Here’s one of the secret processes that you (and your business) needs to go through if your expertise branding and your marketing plan is to be a success.
You need to face the Total Perspective Vortex. According to The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (by Douglas Adams) it is the most horrible torture device to which a sentient being can be subjected:
“When you are put into the Vortex, you are given just one momentary glimpse of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation, and somewhere in it a tiny mark, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, which says, “You are here”.”
It was said to be invented by Trin Tagula in order to annoy his wife because she was forever nagging him for having no sense of proportion. So he decided to show her what having a sense of proportion really meant. Unfortunately the shock of being placed in the Vortex destroyed her brain, but Tagula’s grief was tempered by the knowledge that he had been right and she had been wrong.
It is only by contemplating how utterly insignificant and redundant our worthless and meaningless skills, products, services, expertise and lives appear when compared to the whole of creation that we can (if we survive the shock) begin to create a plan to stand out, emphasis our worth, promote our expertise and offer meaning to a certain section of creation.
It reminds us that we can’t afford to be all things to all beings. We can’t reach out and market to the whole of existence.
It also reminds us that we often think we are more popular and powerfully influential than we actually are. This is why marketing campaigns fail and businesses go out of business. This is why no-one turns up to our events and no-one buys our products.
We haven’t put it all into perspective. We’ve set off with an erroneous view that what we’re doing is good enough when it usually isn’t.
After a glimpse of the Total Perspective Vortex (don’t stay there too long) we’re empowered to to do better. It forces us to search for ways that make us unique and important to others. We can then begin to package what we do to perhaps just a tiny portion of our galaxy and not bother wasting time on those people from Andromeda who don’t appreciate what we do anyway. It tells us to concentrate on what we do best and leave the rest.
In the mind-blowing infinity of the universe, being just a regular kind of guy, an average Ford, may help you to hitch a ride on Vogon Constructor ships, sneak onto mythical planet building worlds and get you a free lunch at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. But it won’t make you President of the Galaxy or help you sell your products and services.
To survive and thrive in business you need to stand out. You can either get yourself an extra head and a spare arm. Or you can focus on what’s already unique about you and let people know about it.
What can you (or your business) do that few others can – what are you really good at?
What do you know that few others know?
What are you really passionate about (and don’t say ‘serving our customers’ or some other tosh. What would you still do if you didn’t get paid for it? In fact, what would you still do even if you had to pay to do it? That’s where the passion is: what would you die for, what do you live for?)
And finally, what was the turning point that made you able to be you? What was the event that changed your destiny? Your uniqueness will be wrapped up within that story.
By answering those questions you will have survived the Total Perspective Vortex by actually defining your place in creation.
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(Note: Only Zaphod Beeblebrox is reported to have survived total immersion in the Vortex as he incorrectly assumed that the sign ‘You are here’ pointed to the fact that he was the most important being in the universe.)
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