Tag Archives: trust

How Avatar followed the Seth Godin playbook to $1B in 17 days

Last night I went to watch Avatar with my younger brother, Tim. The first theater was sold out so we yelled to everyone still streaming in and we all quickly drove to the next closest theater, 10 miles away.

Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the film. There are no real spoilers below, just how Avatar followed Seth Godin’s marketing advice to create a blockbuster movie that has already grossed over $1 billion dollars worldwide in just 17 days.

1) Remarkable Matters


Seth Godin wrote Purple Cow in 2003. Those who read it and followed the advice have reaped rewards. Avatar is “remarkable”, defined by Seth simply as something worth remarking on. I’m not a huge moviegoer – maybe average or slightly below – but more than fifty people had remarked about Avatar to me, either in person or online. People whose opinion I respect raved about it on twitter.

I didn’t go see Avatar because I saw a great preview, commercial or billboard. I went because people I trust remarked on it.

When a product is remarkable, it markets itself.

2) In a world of unlimited choice, it’s more important than ever to be the best in the world


In The Dip, Seth Godin writes about strategic quitting and the importance of being the best in the world.

Most studios wouldn’t take a chance on making a $237 million film whose biggest star is Sigourney Weaver.

They did because the man behind the entire operation (writer, director, producer) is James Cameron, arguably the best in the world at what he does. His previous film, Titanic, was the largest grossing film ever – grossing $1.84 billion dollars, 68% more than Lord of the Rings at $1.13 billion.

You don’t have to be James Cameron, but you do have to be the best in the world at what you do (or one of the best). The good news is, you get to define the world. You could be the best plumber in Omaha, Nebraska. You could be the best hiking guide in Colorado. You could be the best blogger about coffee.

Define your world and then work to be the best.

3) Tribes

Titanic appealed to the tribe of history buffs. Avatar appealed to a few different tribes, but specifically to the science fiction tribe. Any self-identified member of the sci-fi tribe will see the movie and they will talk about it. Some will go with other members of the sci-fi tribe but many will bring friends and family.

Sci-fi was a specific tribe that Avatar reached.

4) Free Prize Inside


In Free Prize Inside, Seth explains the importance of “soft innovations”.

Soft innovations are the clever, insightful, useful small ideas that just about anyone in an organization can think up. Soft innovations can make your product into a Purple Cow, they can make it remarkable. They do this by solving a problem that’s peripheral to what your product is ostensibly about. It’s a second reason to buy the thing, and perhaps a first reason to talk about it. It may seem like a gimmick, but soon, what seems like a gimmick becomes an essential element in your product or service.

Avatar is being shown in 2D and in 3D. Olivier Blanchard and others on twitter told me that seeing it in 3D is a must. They were right and seeing the amazing visual effects in 3D gives me something else to talk about as I recommend the movie.

3D was Avatar’s Free Prize Inside.

I don’t know if James Cameron has ever met or even heard of Seth Godin. It doesn’t matter. In creating and marketing Avatar, Cameron took pages directly from Seth’s playbook.

The result? Seventeen days after release, Avatar is already the 4th highest grossing movie ever.

How can you apply these tactics to your project, business or personal brand?

My Three Words for 2010

Taking a cue from the forever brilliant Chris Brogan and his post today, below are my three words for 2010.

My 3 Words – Revere, Ship, Daily

My Three Words for 2010

Revere – I am not using the traditional definition of revere here, but rather a reference to Paul Revere, the revolutionary who successfully warned an entire region that the British were coming. In Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent book, The Tipping Point, he illustrates why Paul Revere was successful in his famous ride (the message tipped and spread), while William Dawes, a different man trying to accomplish the same goal, was not successful.

From Gladwell’s The Tipping Point:

Paul Revere’s ride is perhaps the most famous historical example of a word-of-mouth epidemic. A piece of extraordinary news traveled a long distance in a very short time, mobilizing an entire region to arms …
At the same time that Revere began his ride north and west of Boston, a fellow revolutionary — a tanner by the name of William Dawes — set out on the same urgent errand, working his way to Lexington via the towns west of Boston. He was carrying the identical message, through just as many towns over just as many miles as Paul Revere. But Dawes’s ride didn’t set the countryside afire. The local militia leaders weren’t altered. In fact, so few men from one of the main towns he rode through — Waltham — fought the following day that some subsequent historians concluded that it must have been a strongly pro-British community. It wasn’t. The people of Waltham just didn’t find out the British were coming until it was too late. If it were only the news itself that mattered in a word-of-mouth epidemic, Dawes would now be as famous as Paul Revere. He isn’t. So why did Revere succeed where Dawes failed?
The answer is that the success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts. Revere’s news tipped and Dawes’s didn’t because of the differences between the two men.
[Revere] was gregarious and intensely social. He was a fisherman and a hunter, a cardplayer and a theatre-lover, a frequenter of pubs and a successful businessman. He was active in the local Masonic Lodge and was a member of several select social clubs. He was also a doer, a man blessed — as David Hackett Fischer recounts in his brilliant book Paul Revere’s Ride — with “an uncanny genius for being at the center of events.”
It is not surprising, then, that when the British army began its secret campaign in 1774 to root out and destroy the stores of arms and ammunition held by the fledgling revolutionary movement, Revere became a kind of unofficial clearing house for the anti-British forces. He knew everybody. He was the logical one to go to if you were a stable boy on the afternoon of April 18th, 1775, and overheard two British officers talking about how there would be hell to pay on the following afternoon. Nor is it surprising that when Revere set out for Lexington that night, he would have known just how to spread the news as far and wide as possible. When he saw people on the roads, he was so naturally and irrepressibly social he would have stopped and told them. When he came upon a town, he would have known exactly whose door to knock on, who the local militia leader was, who the key players in town were. He had met most of them before. And they knew and respected him as well.
But William Dawes? Fischer finds it inconceivable that Dawes could have ridden all seventeen miles to Lexington and not spoken to anyone along the way. But he clearly had none of the social gifts of Revere, because there is almost no record of anyone who remembers him that night. “Along Paul Revere’s northern route, the town leaders and company captains instantly triggered the alarm,” Fischer writes. “On the southerly circuit of William Dawes, this did not happen until later. In at least one town it did not happen at all. Dawes did not awaken the town fathers or militia commanders in the towns of Roxbury, Brookline, Watertown or Waltham.”
Why? Because Roxbury, Brookline, Watertown and Waltham were not Boston. And Dawes was in all likelihood a man with a normal social circle, which means that — like most of us — once he left his hometown he probably wouldn’t have known whose door to knock on. Only one small community along Dawes’s ride appeared to get the message, a few farmers in a neighborhood called Waltham Farms. But alerting just those few houses wasn’t enough to “tip” the alarm.
Word-of-mouth epidemics are the work of Connectors. William Dawes was just an ordinary man.

I am a Connector by nature but in 2010, I want to up my game, meet more new people, introduce other people, earn trust, build bridges and create value. In short, I want to emulate what Paul Revere did long before his famous ride and become the type of Connector he was.

This will help me personally and it will also help me build and scale my new media consulting firm, Tribes Win.


Ship

Don't wait for perfect, just ship

I spent six months in 2009 learning more than I thought possible from one of my heroes, Seth Godin. The most important thing I learned was the importance of “shipping”.

Seth has had many successes in his prolific career but before those many successes, he had many failures. Seth’s failures paved the way for his successes. He just kept shipping (including over 3,000 blog posts over the last ten years) and eventually the projects he shipped became more and more successful. The

From when we are young, it is drilled into our head (in our education system, at home and at work) that failure is terrible and something to be avoided at all costs. Seth taught us that failing is OK and shipping is what matters.

In addition to building Tribes Win, I have a few important projects I’m working on in 2010, including fear.less, an online magazine that I’m launching with Ishita Gupta, Carpe Defect, a new blog, e-book and book that I’m writing and a new type of social game that I am developing.

I will ship these projects in 2010.

Daily

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/ferrantraite

This is a simple reminder of improving daily in two specific categories:

    Daily Sense – Post here on DailySense.com at least once every day in 2010.
    Health – Eat healthier and workout in 2010.

I have tied each of these words to a more specific set of SMART goals with dates and specific measurements of success.

Chris Brogan inspired me. Hopefully I can amplify his inspiration. Give this some thought and consider sharing your three words here or back on Chris’ original post.

Revere. Ship. Daily.

Unexcused absence (Daily Sense is back)

Unexcused Absence

I’m sorry.

I’ve failed you, my readers.

I promised a post per day and until July 26th, I was doing well.

I have no good excuse. Sure, I’ve been busy. I founded and am building my social media consultancy, Tribes Win. I’ve moved. I’ve also undergone a lot of personal change recently. But I’m not any busier than Chris Brogan or Mitch Joel, or Gary Vaynerchuk who are traveling around the country on their respective book and speaking tours. Those guys are swamped and still manage to deliver quality content all the time.

You are all very busy as well and I appreciate the attention you give me. I know that attention is scarce and I appreciate yours.

My hiatus is unexcused and I apologize.

Thank you to all of you who asked what happened to the daily drips and inquired if I had moved the blog. You know who you are.

My promise to you is this.

1) I’m back.
2) I’ll be posting daily again.
3) As my way of trying to rectify my recent absence, I’m going to work harder to regain your trust and your confidence. I will try to make some of my upcoming posts exciting and I will have at least two upcoming giveaways.

(If I get time, I’ll try to go back and make up for the daily posts that I missed. I’m not promising this but I’m going to try.)

Thanks for sticking with me.

-Clay

Cronkite, Twitter and Trust

Obit Cronkite

Photo credit: AP Photo/CBS, File.

An excellent post from KD Paine, Walter Cronkite and the shifting residence of trust.

After Cronkite’s assertion that it was time to pull out of Vietnam, President Lyndon Johnson told his aide, Bill Moyers, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”

It’s easy to imagine Barack Obama telling an aide, “If I’ve lost Twitter, I’ve lost………..”

Finish that sentence.