Several months ago, Susan Boyle’s entire social life and public exposure consisted of singing at her local karaoke bar in a tiny Scottish town. Now, she’s an international media sensation with scores of YouTube hits, Facebook fans and A-list admirers. Oprah can’t book her fast enough. Everyone wants a piece of this lady. It’s really amazing. One performance has changed her life forever.
Everyone knows about the power of television. Most people are catching on to the value and impact of social media. But what message does the Susan Boyle story tell us about business? There are many, but I want to focus on just one: differentiation.
Like most business consultants, I am a huge proponent of pseudo-academic concepts like value propositions, elevator speeches and corporate positioning. What makes your business unique? Why are you special? What do you have that others do not? What needs do you satisfy for your prospects and clients? Susan Boyle’s story is a great case study because it animates and contextualizes these rather dull concepts.
Susan has a great voice…but so do a lot of people we’ll never know. We welcome Susan into our lives because she is clearly “different”. Let’s be honest, she has the proverbial “face for radio”, which is why Simon Cowell and the rest of the world were shocked by her wonderful performance. But beyond the obvious superficial distinctions, her entire story resonates. A poor, middle-aged woman from a remote village nobody’s ever heard of. Never been kissed, let alone had a boyfriend. One shot on the big stage and she NAILS IT!………….. WOW!
Susan Boyle is indeed different. She is definitely unique. Susan is the “Rocky” of the music industry. Her story fits perfectly with the underdog/”don’t judge a book by its cover” formula. She fills a need by making us feel good about ourselves for accepting her on pure merit rather than rejecting her on first glance. She also made us feel that anything is possible, both on a personal and cultural level. She gave us hope for a kinder, more open, less judgmental society. In one night, Susan Boyle became a “BRAND”!
You may think have a great product or service… but is it just another karaoke tune or something very special that is ready for “prime time”? What’s your company’s story? Why should anyone listen? Will you be the next Susan Boyle in your industry? What’s your “WOW”?