In this game, we’re all professional attention seekers. We crave the public’s gaze more than a streaker at a cup final. The trouble with attention though, is it’s hard to hold.
Being disruptive and getting instant attention is easy. It’s so easy babies instinctively do it as soon as they board a Ryanair flight. But there’s a big difference between an instant ear-ache and a lasting memory.
The stuff that lasts – that requires commitment.
Think of how long Red Bull’s given you wiiiiings, or try to remember the first time Kit-Kat told you to have a break – these are timelessly ownable concepts that were achieved through timeless dedication.
The general public really don’t care about our brands. They don’t sit eagerly anticipating our ‘key messages’. They’re busy living. They’ll maybe catch half a TV ad on the way back from the loo, a glimpse of a social post while thumbing through Instagram, a passing slice of a billboard while driving home. If we haven’t thought ruthlessly about the big idea we want to be famous for, we stand very little chance of being famous for anything.
Like Guinness World Records.
Let’s say there’s a fella who tries a different record every week: most people in a VW mini, then longest toenails, then most tattoos, then highest freefall without a parachute.
And another person who just does baths of beans. They dedicate their life to beanology and bathonomy. They pore over different models and volumes, they become an authority on the bean-bath rules, study the different brands with different tins and who has the most beans per can, etc etc.
Who’s more likely to break a world record?
Did Michael Jordan spend his youth committing evenly to a bit of basketball, some crochet, a wee touch of theoretical physics, writing a novel about Louis XIV, and rehearsing the double bass for the big hoedown?
No, he played basketball.
He shot for the hoop again and again and again probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of times until he was a master. He dedicated his young life to one idea. (Before becoming a largely unsuccessful baseball player and actor but he was already famous for basketball by then so we’re ignoring that).
Every ball that left his huge hands didn’t swoop through the hoop flawlessly. Some dinged the rim. Some banged awkwardly against the backboard. But he always aimed for the same thing. It’s a numbers game and you can stack the odds in your favour by having focus. By throwing all your creativity at one single, sharp idea.
Research your tins. Measure your tub. Slide in and let the cold, viscous tomato goodness caress your skin like an expensive balm…
Find your bath of beans.