Success Secrets of a Hollywood ‘Unicorn’

I’ve always enjoyed movies, although I don’t get to watch them very often.

I love the story telling, and how they work the emotional bridge that pulls people on the journey.   

But there’s a lot to be learned for marketers and business owners if we pay attention…

Let’s look at The Greatest Showman (which I’ve been referencing over the last couple of days).

Funny enough, I’ve actually never seen the movie…go figure. 

Over a year ago, I stumbled across a video on YouTube that now has more than 46 Million Views, and I threw a note in my ‘subject file’ to come back to it..

So, what do we take from this now ‘famous movie’, and apply it to our smallish world?

  • It was built on vision:  The Director, Michael Gracey, was a first time Director, worked on the vision for 7 years before he got his shot.
  • They focused on connecting to the audience:  The script was done in 6 months, but took almost 9 more years before it would be released…primarily because of getting the songs written.
  • Your skills matter and people are watching:  The song writers, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, were nobodies at the time and the Director literally made up a big “social proof” credential to get the studio buy-in.
  • Everyone was willing to buy in and be coached:  The song writers, who could easily pass for a 7th graders, told Hugh Jackson to go get a different singing coach because he didn’t fit the vision AND he did.
  • Risk is required to have a reward:  It had been 23 years since a studio backed an original Musical movie. 
  • The user experience was the focus (not the critics) and it showed:  It’s explosive growth came through word-of-mouth, not a big advertising budget.

So, why the breakdown of a Hollywood musical…

(For one, I’m always curious about how people succeed, and the stories behind them).

But, I see so many people in the position of Michael Gracey. 

They have vision of what they want to accomplish, but they struggle to get that breakthrough.  They have the skills but the gap between them and their market needs to be bridged…

So, let’s simplify this:

  • Connect and build off a mass market (Broadway was better than Hollywood to launch)
  • Polarize your audience to attract the right people (“I don’t watch musicals”)
  • Make it easy to ____  deliver, consume, or apply. (The music was catchy and fun)

That leads to that all important virality that accelerates your growth…and of course your sales.

We can all apply that…

Brandon “The Path Is Clear” Pugsley

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