Marketers, Embrace Your Left Shark

As the Superbowl hype gears up for another year, it’s a great time to reminisce on past spotlight moments. My three personal favorites were 1) the Beyonce/Bruno dance-off, 2) seeing my teenagers watch Mick Jagger give his all on stage, and all they saw was “a crazy old guy” (ouch!!), and 3) Left Shark. And it struck me that we all could probably use a little more Left Shark in our lives.

For anyone that hasn’t heard the story (no, he wasn’t drunk nor did he forget the routine), he was letting himself live in the moment—what would a giant shark, dancing on stage, possibly look like? And the result was joyful for millions of viewers. He wasn’t a dominant force, he didn’t overshadow the Amazing Ms. Perry, but he brough a brief and unexpected moment of pure, unadulterated freedom.

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As marketers, we spend so much time buried in analytics, trying to stay one step ahead, following the rules and making logical decisions. That’s important, of course. But are we spending enough time throwing ourselves fully into the shoes of our customers, and really thinking about what would bring them joy? What if a healthcare company or an insurance provider or a retailer or an accounting firm could find a way to bring a few moments of honest, deeply felt fun, or other heartfelt acknowledgement of what it feels like to walk in their shoes (or fins, if we keep the analogy alive)?

That’s the kind of magic moment that builds a business. Does the whole relationship have to be knock-your-socks-off fun and games? Of course not. But just like in our personal relationships, a little surprise and delight goes a long way in building the bonds of loyalty.

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