Not that one either … where’d I put that thing?
:::rummaging through digital drives:::
There we go. THAT Firefly.
My point: Object lessons about business marketing are everywhere, if you know — no, not where to look — but how to look.
Case in point? Read on …
But First, A Bit of Background
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past century, here’s the 411 on Firefly in bullet form:
- Created by Buffy/Angel/Dollhouse genius Joss Whedon
- Kind of like Bonanza meets Ocean’s 11 meets Star Trek with a little Welcome Back Kotter thrown in.
- Aired on Fox for exactly one season — actually, less than one season. Fourteen episodes. (Yes, we’re still bitter.)
- That? Was ten years ago.
- Today – ten years and one feature film (Serenity) later? RABID, PASSIONATE, MASSIVE FAN BASE.
So what does all this awesome have to do with small business marketing of the digital kind? Plenty, as it turns out …
Lesson #1: Nobody Will Care About You(r Business) Until They Care About Your (Business) Story
Why is Firefly still going strong all these years later?
Well, lots of reasons, really, but one of the key reasons is this: Joss Whedon knows how to tell a ripping good yarn.
Each of those fourteen episodes boasted a strong script that focused on story elements that were compelling, provocative, and highly entertaining.
Want to rev up your tribe? Start looking for ways to use story-telling in your marketing content.
Lesson #2: Getting the Right People On Board Is Not Just a Good Idea — It’s EVERYTHING
Joss Whedon is also known for getting the right people to say “yes” — bringing together a diverse cast and crew that somehow merge together to create a whole that’s greater than even the very impressive sum of its parts.
Firefly was no exception. Even after only fourteen episodes and one feature film, you’d be hard pressed to find a fan who could even envision some other actor filling any particular role. They somehow just … fit. Perfectly.
Even if you’re a solopreneur, the same is true for you: you need to assemble a team that provides that kind of rightness of fit. That’s true not only of independent contractors, vendors, suppliers, and virtual assistants … it’s also true of your tools, the components of your various business and marketing systems, the social media channels you utilize.
The right people can be the difference between wild success and abject failure.
Lesson #3: There Is NOTHING In the ‘Verse More Powerful Than an Embraced-and-Empowered Fan Base of Brand Ambassadors
Why is Firefly still culturally relevant? I mean, look at it – less than one full season, ten years ago … this thing should have rolled out of the public lexicon ages ago.
But it didn’t.
Two words: The Fans.
Embrace and empower your repeat customers to become your best source of marketing: brand ambassadors. Dedicate yourself to creating a unique experience for each of your customers/clients so that they turn into raving fans, sharing with their peeps the sheer magnitude of your awesomeness.
Lesson #4: Sadly, It Really Is, At Some Level, All About the Numbers …
With all that awesome going on, why did Firefly get canceled after airing only eleven episodes?
Because the numbers just weren’t there.
And if the numbers aren’t there for you, then your business will fail eventually.
So pay attention to the metrics. Do not fear the numbers — confront them and make peace with them. Understand them. Use them. Then improve them.
Lesson #6: … Except When It’s Not.
Every once in awhile, though, some franchise will come along that defies expectations, refuses to go quietly into that good long night of permanent hiatus-ville — Firefly is probably the prime example.
Sometimes, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
That’s why it’s a good idea to have actual conversations with clients and prospects – and competitors. Get the whole picture of the state of your industry and the health of your micro-economy.
Lesson #7: Take a Chance, and Believe In What You’re Selling.
The biggest reason Firefly is such a success story probably has to do with Joss Whedon himself, and by extension the key players he assembled for the cast.
He could have taken his toys and gone home after the network bigwigs canceled his show.
Instead, he believed in that vision. He championed it. His cast did the same. And thus was born Serenity. And a second life for the canceled series. And a bunch of conventions and fan fiction and fan art and DVDs …
You get the picture.
Believe in your creation. And be willing to take some calculated chances with the way you market that creation.
This post is part of the awesome Word Carnival. You should totally click right here to read more posts on this month’s theme: Close (Biz) Encounters of the Sci-Fi Kind. That’s right: we’re geekin’ out, people!