My Mantra

Helping brands and leaders be more influential
by embracing their humanity and personality.

Facebook Marketing Archive

Aziz Ansari’s Simple 30 Second Marketing Trick

Aziz Ansari wasn’t planning to stick around after his show for photos. Most of the people in the packed theater in Washington DC where I saw him perform his Buried Alive Comedy Tour last week probably weren’t expecting that anyway.

Despite social media breaking down virtual barriers to conversations with unreachable people (and Aziz has plenty of them with more than 2 million Twitter followers), in real life – most people understand a level of unapproachability in our celebrities. Aziz can’t give 20,000 people a hug.

When he took the stage last week, though, he started with an unusual request. “They said you can’t take photos or videos – but I know what you’re thinking … if I don’t take a photo – how will people believe I was here?” Sadly true for the generation of oversharers in the audience. So he offered us all a 30 second free pass – to take photos, videos, tweet, Facebook, Foursquare or whatever we wanted.

Of course, hundreds of people in the audience took the opportunity.

More than that, we all felt like we had the chance to break the rules. Giving us permission to share instead of being sneaky made it even more desirable to do – even if it was pretty clear all that sharing actually helps Aziz promote his show. That simple choice reminded me of two lessons we often forget:

1. People want to share experiences – but they feel like doing so may break the rules.

Sometimes you explicitly tell them not to (like in a theater), but more often people assume that sharing may not be allowed and so they don’t do it – or end up sharing in a sneakier and lower quality way. To solve this problem, reconsider whether you actually do need to ban sharing, or if you’re holding onto an outdated policy for tradition’s sake.

2. People love a good cop – as long as there is a bad cop close by.

The real power of Aziz giving us permission to take photos came from the fact that there was someone before him who specifically told us not to do it. Offering a sympathetic alternative to the “don’t do it guy” created a bond with us (the audience). He respected us, and we responded by respecting him back.

So the next time you have an opportunity to invite your customers to share, or ban them from doing it … consider giving them a chance to share. Even if you only have 30 seconds to spare.

ePatient 2015: A New Research Report On The Connected Patient Of The Future


The FDA might be accidentally brilliant. Every now and then for the past several years, that thought has crossed my mind. Without context, it may seem like a strange conclusion to make about any government agency. For anyone who was there in DC on November 12, 2009 when the FDA held their first public hearing on social media marketing¬†¬†- this…Read More >>

The Script Of Improv – What Is (And Isn’t) Real Time Marketing


A theater show happens in real time. It’s live on stage and the actors are actually saying the lines as you watch them. And if it’s well done, it can seem spontaneous and real and unscripted. But of course, it is scripted. They are memorizing lines and performing them. Improv, on the other hand is completely UNscripted. It is based…Read More >>

How To Spot A Trend: 7 Social Media Trends That Matter In 2013


There has been a single pink folder on my desk since January 15th of this year. That day matters to me for two reasons – first because its my birthday, and second because it’s the day when I start an empty folder with the intention of collecting ideas for my year end trend report. Then throughout the year, I steadily…Read More >>

12 Big Trends Transforming The World Of Retail Right Now

Last week I had the chance to deliver a keynote presentation at a merchandising event put on for some of the largest retailers in the US by the trade association  I shared some trends built upon consumer behaviour and incorporating some startups that are getting a lot of attention right now.  I don't share many of my presentations as…Read More >>

How To Be A Better Entrepreneur, Friend, Parent, Marketer & Human

NOTE FROM ROHIT: Likeonomics is now AVAILABLE – if you read my previous post and decided to wait to buy it because I asked you to, thank you!! Please purchase your copy of Likeonomics RIGHT NOW! About four months ago I was sitting at home during an unseasonably warm evening in late January. It was the night of the State…Read More >>

The 5 Ways Media Will Cover The Facebook IPO & Why We Really Care Anyway

The 5 Ways Media Will Cover The Facebook IPO & Why We Really Care Anyway

The big news all day today is going to be the Facebook IPO – and of course you would expect the media to care. UPDATE: Here is my interview with CBS News about the Facebook IPO … Lots of "virtual" money is going to be changing hands, there will be nonstop media coverage throughout the day. To help you navigate…Read More >>

Greensurfing – The Rise Of Voluntary Social Media Jealousy

Greensurfing – The Rise Of Voluntary Social Media Jealousy

The idea that Facebook causes jealousy isn't new.  A study back in 2009 essentially demonstrated that romantic relationships were often suffering from jealousy induced by Facebook.  The same study is still being referenced today. Unfortunately, there are a few signs that this is becoming a much bigger trend than something driven by the insecurity of dating. For the first time…Read More >>

How MindValley Is Building the Next TED (Only More Useful)

How MindValley Is Building the Next TED (Only More Useful)

This morning I watched an amazing TED video of flying robots that can operate autonomously and collaborate with each other at the same time. It is exciting technology … just the kind of thing you would expect to come out of a TED event. As I write this, the video (and its big finish where the robots play a song…Read More >>

2012 Edition: 15 Marketing and Business Trends That Matter

Let me tell you a little secret.  I look forward to putting together an annual trend report the same way that some people look forward to having Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. I realize that may sound a bit strange, but ever since I did my first trend recap last year I was hooked.  This year, the process of collecting the…Read More >>