Lin-Manuel Miranda says that rap was the right music style to capture the enormous amount of words that Alexander Hamilton wrote. What can the musical Hamilton teach us about marketing?
1. Talk Less, Smile More.
Aaron Burr’s advice to the young Hamilton is “Talk less, smile more.” Another contemporary, German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) said, “Talk less, draw more.” As communicators we strive to create interesting and engaging images with greater visual intelligence and fewer words. It’s much harder to edit and deliver that perfectly clear sentence. Too often we settle for more when we really seek less. As they say, silence is golden, that’s why there’s so little of it. Make sure your communication contains less talk and more smiling.
2. Rise Up!
People don’t truly read from left to right and top to bottom. They skim, glance and jump around. Use headlines that grab attention. Support your copy with subheads, call-outs and captions that peak the reader’s interest and draw the reader in. Use the little introductory line of type that lies above the main headline often called the “eyebrow.” Creative content must rise up!
3. I’m not throwing away my shot.
Every communication opportunity is a billboard for your brand. Examine all the touchpoints on-line, in print and in person and be sure to present your marketing messaging in a consistent and professional manner. The New York Subway system puts ads everywhere. They are on the walls as you ride the escalators, on the steps themselves, even on the turnstiles! They have recognized that every item for their captive audience is an opportunity for messaging.
4. If you stand for nothing than what will you fall for?
Hamilton is passionate, he’s always sticking his neck out expressing what he thinks is right. Burr holds his cards to his chest. You never quite know where he stands on any issue. When writing content your Point of View is important. It separates you from what anyone else might say. Say something that reveals something about who you are as a company, as a brand, as a leader. It doesn’t have to be radical or political. But it should be meaningful and it should say something about how you think, how you approach life’s questions. Are you a problem-solver? Are you an analytical thinker? What can you bring to the conversation? Platitudes and safe talk will get you nowhere.
5. How do you write like you’re running out of time?
Tucker Carlson writes in New York Magazine, “Nobody has time to read. People barely can read. So give them an overwhelming reason to read your piece.” So what would you write if you were running out of time? Get into that mindset and deliver content that matters.
6. Look around, look around, how lucky we are to be alive right now.
New York is still the greatest city in the world. It’s alive and vibrant! (That’s my point of view, see tip #4 above). Step back and take a look at the time we are living in. We’re in the midst of a technological revolution. Every year there’s a new development, whether it’s the Uber economy, driverless cars or instant communication from all corners of the world. Rapid technology development changes how we communicate in ways that we can’t even fathom. It may seem overwhelming and yet we have access to more content and tools that can deliver our content to more audiences faster and better than any time in history. How often do we look around and celebrate the amazing developments we are living through?
7. And no, don’t change the subject.
We often try to cram too much content into our marketing. Simplify your messaging and stick with one subject and one design theme. Stick to the topic at hand and drive your points home so that they are relevant to your audience. Because after all you’re my favorite subject.
8. I want to be in the room where it happens.
Groucho Marx once said, “I don’t want to be in a club that would have me as a member.” You need to cultivate that desire to be on the inside, the first to know, the one who is in the room where it happens. Does your content reveal something special that you can’t get anywhere else? What’s special and unique about your offerings?
9. One last time.
George Washington is stepping down after two terms as president to teach the nation how to say goodbye. This is not a life-long monarchy, but a democracy. Hamilton is called in to write the words that become his farewell. How do you say goodbye in a memorable way? What part of your letters or emails are the most likely to be read and remembered? The postscript or “PS” at the end of the letter is an opportunity to catch the attention of the reader with more than just as afterthought. Use the “PS” to add an important insight, deliver a unique qualification or share a stimulating perspective. Don’t throw away your shot.
10. Who tells your story?
Marketing is all about powerful storytelling. What is your story? Who should tell your story? Is it the CEO? A key employee? Who benefits most from your service, product or offering? Share stories of interesting projects with success metrics. Measurable results are very important. Be sure to show why your story is important to your key audience.Back to Insights