Thursday, January 24, 2008

Being More Parodyable = Being More Profitable

Ask yourself three questions:

1. When was the last time someone parodied you?
2. When was the last time someone parodied your idea?
3. When was the last time someone parodied your company?

If your answer is, “Never,” then that should tell your something.

Kind of reminds us of the old saying, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery."

See, if people aren’t at least TALKING about you – much less joking about you – you’re in trouble.

LESSON LEARNED: Businesses that get made fun of get more business.

Usually.

Obviously, Enron isn’t exactly a thriving corporation anymore.

Obviously, Crystal Pepsi didn’t exactly win the Soft Drink of Year.

But in many cases, people and ideas and organizations that are joked about, parodied – even made fun of – are usually the ones who are making a name for themselves.

And in my experience (as someone who gets made fun of a lot) there are five reasons why parody leads to profit:

1. It means you’re getting NOTICED. Amidst the clutter, infinite choices – and within the narrow window of time you have to get your message out – it’s an accomplishment just to get someone’s attention!

So, because nobody notices normal anymore, breaking through that initial clutter is the most important step. Just being recognized is a victory!

2. It means you're being REMEMBERED. That’s the next step. Because usually, those who get noticed … get remembered. And those who get remembered, get business. That is, as long as there’s SOME substance to back up the shtick.

Of course, the brain (still) HAS to be appealed to emotionally! So, that’s why when it comes to memory, humor works best. That which is ridiculous and exaggerated is remembered.

3. It means you’re getting TALKED ABOUT. Oscar Wilde once remarked, “The only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about.” So, even if you or your ideas are being parodied, joked about or spoofed on, think of it as a compliment AND a victory.

REMEMBER:If your clients are not actively telling their friends about you, that probably means THIS.

4. You’re being IMITATED. Seth Godin recently came out with an action figure. It's HILARIOUS! And it's a perfect example of being parodyable.

So, if people are imitating your idea, that should tell you a few things. Things like:

o It’s remarkable
o It’s worth copying
o It’s simple to understand
o It’s the origin, not the echo
o It’s unique, not different.

Sounds like a good idea to me!

5. It means you''re being MARKETED. Sure, it might sting a bit to see a group of 16 year-old kids parody your company in a YouTube video. But at the lowest common denominator – that’s still free publicity! If I were you, I’d send them a thank you note. Er, maybe some brownies.

- - -

Now, understandably, nobody likes being made fun of.

So, I’m not encouraging you to go out there and humiliate yourself. Nor am I suggesting that any company who gets made fun of will automatically become successful.

However, let us not forget the power of the poke.

Because in my experience, parody often leads to profit.

After all, if people aren’t at least TALKING about you, your idea and your company, you’re doing something wrong.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Who's making fun of YOU?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
Share your best example of a successful company or idea that's been parodied!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

...only 12 more days until NametagTV.com goes ON AIR!