Halloween is over, yes, but there are still some great lessons we can glean from the candy-laden holiday. In fact, there are really great themes we can take away from the boldness of little kids in Power Ranger suits in general. Adults lose a lot of their creativity and confidence to some notion of “fitting in” and, in this case, zero candy.
So, as I finish my thirteenth bag of skittles (hey, they’re fun size!), let’s take a look what costumed-up, sugar-coated MARKETING principles we can take away from trick-or-treating:
Be Bold, Cinderella
Two Halloweens ago a little lady came knocking on my door. She was around 5 years old and was dressed head-to-toe in a Cinderella costume. “Hi.” she says as I’m opening the door, “I’m Cinderella and I’ll have some of that candy!”
Bold. And adorable. I love the boldness in little kids. They know who (or what) they are and they aren’t afraid to tell you about it. This little girl was Cinderella and she was at my door to get candy. No beating around the bush, no worrying, just genuine, “Hi, I’m Cinderella and I’ll have some of that candy!”
Business craves this authenticity. Does that sort of verbiage that Cinderella used with me fit every brand? Of course not! But authenticity is an outfit that looks great on any company. And that shouldn’t be a costume you put on every once in a while. Consumers, stakeholders, etc, crave authenticity — especially today when it’s harder and harder to find.
PRINCIPLE: Be genuine, authentic, and forthcoming about who you are and what your mission is as an organization.
You’re Not A Ghost, Mr. Johnson
There should be quotes around that because I heard another little kid call out his friends dad with those words. “You’re not a ghost, Mr. Johnson! You’re just wearing a shirt with a ghost on it!” was the full quote, actually.
We see videos like that all the time. “I’m customer-centric because I mentioned that I have customers.” False — you just talked about yourself and mentioned how someone else responds to you. “We’re the leaders in XYZ”. Nope — you’re the best at X and are working on Y and Z.
You’re not a ghost, Mr. Company; so either put on the right outfit or stop claiming that you’re wearing it.
PRINCIPLE: Create collateral that is relevant to your consumers and genuine to your offering.
Mary Got More Candy! :(
HUGE frowns-face on this one. My sister Mary and I were trick-or-treating fiends back in the day. Not only did we conquer our neighborhood, we would go up to our friends neighborhood and sometimes even down into the following neighborhood. We’d be collecting snickers and twix for so long that we would fill up not just our pumpkin-candy-carrier, no, we would start packing out the extra two or three pillow cases we brought as well.
One year I was tired (and crabby, but don’t tell me that or there will be words), so I quite early. I went back home after our neighborhood while Mary and my little brothers and friends went on to scavenge out the remaining candy in Eagan, MN.
I will never forgot the horrified realization I came to when they got back with those pillow cases… I was candy-less compared to them. I had left candy on the table by retiring early. I asked my parents to go out again with me but it was too late now. This was not ok and there were zero things I could do about it.
So what's the point, Jake? The point is that organizations do the same exact thing but with money, not candy. They stick to “methods that are working” or “a way that is performing just fine”, and they shoot themselves in the foot and leave candy, or money, on the table by not doing things correctly or by cutting corners with their video production (or lack thereof).
PRINCIPLE: Don’t leave money on the table by trying to cut corners, undercut pricing, and losing value.