You Can't Change Customers

Where did the Muppets go wrong?

If you saw the Muppets' latest TV outing, chances are pretty good that you were repelled. Aside from trying to turn the characters that we grew up with and loved into something that they're not - tabloid-worthy - the show failed because it tried to change us. We don't want to think of Kermit and Miss Piggy as sleazy paparazzi-bait. We want to forever believe that they represent what we really hope we are.

Buried deep in all of us is a hard-wired monkey brain that hates change. When asked what we believe and polled about what we want, we routinely lie. Our response to gun violence is a perfect example: If as many of us were against mass shootings as the polls suggest, there would already be universal background checks.

It's not what we say that matters - it's what we do.

Rod Serling understood that; the Twilight Zone was nothing if not a textbook of human behavior. All of the best storytellers have an innate grasp of what we are - Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Winston Churchill, and even Donald Trump. They lead not by trying to steer us in a certain direction, but by finding out where we want to go and pointing the way.

Any venture that contains the words "We'll get them to..." fails. The secret to selling anything, whether it's a product, an idea, a service, or a persona, is to find out where your Customers are already going and beat them there.

Do anything else, and you'll wind up alone in a cul-de-sac.

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