People Want to Be Inspired

As I have watched brands grow and die I have come to the conclusion that the concept of value is an important ingredient in a successful site, but as an editorial content provider, value alone is not enough to grow much past sustainability.

People want to have something they can talk about and share, something they can relate to, and something that inspires them and brings them hope. Emotional appeal is typically far more important than logical appeal. In some cases the hope is for change of things they do not like, but that has three potential outcomes

  • the fight is one that will not be won (and the ideas you are fighting against may be gaining ground in other markets)

  • change is brought about and the people creating change eventually forget where they came from, walk on other people without care, and become the people they once despised (relevancy comes and goes like the seasons)
  • change is brought about and the cause no longer exists

After a battle is over you still have to have something worth talking about and create something inspiring if you are to keep attention and mindshare.

How much money is spent marketing fear to people? Do you need health insurance? Would you still need it if you ate healthy? People gravitate toward their interests for an escape from fear-mongering and other injustices that are baked into society.

Fear is easy to forget, and is a message that needs to be marketed over and over again to cause response. In most cases, spreading fear also has limited upside social is more commonly used to exploit people, so we learn to tune it out. We take off our shoes before going through the metal detectors, but how many people still sleep on the airplane? I know I do. And people live on the sides of mountains, in fire zones, and where earthquakes are common. I know I do.

Why do award programs work so well? They are easy to relate too and make people feel good. Nearly daily I get emails about how a person quit their job or sold their business because I inspired them and helped them want to go out on their own.

When I think of the most explosive growth periods in brands I have helped build they are typically associated with periods of time when the owner was passionate about what they were doing. That passion attracts people who share it and want to spread it. When I think of the periods that they lost marketshare they are more in-line with the times they lack creativity and passion.

In a saturated market packaging and formatting are often more important than the message. Sustainable value systems change with the times.

As an entrepreneur most of us have many failures before we have any successes. I recently made the Technorati top 100 blogs, but have already dropped to 102, and that position will likely fade unless I can be a bit more inspiring than I have been recently.

Published: July 20, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing


Jatin Dhillon
July 20, 2007 - 4:25am

Hey Aaron , I checked your previous websites .Attaboy you are my hero!

Steven Bradley
July 20, 2007 - 5:03am

Aaron if it means anything I've generally found you to be an inspiration. You've taught me quite a lot and helped shaped my thinking about seo, marketing, and business in general.

Paris Roussos
July 20, 2007 - 5:08am

Maybe thats why Ron Paul is doing so well online. I watched his lecture at Google. The google crowd was goo google over him. Did you mean one or won in your first bullet point? Passion is key. Algorithms have a rough time being passionate too. Coke builds caffeine into their brand for at least some psuedopassion. Life is meant to be exciting, we are born to be passionate.

July 20, 2007 - 5:11am

Great comment Paris. And I fixed the error. Thanks for mentioning it.

July 20, 2007 - 5:14am

what you said about fear reminds me of what the university tried to do to the students in tipping point: made them fear something, but still nobody would go to the doctor to take precautions, b/c they obviously simply blended it out...

or like my friend who raved about those low-radiation headphones (whos a bit scared of radiation). I ask him: "So are you going to buy one?" - "No, I dont have enough money, right now.."

Damien Donnelly
July 20, 2007 - 6:27am

you continually inspire me, thanks

S Michener
July 20, 2007 - 7:04am

Like a breath of fresh air, thanks for your honesty and for inspiring others Aaron. - "What one man can do another can do"

July 20, 2007 - 1:58pm

When I started working as a copywriter on the DaimlerChrysler account years back, I was frustrated because art directors got so much more creative room, while I was stuck writing brochure copy about things like turn radius and torque.

When I expressed my frustration to my boss, he told me: "Pictures make people feel good. Copy justifies their purchase." Sometimes creating content isn't always the most glamorous part of the job, but when it is done right, it can often be the element that leads to the conversion or closes the deal, especially as the price tag of the product goes up.

Great post, Aaron. I feel your frustration. And I learn a lot from your blog.

July 20, 2007 - 3:56pm

Hey Aaron:

I didn't realize you were an ex-Submariner. I read in your book that you left the military, but I didn't realize it was from subs. What were you, an RO (ET)? You go to prototype in Saratoga?

I took a look at your newnavy site and have to say that a lot of what you are saying is correct. I too am/was a submariner who is getting out of the Navy very soon for exactly what you are stating in your website. In fact, I'm trying to follow a similar path as yours (hence the book), in a different market, and can only hope to be half as successful.

I work in DC right now next to the crazy people who make submariner's lives miserable. In fact, three weeks ago, I got to sit on a panel where about 30 two and three star admirals asked me and 4 other people as to why so many people are getting out of the Navy/submarine force (3 times as many in 2006 as the average). As politely as I could, I tried to explain that THEY are the ones who make life extremely hard for the average sailor because of the rediculous burdens they place on us. You know what COMNAVSUBFOR's (the head of the submarine community) response was? "Ohh, I'm sorry, can you say that again, I wasn't listening". I said, "Exactly", then, politely rephrased my response. One of the 3-star admirals laughed.

Anyway, now that everyone else reading this response is completely bored/confused, just wanted to say that I admire you and I know what you went through was tough, but you are a great testament to the fact that everyone has their calling and yours was marketing, not alpha T. I also wanted to let you know that leaving the Navy will probably be the best decision I'll ever make in my life. Maybe I should have been a pilot. Anyway, if I ever meet up with you some day I'll buy you a beer or 10.

July 21, 2007 - 12:20am

Thanks for the kind comments everyone. In a weird twist of fate last night I woke to an earthquake...which reminds me how short life is.

July 24, 2007 - 2:09am

you just nailed it. life is too short. do what you love to do and remember why you love doing it at some point each day. the passion will come if you keep it simple and real.
thanks for the post. fantastic.

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