A Hero’s Journey To Responsibility & Great Marketing
You know I was talking to my 4 and half year old daughter today about responsibility.
It was quite difficult trying to convey that very idea to someone who wouldn’t have a clue how to conceptualise it.
Earlier at 7am on a Saturday morning, she wanted to have her 6th month old sister on her knee, while her mother and I wanted some time to ourselves, reading in bed.
It lasted about 20 minutes.
Later on we were talking about responsibility! “Do you know what responsibility means?” I asked
And of course I attempted to explain…
I started to say responsibility generally happens when someone is in charge of someone, some people or something.
Which lead me into telling her why people like to hear stories of other people doing good for others.
Stay with me, there is method…
I tried to think of what she could relate responsibility to. So I said “There must be a movie you’re watching, where someone is in charge.”
So I asked her, what’s the latest movie you’ve been watching? Her reply being, “The Lorax!” A 3D animated movie of a Dr Seuss story; she’s probably watched it 200 times!
“Okay, so there’s always a leader in most movies! So who is the leader in your movie?”
She replied “The Once-ler.”
He was actually the narrator and greedy industrialist, turned good. He also became a kind of mentor/guide to Ted the kid who wanted to undo the damage the Once-ler had made while earning his millions.
The Lorax, if you’re interested, actually became the mentor to the Once-ler. It’s a great movie, which just goes to show how powerful stories are, no matter who’s telling it and in what form!
So anyway, I explained the concept of responsibility through the characters she knew … and in the form of the Hero’s Journey – otherwise known as the ‘Monomyth Story’ – I explained to her how everybody loves a story and most stories have a person who is a leader and who wants to make a difference and in doing so holds great responsibility.
That person will normally embark on a journey and that journey involves that same person – who lives in an ordinary world – following a calling to pass over into an extraordinary world … and along the way finds a mentor who helps and guides him or her.
The mentor is the person who has walked the same path before, teaches and trains the protege how to deal with the great responsibilities, challenges, obstacles … and of course the bad guys they face along the path to the extraordinary world.
When they’ve dealt with all of these obstacles, a transition normally takes place in the form of realisation or a heightened sense of self, in which that person goes on to do extraordinary things – the only thing left is becoming the hero, who gets the girl and inspires others toward the same cause.
How The Hero’s Journey Relates To Great Marketing
It’s this Journey, that great companies understand and leverage to build their audience and sell their products.
Take for example Apple. When Apple came out with their famous commercial back in 1984, introduced at the Superbowl. It was an ad for the new Macintosh. A 60 second insight into the hero’s journey on how to get people to change the way the think about personal computing.
The commercial didn’t focus on the product they focussed on the people – Based on George Orwell’s film 1984 – and with the message being “You can meet your creative goals with the Macintosh”
I think Steve Jobs was a genius. Jobs was a minimalist and everything he did with his product, was done with pure emotional desire and insane intensity and in my opinion has made the process of computing effortless.
This is the perfect example – or impression at least – of allowing the systems and processes be executed with effortless ease. In doing so, Apple have completely nailed the perfect customer and product lifecycle.
He has perfected his brand and product from design right through to the experience the new owner gets when they open the casing.
The Subway Journey
This is typically how the hero’s journey works for companies.
In subways case:
- This man is the hero
- Ordinary world – Man has a problem
- Call to Adventure – Man wants to loose wait
- There are barriers obviously
- Then Man meets mentor – Subway
- Man transforms
- Man becomes the Hero and gives back and inspires others to do the same
So this is the way to make sure your business stands out in the crowd. You will be doing some of the most powerful marketing on the planet if you can find out how it can work for your business.
This is Apple level marketing, but you can do the same thing, for far less cost with todays tools and digital marketing channels.
Don’t be afraid of going against convention, just like Apple did!