thing as mental illness, just environmental issues; people with catatonia would make great life models, turn your weakness into a feature, go with your strengths.
I'm sure you can think of the greats in the fields you are interested in and notice their differences: Steve 'interesting' Davis -v- firebrands Alex Higgins & Jimmy White, etc.
So I don't know what drives us in marketing (where we are supposed to be creating new, better solutions to problems and making a difference) to try to be samey. Well, actually I do, I think it's two things: the fear of the closed door (if I strike out for kind people I'll lose the market in bastards), and the pure risk and doubt. But, you don't have to turn up to school one day in full goth regalia, you can start with just one thing and if more good things happen than bad, keep going.
Of course, I understand that Coca Cola wants to be everywhere, loved by everyone globally .. but that's its difference, that's what it stands for.
Anyway, what, in your heart, are others in your market, overlooking? (If you're stuck, take a look at your competitors' websites and feel for the parts you dislike.) This strikes to the heart of what you believe. Work out what it would take to turn up your difference to 11 and go for it.
Freak Like Me, Macy Gray: https://youtu.be/f54YsJK3rcI
Come back another time for the ability to vote and make your own marketing planner.
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Hi, I'm John Allsopp and I founded A Million Tweaks in 2009 to do just what it says, continually improve marketing systems.
Nowadays I'm still just as hungry to learn the latest and most effective marketing techniques in what is an incredibly fast moving world. Basically I buy all the training courses so you don't have to.
Actually that's not an insignificant thing. Back in the day I got a first in my degree (Internet Computing) because I did the work, obviously, but also because I studied well and that means taking information from different sources and mixing things up to find the truth in the middle, and I still do that today. I remember waking up one Sunday, switching on the wooden, push button TV we had next to the bed and Tony Buzan came on with his mind maps .. it's still how I study now.
There used to be a very popular service that read all the business books and summarised them for busy executives. I'm not sure if that's still going, but this service is like a modern equivalent, except we'll actually do the work for you too if you like.
In marketing, however, there is an absolute truth: the result. It's often more effort to talk about marketing improvements than to enact them. Don't talk: test. If it works it works. So A Million Tweaks is about making small, low risk changes every day and iterating our way to your fame and fortune.
Anyway, I was supposed to be introducing myself in this box. I live in Scarborough with my partner (who has ME/CFS). I'm 6'6" tall which I think makes me an observer. I drum in a ska band (come see us it's a great night) :-)
If you want to get in touch there's 07762 941921 but best for me is email firstname.lastname@example.org or hook up with me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Even better, fill out the form on this page and let's get talking about how we can apply some of these marketing improvements to your business, it's no good left stuck in my head now, is it?