The slew of comic book-to-film adaptations, including Iron Man 3 this summer, got me thinking about how to retell a story that people already know — a marketer’s job, in some respects.
They explain how Captain America was written, how they decided what to leave in and what to leave out. They know some people aren’t going to like it, especially die hard fans of the comic book series. They left important villains on the cutting room floor, and gave Capt. A. lines he never said in a speech bubble. They took liberties.
“…We long ago realized that we have neither the expertise nor the inclination to guess what the audience wants. All we can do is hope that we want the same things they do.
A successful adaptation comes down to a sort of peace agreement. If the audience agrees to place their favorite material in our hands, we agree to treat it with respect and just the right amount of ruthlessness. We agree to be faithful stewards of content, and they agree to watch with an open mind.”
In retelling a popular story and in business, one way to make sure you’re on the right track is this: Want the same things your audience/customer does.
Aligning yourself with their goals may even be more important than meeting their expectations exactly to a tee. Helping your customers to their finish line, accomplishing their goal, solving their problem…requires boldness.
You may not fulfill their picture of the journey, but if you can convince them that some expectations are better left on the cutting room floor, you may exceed their vision of the destination.
If serving your clients well means editing (even deleting) some ideas they had at the beginning of the project, then you must show that you have a commitment to their vision — or something better!
Yes, it’s a delicate balance, especially if you are working in close collaboration with a client.
Invention isn’t for the meek. It requires an understanding that you are on the side of your customer… that you want what they want. For the screenwriter, once the movie is released, the job is finished. But in marketing, your job is just beginning. Your product or service not only meets your client’s needs…it’s what they want, too.