This past weekend, my wife and I watched a documentary. The title of the documentary was called “Won't You Be My Neighbor?” Now some of you are saying, “Oh, that's Mister Rogers!” and other people are going, “Huh?” Well Mister Rogers, Fred Rogers, had a TV show from the early '60s to the '70s called “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.” It was a kids' show. It was based out of Philadelphia originally, then he worked in Boston, and he became very famous for his work with children and social issues.
Depending on whether you grew up with him, and your family upbringing, you may have found him to be just enthralling. You may remember watching the show.
I grew up a New York Italian. We didn't find that sort of stuff all that cool; it was almost a little creepy. But no matter what, the man was an icon. He had a sense of what kids felt, and how to make them feel better. So I thought to myself as I was watching this, I'm saying, “What if we tried to apply some of that thinking to our marketing? Could it work? Would it work?”
Putting The FEAR in FOMO
Some people would say no. Because advertising, in a lot of ways, is just about trying to create a want in people. In order to create a want in people, often you have to make them feel bad. Like FOMO, fear of missing out: “If you don't get this now, you're not going to be that great!” Or, “You could be better than you are right now. If you just could afford that Mercedes-Benz, man, your friends would look at you and say you're moving on up to the town.” Right? Because you've got this great car and so, man, you've made it! Then there's the “keeping up with the Joneses” thing. It's like, “They've got a big house. We've got a big house.” It's like, “I've gotta be strong.” All these things that are meant to build you up.
It's also like Instagram. I hate to tell you guys this, but Instagram is primarily using models, and makeup artists, and lighting, and professional photography, all to make you feel like, “Hey, I want this thing!” It's not real life in a lot of ways. Some of it is real people (as in your friends) who take real pictures and put them up there. But a lot of the brands are just trying to sell you who you could be, rather than who you are.
So, what's the difference between that traditional advertising model and, say, a Mister Rogers advertising model?
Well, the biggest thing about Mister Rogers is he knew how to get at the heart of children. He knew how to make them feel. So what I want to do is give you five concepts that I pulled away from this movie which I remember from my childhood that just might apply to your marketing. It might apply to your audience. It's not going to work for everybody, but it could.
The biggest thing about Mister Rogers is that he heard children. In other words, he listened and asked questions. He would get down to their level and look them in the eye, with his puppets, and he would sit and talk to them very slowly, and ask them questions, and let them respond. He spoke and listened to them on THEIR level.
He heard what they had to say, and he interacted with them based on what it is that they were saying. So, are we so busy trying to promote our stuff and change the world? Or are we really listening to what our audience wants? Are we taking the time and attention for them?
Just Being You
The second one is acceptance. One of the things that he did is he wanted everybody in the room, all inclusive. It didn't matter your age, your gender, your ethnicity, anything like that — they were all equal in his eyes. And he made them feel that way. Kids would line up to see him. They just felt like, “Oh, I've got to meet this man, and his puppets.” So the thing that he did is he showed them empathy, and told them, “You are perfect just the way you are.”
You could use that in your marketing. You could tell people, “You are fine just the way you are.” That doesn't create the want or the need, but it makes them feel accepted. It makes them feel like part of your tribe. Maybe that's the essence of what you can use from that particular tip.
You Are Loved
The next thing is that he made them feel loved, that they were special. He let them know that they were not alone, no matter what their flaws, or maybe what their parents were telling them, or what other kids at school may have said — he wanted them to know that they were special. They were loved and they needed to embrace their uniqueness.
Can you use marketing messages to help people express their uniqueness, to feel stronger about themselves? If your brand, if your product, or your service, helps them do that without making them feel guilty and beating them down, you might have a client for life.
“Look For The Helpers”
Another thing that Mister Rogers did is he made people feel safe. He had this one quote that really got me. Also, in part of the movie he was talking about 9/11, and he was torn. He was like, “What can I say that would make a difference after the 9/11 tragedy?” But here is the quote: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”
So can you use that? Can you convince people that you're there for their safety, for their benefit, to improve their lives? Are you going at it in a way that you are the helper, and people find you because you are helping? That could be part of your brand.
The final piece to this puzzle is you are worthy. He always showed kids respect. He understood that they had feelings. He understood that they were people. He always met them right where they were at that moment. He didn't need to meet them in the future. He didn't need to meet them in the past. He was in the present.
Can your message get across that you're looking at people in a way that their present is exactly what you're addressing, that they feel akin and worthy, that they can utilize your product to do whatever, to feel better, to grow their business? It doesn't matter; are they worthy?
Let me go over those five again: he made people feel heard, accepted, loved, safe, and worthy.
Now let's think about sales. Sales is about closing, overcoming objections, selling the benefits, and features, and things like that. But a lot of time people just want to feel accepted. So is there something that we've discussed today that you could use to help people feel like they're okay, like they're special, like you care about them, and like their needs come first? That's the key.
Whether you knew Mister Rogers or never even heard of him, whether you loved him or were creeped out, the bottom line is the man cared. And he lived every day to its fullest.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?
To learn more about this and other topics on Internet Marketing, visit our podcast website at http://www.baconpodcast.com/podcasts/