With Memorial Day behind us and the unofficial beginning of summer underway, I tend to fill my post-beach afternoons with summer movies, and often those that have to do with dance. There's Dirty Dancing (obvi), Flashdance (#romantic), Fame (total inspiration), and everyone's favorite, Footloose (the original, no remakes thank you). The soundtrack of Footloose is all-around amazing including not one but two Kenny Loggins' classics, some John Mellencamp bringing the midwestern vibes, Shallamar encouraging us to dance in the sheets (lol), and the pinnacle of it all, Bonnie Tyler's, I Need a Hero. This extremely heteronormative song, and scene, is only to be outdone by the best drag entrance EVER! [I encourage you to watch it and cry the tears of joy you didn't know you needed to release right now.]


In many movies, it could be said that the protagonist follows what Joseph Campbell labeled the Hero's journey. There's some sort of call to adventure, a mentor to guide the way, a process of learning and transformation, and a return to where we begin, but this time with a different awareness. The hero always needs a guide. That is the person who brings the expertise needed to support and enlighten the hero as they move through the trials of their journey. It's an interesting flip of how we might consider what a hero is today. The hero, as Joseph Campbell studied it, was the person on the adventure, seeking transformation. The mentor, the one with the expertise, was not considered the hero. That might feel hard to wrap our heads around in this era when we're encouraged to self-promote, self-brand, and selfie our way to success. But the reality is, it's not about us. It's about those who choose to engage with us. 


And Jonah Sachs knows that better than any marketer out there. His 2012 book, Winning the Story Wars, uses Joseph Campbell's myth-making to understand how we can think about marketing differently.

In this video, you can quickly learn how you've likely been centering yourself or your company as the hero of your marketing when it should really be your customer. 

A few weeks ago, when I wrote about how DTC has led us to depersonalize the customer. Depersonalizing the customer was a natural outcome of believing that we, our product, or our company were the most important things to promote. It's a self-centered narrative that's hard to escape in the 21st century.  But how would you evolve your messaging, your content, and even the marketing tools you used, if you realized that you were in fact the mentor in this process and not the hero? How much more interesting would you be as a founder, or would your company be, if you had clarity around the life that's lived with your product once it's embraced by your customer? How much less extractive might capitalism be as a whole if we all acknowledged we need a hero to create a more collaborative experience of commerce? 


This summer, we'll do one book club in late July. We'll read Jonah Sach's most recent book, Unsafe Thinking. This is a free event and will be hosted on Tuesday, July 19th at 7PMEST via Zoom. Please email me to register. 


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