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While commenting music’s powerful ability to take us back in time, the author uses the even greater power of personal vulnerability to walk us through a few intense moments in his life, thus making us feel our own version of what he feels. (I got emotional telling my wife about the post because it took me back to a certain time in my own life, one where I was at a professional pivot point and had to decide to walk away from a gig I loved in order to grow.)
D-Day – Operation Overlord, if you prefer – was obviously one of the hugest days in world history…right? Without it, I’m guessing that your humble scribe wouldn’t be writing this to you. A big operation? Howzabout 150,000+ allied troops, 50,000 vehicles, 11,000 aircraft, and 5,000 ships & landing craft. Other than that, it wasn’t the least bit complicated.
Here’s how Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, the guy who was in charge of the ground troops in the Normandy Invasion laid out his plans: on a single piece of paper.
Think about 1970 and imagine Gil Scott-Heron’s mindset when he wrote “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” He couldn’t have been more wrong, of course. Spoiler alert: the news here is good. No, actually, it’s great. Revolutions can be scary, and yes, lots of traditional structures get torn down during revolutions, but new structures spring up, and the ones that are springing up are very promising indeed, assuming, of course, you know how to take advantage of them.
And now, let’s share our revolting tale.
Ahh…the content space – there’s so much of it everywhere, online and offline. How do you cut through the clutter and stand out to your target audience? To borrow from the Steve Jobs playbook, you need to think different. Of course, that leads to another dilemma: how do you think different? The beginnings of your answer can be found by thinking about a train trip.
This isn’t a story about politics; it’s a story about messaging. In particular, it’s about how (and where) you communicate your message in the current era. Quick disclaimer: exactly nothing I’m saying here is intended to be a broadside at any political campaign. However, if a candidate with a massive war chest, tons of structural advantages, and a fairly definable target audience couldn’t cut through marketplace clutter enough to avoid a curbstomping, it’s probably time for you to take a long look at your own messaging efforts.
As messaging professionals, we tell stories all the time. We spend most of our time thinking about the stories we’re going to tell externally, to our customers/fans. We tend to spend less time thinking about all the stories we tell internally, to our coworkers, employees, friends, and even ourselves.
A friend of mine sent me this incredibly entertaining Rolling Stone piece called “The Slow Death of the Great Wrestling Promo”. You should read it.
Of course, you didn’t take your mother’s advice to eat your vegetables when you were growing up, so I doubt you’ll take my advice now. Before we talk about the wrestling piece, let’s get to the point: the minute you start communicating with people, you’ve entered the entertainment business. Seriously.
Let’s look at the big picture: to see the future of the messaging business – really, of all businesses – you need to look to the future you’ve already seen. Surely you remember The Jetsons. George, Jane, Judy, and Elroy had those massive video screens in every room of the house. They watched “television” on them. They made “phone calls” on them. They ordered dinner, did their banking, and pretty much did the majority of their life business via those screens. They even had smaller versions of them in their spacecars, on their wrists, and pretty much everywhere else they looked.