A Different Story

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the script from the 1997 Apple ad “Here’s to the crazy ones”. It kick-started Apple’s Think Different campaign and began the job of positioning the Apple brand as being very different from the mainstream.

At the time the leading providers of PC’s were Dell and Hewlett-Packard but you and I didn’t really care that much about the manufacturer. We were much more interested in whether it was a desktop or a laptop and then whether it was Windows or a Mac.

What’s really remarkable is the fact that perceptually, with this campaign, Apple was competing against Microsoft. Having got their operating systems onto pretty much every computer by the late 80’s and then dominated the main software used in offices by the late 90’s, Microsoft – a software company – had largely eclipsed the manufacturer brands and become the main entity in work and home computing that everyone related to.

Enter Mr. Jobs, or rather re-enter, as his appointment as interim CEO in 1997 was his second bite of the apple – sorry couldn’t resist. His determination to create a product experience that was driven more by aesthetics than anything else meant that Macs were very different to any other computer, in terms of both hardware and the operating system. But it wasn’t Jobs who came up with how to communicate this, it was the team at TBWA/Chiat/Day; the advertising agency that won the account with their Think Different campaign concept. Rob Siltanen wrote the final script for the Here’s To The Crazy Ones ad and you can read his account of how that all happened in his article for Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2011/12/14/the-real-story-behind-apples-think-different-campaign/#68b1f5c162ab

It’s a very powerful and emotionally charged script, and coming away from computing and electronics for a moment, for me it represents a fantastic example of the right way to think about communicating your offering to your audience. I’m talking to the entrepreneurs and the people trying to build a business, reach an audience and answer that existential killer question that has some staring at a blank sheet in agonising frustration and others launching into an impassioned, perfect, professional pitch… “Why you?”

Creativity is born of an instinctive act of rebellion.

Those “crazy ones” and “rebels” aren’t just the Einsteins, Ghandis, Picassos, Earharts and Dr Kings; they’re you. You’ve looked at how it’s currently being done and you’ve decided you would do it differently. You have rejected the way it is, what’s currently on offer, said “No” and you’re replacing it with something different.

With your original entrepreneurial choice, your act of separation, of innovation, you are fundamentally already standing apart from the crowd. You have something different to offer. You have “differentiated” yourself. You have a “unique selling proposition”. You know where the value in what you do is…now you need to communicate it, articulate it, express your difference. Visibly walk in a different direction from the others and loudly and passionately explain why it’s such a good direction.

It won’t be the right direction for everybody, but it will for some and you need to make sure they can hear you. Your way is not necessarily “better”. But for some it’ll absolutely tick their boxes and meet their particular criteria for judgement. It’ll match their ethos and their values, and it’ll get them closer to their own particular goals and ambitions. It’ll solve the problem(s) they’re facing, and provide the key to overcome their personal barriers. Tell the story of why and how your way delivers that and they won’t think you’re so crazy, they’ll want to walk your different path and be part of your tribe.

In case you don’t remember it here’s Rob Siltanen’s script from that award winning ad:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay.

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