A Wrinkle in Time Commitments

Think in terms of the consumer’s time commitment:

Book – Movie – Soundtrack – Theme/Key Song(s) – Individual Marketing

Fifty Shades Freed (3rd book in a series) or the Black Panther comic books would take you multiple hours and/or multiple days to read.

Either movie would take you about 2 hours to watch.

Either soundtrack would take you about 1 hour to listen to.

Any promoted/”hit” single from either soundtrack (example, “For You” and “Pray for Me) would take you about 3 minutes to listen to.

The posters, web ads, and memes take a split second to scroll past, and a few more if you want to pay attention or share them.

The big product is the story. Time commitments and platforms help determine audiences and consumption (SALES). More people will probably watch either of these movies than will read the books. The marketing efforts are therefore different, but once you’re in the universe, the tactics shift.

This tactical shift is different from some call “stickiness” or even the “once they’ve gotten their hooks in you…” logic. You’re not trapped in this universe, you are voting – with your time – to be there. The tactic shifts from making you curious to re-stimulating positive associations.

You might be willing to stream the soundtrack at the gym, but somebody else might only hear a single in the back of an Uber, and yet another person will appreciate some meme on Facebook. Every time, you reconnect in at least a little way with the story. Every time you reconnect with the vibe of that universe.

Every business has this capability – to think about their story, their vision, their mission, and then the various time commitments and platforms that their consumers/users can be positively reminded of their vibe.

Think about Apple: the history of the company (Steve Jobs), the history of the user culture (Mac vs. PC), the hardware ecosystem (iMac, iPhone, Beats, etc.), the software ecosystem (iOS, iTunes), the marketing (from the iPod ads to the new X ads). Once you’re in the universe, you keep getting reminded of it – and when Apple is doing it best, those reminders are subtle little positive ones.

Apple’s mission and vision statement (of which the evolution of is worth a Google search) basically says that their purpose is to make great products, to focus on innovation, to be simple and not complex, to own the tech behind the products they make, and to not settle for anything less than excellence. Next time you see an ad on TV, ask yourself if the ad – a relatively small time commitment – is answering that statement in some way. Is the product great? Innovative? Simple? Do you want to be in the Apple user tribe like the people in the commercial?

Then, look in the mirror, look at your business, look at the company you work for – and think about the smallest time commitment from one of your customers/users/clients. Maybe you don’t have fancy TV ads, but when you answer the phone, do you support your mission and vision with the same engineered insistence that Apple does?

Did you create, populate, and curate the universe so that all things trigger an association with the best part of your company’s story? It’s hard, but it’s worth it. It might even be necessary.

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