My Mantra

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

Likeonomics 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 To solve this problem, reconsider whether you actually do need to ban sharing, or if you’re holding onto an outdated policy for tradition’s sake.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.

Why Being REAL Matters More Than Being Perfect


Logically speaking, it shouldn’t really matter whether Dr. Seuss is still alive or he isn’t. But it does. Yesterday my five year old asked me about him. It’s the sort of thing kids always ask. Is this real, or isn’t it? Wondering whether or not something is real is a common occurrence  In fact, it’s a filter that we sometimes use…Read More >>

The Alignment Gap, Concierge Marketing And The Future Of Agencies


Summary: The story of why I decided to start the world’s first true “Concierge Marketing” service for large and mid-size brands. It all started because I knew the one thing I didn’t want to do. About three months ago I left my role at one of the biggest marketing agencies in the world and the only thing I knew for…Read More >>

7 Magical Marketing Lessons From Disney World


Disney World isn’t just a magical place for families or kids.  It’s also pretty magical for marketers too.  The Disney Institute has been around for more than two decades teaching business people from any industry how to apply techniques that have been honed at Disney Parks over years and years.  Last week as I took a theme park adventure with…Read More >>

How Likeability Gets People (And Hollywood Stars) To Show Up


Anyone who has ever run an event knows that getting people to show up to anything is just about the most difficult challenge that any marketer can face. Selling a product, asking for a donation, and even getting someone to share a piece of content are all easier than the relatively higher time investment involved in physically showing up for…Read More >>

The 2012 Influential Marketing Book Award Winners


The books on your shelf say something about you. That’s why most of us have books that we put on our shelves over the past year which we haven’t quite had a chance to read yet – but still display as a declaration of what we believe. As an author, I usually make it fully through at least 30 books…Read More >>

The Ultimate Holiday Promotion Idea


How much time do you spend trying to convince your target audience that you have the best product or service for them? Probably a lot. After all, that’s what most of marketing is supposed to do, right? So now imagine everything you’ve done is working. Your customer believes that you offer the best experience. They want to give you their…Read More >>

2013 Trend – Powered by Women


What’s the Trend? Business leaders, pop culture and ground-breaking new research intersect to prove that our ideal future will be led by women. We can finally put the old debate to rest … men and women are not equal: women are better. In the coming year, a combination of highly successful female role models, pioneering startups and pop culture references…Read More >>

2013 Trend – Human Banking


What’s the Trend? Finally changing years of growing distrust, banks finally uncover their human side through simplifying their offerings and changing the tone of how they communicate. After years of negativity, brands in the financial sector are finally beginning to rebuild trust and even inspire loyal customers by taking a more simple and direct human tone in communications, and removing…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 >>