Have you ever seen Legally Blonde? It’s one of my little-bit-guilty pleasures and it makes me laugh every time I watch it.
A while ago, I read an email from a marketer I admire (Mary-Rose “Wildfire” Maguire) and she pointed out a scene I hadn’t really thought about much before, and how it relates to your business. So I thought I’d share it with you.
If you haven’t seen the film, the plot is – very briefly – this:
- Elle Woods, played by Reese Witherspoon is a cheerful, friendly, and very pretty high-school cheerleader whose boyfriend goes to Harvard Law School
- Boyfriend breaks up with her because he thinks she’s not good enough to be a senator’s wife (that’s his plan) – he describes her as a “Marilyn”, when he needs a “Jackie”
- Boyfriend gets engaged to plain, smart girl
- Elle vows to win him back and pulls out all the stops to get into Harvard, surprising everyone by showing them she’s much more than just a “dumb blonde”, where she sticks out like a bright pink sore thumb (ridiculously overblown stereotypes abound in this film)
- Other stuff happens – including an exquisite little scene where she pulls a classic reframing trick out of her Prada handbag…
The point is, she’s the kind of stunning all-American girl all the guys want to go out with. On campus, she heard one of her classmates – a dorky, clumsy, but nice guy – awkwardly asking out an attractive girl. She laughs in his face, telling him, “Girls like me don’t go out with losers like you.”
Which is pretty nasty, and he should have just thanked his lucky stars that she wasn’t interested. But that’s beside the point, because Elle turned around, walked up to him, slapped his face, and demanded:
“How could you? You give me one beautiful night, then I never hear from you again?”
“I’m sorry?” he stutters?
“Sorry for what? For breaking my heart, or giving me the greatest night of pleasure I’ve ever known and just taking it away?”
“Erm… both?” he says, baffled.
“Oh forget it. I’ve done too much crying over you.”
Cue fake sobbing and she walks away.
At which point, the attractive girl walks up to him, smiles, and says, “About that date…?”
I haven’t gone mad. This isn’t the new, daily, badly summarised film plot service, I promise. I’m telling you this little tale because it’s a great example of premier positioning.
No, really! It is!
All the guy had to do was position himself as desirable. He didn’t do that; he’s a nice guy, but he’s pretty dorky and he dressed a little like a slob. What Elle did was make his looks and awkwardness irrelevant.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you dress your business, your website, and your marketing in the equivalent of sweat pants and a string vest and let your wobbly bits hang out. Not at all (unless that’s the way you roll, in which case, more power to ya. I don’t recommend it though; appearances are important).
But you do have to dig around and find what will make people want you. You need to develop your very own Lorelei Signal to draw in your ideal customers to the point where they almost have no other choice but to buy from you.
Elle upped Awkward Boy’s desirability simply by suggesting that he’d rejected her – a stunning, popular, cheerleader-type. That raised his status in the eyes of the girl he fancied.
The bottom line is: we want things that other people want. If we see other people wanting or using something, we’re more like to want it ourselves. And if the person we see with the thing is an authority figure or a celebrity, all the better.
Want to know how to do this in your own business? Well, one of the modules in my Write & Publish Your Book in Just 90 Days covers this. And, of course, your book itself is a cracking positioning tool.
Interested? Find out more here.
PS Lorelei Signal? Yep, I’m a complete sci-fi nerd. And proud of it. Although I think really TNG is my favourite iteration…