Whether you're a fan or not, there's no denying Justin Bieber is a master of marketing and promotion. His documentary film may not have had rave critical reviews, but plenty of business experts loved it for the inside story it told about the millennial idol's marketing savvy.
About two months ago, the young pop singer released his latest viral video—but it wasn't for a song. In the video, he doesn't even speak ... at least, not in a voice you can hear. Standing in front of hundreds of screaming fans, the YouTube video shows him clearly speaking but with the volume muted. The tease at the end of the video shares the following question and call-to-action: www.whatdidjustinsay.com.
When you visit the website, it reveals that he was promoting a nonprofit group he supports called Pencils of Promise and its latest campaign, #schools4all. It's a worthy cause and a creative way to deliver the message that got people talking.
More importantly, it's a reminder to all of us about the wonderful power of curiosity.
One of the most basic of human emotions, curiosity is also one of the easiest to forget or underestimate. When used appropriately, it's an emotion that powers many of our decisions for everything from engagement and word of mouth to purchasing behaviors.
To help you better tap this emotion, here are three ways you can use curiosity to promote your small business right now:
1. Conceal obvious details. Though they probably shouldn't, plenty of people judge a book by its cover. So what happens when you can't see the cover? A few weeks ago a patron of a local library in Columbus, Ohio, created a viral sensation by posting a photo on Reddit of an idea the library created and executed: "Blind Date With A Book." To inspire people to try a new book, they wrapped a book in paper and described key themes without revealing the title or author. It was a simple, low-cost and ultimately brilliant way to get readers engaged and excited about reading something new.
2. Tease, don't tell. We live in a world of online engagement and information overload. One way to stand out is by doing what the team of professional writers at Yahoo! consistently do so well: write headlines to peak curiosity. One of the best ever written was just three words—“Squirrel Dodges Lamborghini.” The link was to a short story about a video showing exactly that, but if you just saw those words, you can’t help but click. Who could resist watching that video?
3. Offer a “tasting menu.” Restaurants do this all the time, but the really great ones simply offer this option but don't tell you exactly what you'll get. Instead, they create an experience where you put yourself into the chef’s hands—piquing your curiosity as you enjoy the meal. If you have ever been lucky enough to have a meal like that, the pleasure of being pleasantly surprised can be far greater than picking an item off the menu and anticipating it.
Rohit Bhargava is one of the world’s leading voices on creating more human companies. He is CEO of the Influential Marketing Group, author of the recent bestselling book Likeonomics and still loves telling the story of how Malcolm Gladwell proved there is such a thing as karma.
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