Why Do People Jump On Any Old S***
No one can build a foundation when they constantly chase.
Why do we have to corrupt things with the whole intention to relentlessly make money from it?
Similarly why do hoards of businesses fill spaces with nothing to say with the intention to be informative?
It all comes down to jumping on anything because everyone else is.
We are all looking for the magic bullet. The appetite is there, that’s why we jump on bandwagons.
Matter Of Time With PokemonGo
What started as a groundbreaking way for people to immerse themselves in a world that they have never been part of before, has now turned into a means for companies to make money from.
PokemonGo will always be a ‘what happened in 2016’ moment when business and the zeitgeist collided head on. However it didn’t take long for others to capitalise on it.
From Pokemon themed pizzas, to businesses monetising on Pokestops, if a raft is presented to people, they will set sail. Why not become a Pokemon Trainer and charge £15 an hour, or if you have a car charge £25 an hour as a Pokemon driver? That sounds better than making money for the man.
Brands Losing Focus…What They’re Doing
Brands are jumping on any old s***, but people turn away. This tweet by an air freshener company didn’t ignite a hoard of goodwill within their 14.3k followers.
We can do better than this.
For the business jumping on how to monetise, just because someone downloaded the game last month, doesn’t mean that they’ll still be here come September.
Whilst the world is in the PokemonGo space, we were in that furore last April with the release of the Apple Watch. During 2016 Q2 Apple Watch sales were down 55% compared to last year. Does the drop in sales mean that the must have product for Spring 2015 is now just a nostalgic memory?
When There’s Nothing New To Report
It is something that is inherent in all of us to pursue something because everyone else is.
There is only so much communication that can go round. Take for instance the birth of Prince George in July 2013. People were listening/watching whilst there was no news to report.
BBC’s Simon McCoy highlighted the occasion of centring on relentless news that carried no story, he said on air “Well, plenty more to come from here of course. None of it news because that will come from Buckingham Palace. But that won’t stop us.”
This is similar to businesses taking a different approach intended to inform and entertain with relentless publishing but little content.
Linking the royal birth and business, Simon McCoy also said, ”Never have so many people gathered together in one place with absolutely nothing to say.”
That’s where we are today in business with many looking to jump in a space with nothing to say or jump on a bandwagon where someone else has done the hard work.
Ways To Keep Focused On What Matters
So, what are the lessons for you to have a space that you have responsibility for and create your own momentum, not chase somebody else’s tail and become a casualty of the hype.
Have an intention – Everything that you do has to have a purpose. Just because you have been nominated for an award, how does that contribute to your overall goal? You can’t get excited about the tools and forget the reason why you’re doing what you do.
Tools complement a strategy (not the other way round) – Getting on board something that looks popular doesn’t mean that it is right. You cannot be led astray by the lure of the tactic without having a clear strategy from the outset.
Patience is key – the quick wins don’t hold the keys to the promised land of a loyal audience and customer base that stand with you. You measure what works over time, not sliding in that quick fix.
Keep with what works for you – if you have started a path such as the blogging efforts and are achieving traction (such as subscribers, comments and interaction) you can’t get sucked in as you are building momentum to other areas that are shouting for your investment of time (it’s ok to put the podcast or video series on the back burner).
Hype takes you only so far – if you put your eggs into the Star Wars: The Force Awakens basket back in December, a few months later we’ve all moved onto Ghostbusters. The hype can only take you so far, you need to have the ability to stand on your own two feet, not borrow the slippers of someone else.
Passion attracts a crowd – to show up is one thing, to do it with belief and conviction is another. In the words of Seth Godin, “Just because you’re right, doesn’t mean they’re going to listen. It takes more than being right to earn attention and action.”
Know what you do and the reason you help others – you have to look beyond the service or product you sell. The value you provide a marketplace has to be separate from the thing that you invoice.
Positioning is key – to not become part of a bandwagon means staying true to the role your company plays in the marketplace and the meaning behind what you do. A tweet linking a brand to David Bowie and Prince in 2016, has either been seen as shameless product placement or a tenuous link to a shared brand value of independence, individuality, courage and a deep rooted pioneering attitude.
Content has to be continually relevant for an audience – hype explodes, then fizzles out. The worst place to be is scratching around for relevance and looking for an audience to attach to. When you become focused and targeted on letting everyone else get carried away by their business becoming a Pokestop, at some point that Pokestop becomes the minidisc stop for a Spotify era.
The thing that ties these points together is that following trends takes us down an alley with everyone else. Today is about earning the right from those who demand it.
Lets Round Up
If we are looking at this role of fad, lets define it as Follow And Dive.
The role that we play as businesses has to come back to a role to serve others, not become diverted by the pursuit of something that isn’t right for your business, or your audience.
Constantly chasing means a loss of focus. The reason people jump on any old s*** is not because they provide a way to draw the attention of others, but because they are easily distracted.
Whether it’s Pokemon this month, sponsored drones delivering purchases next year, to full VR holidays allowing product placement without leaving your home, they all keep us from focusing on the things we should be focused on.
When you understand the role you play, the strategy that binds everything together and acknowledge an audience that trusts you, these become the polestar to follow not the shooting star that everyone else glances at and then disappears.