Seth Godin on Ideaviruses

This is part of the Seth Godin on Story wiki. Check out my chat with Seth, dig deeper into the art and science of business storytelling.

Stay with me here. In the glorious 1995 movie, The Usual Suspects, Dean Keaton (played by Gabriel Byrne) is pitching a restaurant to investors:

It’s simple gentlemen, design versatility. A restaurant that can change with taste without losing the overall aesthetic. Our atmosphere won’t be painted on the walls.

Steve Jobs said something similar:

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

There’s a similarly rich seam running through Seth Godin’s books … the idea that marketing is about creating things worth talking about and stepping out of the way. Marketing is not ‘painted on the walls’ … it’s built-in at every level.

And when we do that … people will talk.

the future belongs to marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other. Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk.

Unleashing the Ideavirus (2000) – Seth Godin

But while word of mouth works great among the people who use a product and their immediate friends—if I love your story or hate your service, I’ll tell a few friends—it dies out fast. There’s no chance a friend of a friend is going to tell you about my horrible experience on United Airlines or how much I loved flying on Southwest. Word of mouth fades out after a few exchanges.

But now, aided by the Net and abetted by the incredible clutter in our universe, ideaviruses are spreading like wildfire. We’re all obsessed with ideas because ideas, not products, are the engine of our new economy.

Unleashing the Ideavirus (2000) – Seth Godin

The influential sneezers, the people with a problem to solve – they’re open to hearing your story only if it’s truly remarkable; otherwise, you’re invisible.

Purple Cow (2003)- Seth Godin

You can dream of the AOL strategy or the Oprah strategy or some other strategy that involves vast amounts of cash or vast amounts of attention. Far more realistic (and profitable) is to ignite your networks. To create a story that spreads from person to person, from blog to blog, that moves through a community and leaves an impact as it does.

Meatball Sundae (2008) – Seth Godin

Old, one-way talking is being killed by clutter. TV is down. Radio is down. Newspapers and magazines are down and almost out. Customers are ignoring you all the time. But, it turns out that enabling your best customers to tell their friends about you is up, way up. Making remarkable stuff that is worth talking about is up. The most important kind of talking is storytelling. Not top-down dictation, but stories that resonate, stories that are authentic, stories that spread.

Small Is The New Big (2006) – Seth Godin

Ideas that spread, win.

This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See (2018) – Seth Godin

The hard work of creating the change you seek to make begins with designing evangelism into the very fabric of what you’re creating. People aren’t going to spread the word because it’s important to you. They’ll only do it because it’s important to them. Because it furthers their goals, because it permits them to tell a story themselves that they are proud of.

This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See (2018) – Seth Godin

See Also:

On ArtOn Assets | On Attention | On Authenticity | On Average | On Foundations | On HumansOn Intangibles | On LeadershipOn Marketing |  On Mythology | On Niching | On Permission



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