Thanks to friends at Future Proof for another inspirational, informative, and fun video. On the long stretch to Cincinnati, Teslas marked the road. The hills of Virginia to Beckley held few, but by Charleston, West Virginia, they began to appear. I always aim to pass through before the church bells ring, starting from North Carolina at dawn, before the neighboring rooster crows.
This journey, my ninth in mere months to visit Byrdman at the University of Cincinnati, had me behind schedule. I found myself weaving through the post-church rush to reach 35 North. But it was on I71 that the Teslas truly made their presence felt. Amidst the vastness, any car that wasn't a towering SUV seemed to wear the mark of Elon.
More than a year ago I wrote Tesla - Five Marketing Tips You Should Steal:
Good tips worth stealing and Future Proof's Levi's video points out more marketing tips worth stealing from Veja:
Kopp and Morillion began Veja a half-decade after I crafted my first ecom website (1999) and a decade post the birth of Amazon (1994). Levi jests about their origin, suggesting it's a tale spun by a PR hand. Yet, I reckon the founders of Veja glimpsed a flaw, a blemish in the system that drove them to craft "sustainable" sneakers long before green became gold.
Their foresight is almost eerie. Sustainability is only a small part of what they discerned. Consider the other currents they must've sensed on the horizon:
Sneaker enthusiasts span ages, from the young lad of nine to the man of forty. Veja had to strike a chord that wouldn't fade, a theme that would resonate as one generation passed the torch to the next. Their foresight was nothing short of genius.
I turned to Google trends, pitting 'sustainability' against 'smartphones'. Sustainability, steadily climbing, surpassed the very trend that fuels it - smartphones and their tied e-commerce - by 2017. To my astute French counterparts, I offer a nod of respect and a tipped hat.
In the early light, courage is a raw necessity. It's a quiet commitment, a belief in oneself that would make even Brené Brown pause. Veja's boldness is undeniable. Their tale might shine, but in its heart, they faced a troubling wrong they sought to set right. Two decades past, a visit to distant, struggling factories drove two Frenchmen to risk it all and alter the world.
I've started or cofounded three companies:
Found Objects touched the pulse of the times until we parted ways - a tale for another time. Cure Cancer was ahead of its moment. Crowdfunding, still in its infancy, couldn't leap the barriers every hospital knows too well. Curagami halted its journey; my leukemia has a knack for resurfacing just when life finds its rhythm. And so, once more, I tip my hat to those French visionaries.
Veja's tale holds truth. They ventured into the darkest corners, into Dante's own infernos, and didn't like what they saw. What they witnessed compelled them to gamble all to right it. Many might say it's a leap too daring, like donning a cape and taking flight. Yet, their narrative echoes an age-old call – the hero's journey.
Joseph Campbell found a narrative pattern you've seen in movies like Star Wars and read in books like The Hobbit.
The Ordinary World: The hero's normal life before the story begins.
The Call to Adventure: The initiating incident of the story.
Refusal of the Call: The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure.
Meeting with the Mentor: The hero encounters someone who can give them advice and ready them for the journey ahead.
Crossing the First Threshold: The hero commits to the adventure and enters a new, unfamiliar world.
Tests, Allies, and Enemies: The hero faces challenges and makes allies and enemies in the new world.
Approach to the Inmost Cave: The hero nears the center of the story and the special world.
The Ordeal: A major challenge or crisis that the hero must face, often resulting in personal growth or transformation.
Reward (Seizing the Sword): After confronting the biggest challenge, the hero achieves a reward.
The Road Back: The hero begins the return journey to their ordinary world.
Resurrection: Another test where the hero faces death and emerges reborn.
Return with the Elixir: The hero returns home with something that can benefit their community.
The PR or marketing person who helped shaped Veja story understood the hero's journey. Is your story heroic?
Middlemen can aid, but they come with costs that few startups can bear. Every venture thrives on ideas that strike a chord with its audience. With today's tech tools, we can know the very soul of our customers, unless a broker stands in the way, muddying our bond and obsuring the relationship. Ford doesn't sell cars to you and me but to their "dealer network."
Teslas, buzzing around me like summer fireflies during my drive to Cincinnati, have caught the spirit of the age. As Levi points out, they make their drivers feel proud. Wearers of Veja shoes embark on a silent journey. Donning those sneakers, they too become heroes, even if just by a thread. It's masterful marketing.
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What marketing lessons would you steal from Tesla or Veja? Do you own a Tesla or walk around in Veja?
martin (at) wte.net
Martin Wescott Smith (on LinkedIn)