This just in: Donald Trump has declared he rejects the outcome of the Harry Potter series.
“That Harry Potter. Nasty kid! He didn’t beat Lord Voldemort. The story was rigged!”
I’m convinced that JK Rowling wouldn’t be the least bit bothered with Trump rejecting her story. In fact, she’d probably like it!
I certainly would. You know why?
Because it shows that people have a strong reaction to it, and because…
The naysayers actually validate our stories.
Even our best stories won’t please everybody. And sometimes, people will still criticize our story simply because it doesn’t suit them.
Say you’re bringing a new product to market, and you’ve built a compelling brand story.
What would you prefer as a first reaction? Half of the marketplace hating it… and half of the marketplace loving it? Or the entire market kinda’, sorta’, maybe, you know… liking it?
Go for the strong 50-50.
Or say you’re speaking at a conference. As you move into the body of your Talk, the entire audience is sitting back in their chairs politely listening, and when the Talk is over, you get a handful of smiles and thank yous and some pretty good feedback on the conference survey.
Ugh! For me, that’s the kiss of a slow death. I would much prefer half of the audience to be outraged!
Especially if the other half of the audience is raving.
“Finally! Somebody has the cojones to say that!” Or, “What an innovative perspective!” Or, “I think my boss would like it, too. I gotta’ set up a meeting!”
Now, it’s easy to see the upside of half the audience raving and possibly taking action. But here’s the additional upside.
The other half of the audience, you know, the outraged ones? They’re going to help you sell.
The naysayers promote you, albeit inadvertently.
The naysayers will say to their colleagues, “You can’t believe the presentation I just sat through! The guy was out of his mind! He said…”
What will the colleagues’ reaction be?
If we follow the 50-50 thing, one out of every two of them will say, “Yeah! He sounds like a jerk!”
The other one will say, “Finally somebody has the cojones to say that. I think my boss would like it, too. What was the guy’s name?”
Try to be all things to all people and you’ll be nothing to everybody.
Make your brand story stand for something, and stand tall. If you know what your story stands for, you’ll know whom to target.
So define your buyer, your reader, your target, and please them intensely…
… and let the naysayers yelp!
Because the naysayers will inadvertently sell you… just like The Donald (and his raging, I mean, raving fans) are inadvertently selling somebody else’s story this year, and, no, we’re not talking about JK Rowling’s.
Trick or treat!
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Photo by Austen Squarepants. Austen Squarepants on Creative Commons