It was his birthday, 11th birthday, to be more specific. His father wanted to take him out to an opera show in the city. It was an unusually dark night with no signs of the moon, while the stars seemed to have been wrapped in a cloak of gloom. The family of three sashayed down to the city for the show. But as fate had it, the kid forced his parents: Thomas and Martha, to move out, midway through the show and the indulgent parents were more than happy to give in to the demands of the birthday boy.
Only if they knew, the dark alley that would lead to their home would, unfortunately, be the only witness to their final moments together. Mugged by a rogue at gunpoint, Thomas and Martha tried their best to salvage the situation but they could only delay the inevitable. Both of them were gunned down, as Bruce looked by, shaken to the core. The dark night even consumed the wailing of the 11-year-old Bruce.
It was this day that laid the foundation for the metamorphosis of Bruce Wayne into The Dark Knight. A knight, who would be synonymous with the color ‘black’ forever; a knight who would only be seen when the night took the shape of evil; a knight who would go by the name of BATMAN. More often than not we end up identifying black with something evil, something very demented and why shouldn’t we?
Even the Bible says God is Light and his adversary, Lucifer was the first dark or black thing that had ever existed. So naturally, black ended up signifying death and mourning. Not just this, in the physical universe, a celestial object whose massive gravity pulls in all the matter, including light has been named as the ‘Black Hole’.
If black is so abused, why did Batman prefer black among the colors he could have? That’s because black is the silence of his screams, black is the beginning of a dream. Black outshines the moon and the stars. Black hides away all his tears and scars. Black reflects the soul of his foes. The next time they tell you, black signifies grim, you tell them – I AM BATMAN!
As a fan of the character of Batman, I obsess over The Dark Knight and find that every time I watch any Batman film, I’m able to pick up something I hadn’t noticed in previous views. This time, I had put on a different lens and analyzed the characters from a marketing perspective.
This is what I imagined: Batman is a brilliant marketer and he doesn’t even know it. Here are some marketing and business lessons that can be learned from Batman:
Every detail about Batman is on-brand. From the Bat-signal distress call silhouetted on the moon, to the unmistakable Batsuit - every detail about our fearless hero is on-brand. Everyone who interacts with Batman - good guys and bad guys alike - knows when they’ve had an authentic Batman experience.
When you run a business, the details matter. From the first time someone searches for what you have to offer, to when they pick up the phone and speak to someone at your business, to when they actually make a purchase - every touch point on a customer’s path to purchase can make or break your ability to satisfy that customer and the ability to have them coming back!
For instance, check out this conversation between Batman and Robin:
Robin: You can't get away from Batman that easy!
Batman: Good grammar is essential, Robin.
You may be thinking that crime-fighting has really got nothing to do with grammar; but, Batman doesn’t think so. For him, the highest standards of excellence are desirable in anything and everything
Let’s say you get feedback from the client – “Your team does a brilliant job; we love their work; occasionally there is a typo…”. If you received this feedback, would you sweat over the minor details (“how could a typo slip through in my output?”) or would you just focus on the positive elements (“Ah, the client is broadly happy; typos are a minor thing”)? What are the benchmarks you hold yourself up to?
Assigning due importance to the littlest of these things and minutes of the details can ensure that the cumulative effect is magnanimous enough to take your brand to insurmountable heights!
In one of the Batman movies, Batman makes an inspiring statement: “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” It resonates so well with brands and businesses. A business, when embracing all of the marketing tips and tools must always consider what it is that the marketers do “underneath the mask.”
Most successful businesses begin by noticing a problem for which there isn’t an adequate solution. So, the real work gets started with getting into the minds of your customers to learn how they think. But then, great marketing isn’t limited to understanding your audiences, it extends all the way up till the point where even your customers can proudly announce that they have developed an equal amount of understanding for your brand!
How you make a real difference to your customers can build an everlasting identity for your brand and help your business grow manifolds. It is only when your brand values and morals are seamlessly attached to all your customer touchpoints, that you create an iconic brand that understands its audiences in and out.
Batman gets whipped so many times. So many villains almost end up killing him. He gets defeated physically and mentally, but he never gives up. He keeps pushing, irrespective of the odds, and succeeds in the end.
Now, think about all the bottlenecks you have faced sometimes - dissatisfied clients, less-than-understanding colleagues, stinkers from bosses, sudden sick leave of an individual you were relying on.
Do you let these things bog you down, or do you keep your spirits up? How easily and how fast did you “bounce back”?
Remember, you fail as marketers not when you face these odds, but when you choose to do nothing about it. If you need to build a robust brand, have the ability to fall down seven times, and stand up eight! But then, failure and playing the blame game should not be made a voluntary habit! Let us aim, as marketers, to eliminate the rate of error as much as we can! And, for things beyond our control, let us have the ability to take some lessons on the chin and still persevere.
The ecosystem in which you see yourself and your brand is in no way different from how dynamics work between Batman and the Crown Prince of Crime - The Joker. And, just like in Gotham, a mix of instability and uncertainty can complicate things for your business as well.
But, the lessons from difficulties should not downsize your brand’s ambitions. Instead, these lessons can be used to create more demand and to amplify clients’ importance despite complex market situations.
So, whenever you find that your brand is stuck amidst clutter and chaos, suit up and power your storytelling skills to strengthen that connection between you and your clients! Just remember, it is Batman who always has the last laugh, not the Joker.
The secret of how Batman can survive and thrive through countless iterations and oddities is hidden within Batman’s story itself! Since Batman knows his own story really well, he always has the bandwidth to surprise others by improvising at the end moment and not taking the most obvious move!
In a similar fashion, if marketers know their brand’s story to its very core, they have the ability to maneuver and improvise! This ability of the brands, helps them showcase their story in millions of different lights.
And, that’s a peculiar thing about audiences and customers: they like the brands that keep coming as pleasant surprise packages! Moreover, mundane and repetitive brands are always the first to be forgotten! Therefore, it is an ideal situation to know your story so thoroughly well that you can come up with and build on the most unexplored facets of your brand’s identity!