Turning business inside-out (the Mojo approach to marketing)

A lot of people ask us, “Why did you call your company MojoLife?” Most have heard of the term ‘mojo’ (often in relation to the Austin Powers movie!) and associate it with self-confidence and attractiveness. 

But in a business context, what MojoLife celebrates is that certainty and inner belief that individuals and companies with mojo display. I’m talking about people like Rick Stein and Mary Portas and companies like Aardman Animations and Innocent Smoothies. They have a strong sense of identity and purpose. You can’t imagine them acting out of character, simply because you know what they stand for. They epitomise what we mean by authenticity – how they behave on the outside matches who they are on the inside. 

To a large extent, this is what MojoLife is about. Its ethos is to turn business inside-out, to focus on what’s within first before looking outside.  

From a practical standpoint, this might mean examining what you have in your locker before you look elsewhere for answers – your employees, your existing clients and the outcomes you’re generating for them (related in the form of stories). Chances are you have some terrific things going on in your business – but are you recognising them…and talking about them? 

In a more humanistic sense, it’s also about looking inside ourselves and the people we’re trying to influence. What drives us and them? Are we connecting with people on a deep enough level? Are we making them feel the right things? Do we know why we’re doing what we do? 

So to make sense of this and place it right at the heart of the workplace, I’m going to highlight some examples of where this ‘mojo’ principle of inside-out applies – starting with marketing.

Marketing

Picture the scene – you’re a Business Development Manager for a medium sized law firm and the Managing Partner calls you into his office.

(MP) Suzie, we need more clients! We’ve got to really get out there and tell people what we do. Can we get the team together and plan a campaign? 

(Suzie) Well actually boss, what I think we should do first is change what we talk about. 

(MP) Huh? 

(Suzie) It’s no good networking more or running advertising campaigns if what we’re saying isn’t worth listening to. To the outside world, we don’t look any different to our competitors. We need to start promoting the things that make us unique. We need to give people a reason to choose us. 

What Suzie’s suggesting here is a quite different to what most companies are doing right now. Faced with the task of generating more sales, our inclination is to focus outwardly. Who hasn’t heard about us yet? Let’s see who we can target. Let’s get out there. 

The problem isn’t so much the reach or frequency of the campaign – it’s the strength of the message. If you simply inform people you exist, that you have 6 regional offices, 56 partners and cover all aspects of the law, that’s hardly compelling stuff.  

But if you talk about the things in your business that make you you, chances are you’ll get noticed. So what does make you you? How about your people? What about the relationships they have and the stories they’re generating? This is your personal real estate; no one can lay claim to these things because you’re in them!  

Companies like Southwest Airlines do this well; their blogging team includes pilots, baggage handlers and check-in attendants – a group of perhaps 30 people all on the lookout for stories. When Captain Joe soothes a troublesome young passenger by giving him his hat and sitting him at the controls of the aircraft, he pictures the moment and feeds the story to the blog editor.

When you recognise what constitutes a story (it’s a form of internal PR) you seem to find material everywhere, and it’s these anecdotes that create depth and variety in the company’s communications. They help to convey your uniqueness and provide an insight into what you stand for. 

These are the things that lie within, the things that make you distinctive as a company. That’s why your marketing campaign should start by looking on the INSIDE.

Are you generating business stories worth spreading?

I heard a fascinating presentation from the Bell Pottinger (North) group yesterday. They’re public relations experts and the topic was how to use social media as a powerful PR tool in business.

At the end one of the presenters told me a great story about a man who was travelling on a train to Euston for an important business meeting. He’d made an extra effort that morning to look his best (smart suit, pressed shirt) but nothing could have prepared him for the lady passenger who stumbled as she walked by, spilling coffee over him!

Interestingly, the lady from the PR agency hadn’t witnessed the incident first hand – she’d picked up a tweet from the poor man along the lines of…”OMG, woman just spilt coffee over my suit and on way to big meet. Why me???” 

As it happens, the PR lady knew someone at the train company and she tweeted/called her suggesting they rectify the situation in a novel way. It might go like this: 

Train manager is alerted to the incident. The man is comforted by staff and provided with napkins, water, etc (in first class). He’s asked to meet a train company manager when he gets off at Euston and there’s a taxi waiting to whisk him to the nearest men’s outfitters. They fit him up for a new suit, shirt and tie (photographer present), the train company foots the bill (in fact the retailers go halves) and you’ve got the PR scoop of the year! 

Did it happen? Did it heck, but wouldn’t it have been fabulous? 

A few points here: 

  • I like the way the woman from Bell Pottinger thinks – I’d want them doing my PR! 
  • It’s amazing how the immediacy and reach of twitter creates opportunities like this. 
  • If you get a chance to create a PR scoop like this, seize it!
  • Good stories get spread. 

So as a parting shot, as yourself if you’re creating/spotting opportunities like this for stories about your business? You’ve probably got some amazing incidents to draw upon, but I’ll bet they’re not being captured. Think like that PR lady and you’ll realise how much you’ve got that’s worth talking about.