How to Get Attention Money Can’t Buy

image of Don Draper with iphone

This photo is an illustration of perfect serendipity, and priceless cool. But, you’re not seeing the entire picture … yet.

John Hamm (who plays Don Draper) owns an iPhone, and brought it to work. On a break, photographer James Minchin III captured a moment wherein Apple aligns itself with one of the best stories being told in our culture right now, Mad Men.

Not too long ago, Apple stood on the brink of oblivion. Then Steve came back and started telling stories again.

You’ll never have the cash reserves of Apple, Inc. You may never enjoy the budget, or the expertise, or the creative force of an AMC. But you can tell a story online.

If you consistently tell a true story about your company, product, service, or idea that resonates with the worldview of a group of people, that “world” will eventually beat a path to your door.

And, on a much smaller (but still profitable) scale, moments like the one you see below will begin to occur on their own — regardless of the size of your marketing budget …

image of Don Draper with iphone
Photo by James Minchin III for Rolling Stone


About the author

Robert Bruce


Robert Bruce is working on something new over at Rainmaker.FM, while filing stories on media, culture, and mayhem to the Internet nightly.

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  1. Robert, what a way to tell a simple story to be such a short article. Sometimes article have to be this way, and not the long and boring way.

    The story is so true and it is amazing how Apple was able to rebound back and get a lot of money out of Steve Jobs did.

    Thanks for the article and keep up the good work..

  2. Those unplanned moments can sometimes be the most powerful. You can’t force something to capture people’s attention, nor can you pinpoint exactly what will and won’t always work.

  3. Haha…I just assumed he was holding a glass of whiskey. Took 3 glances to realize it was an iPhone.

  4. HI Robert

    Nice to read a short post for once with a simple message!

  5. So true, Robert. No one can assure us what will become a hit or a miss (not even Simon Cowell). People forget that Apple almost disappeared into oblivion. If it were just coming out with the iPod when the chips were down you could call it luck and timing. The people ridiculed the iPod. Then the iPhone. Then the iPad. All are now ubiquitous. That’s the difference between “conventional wisdom” and vision.

  6. Agreed, Robert. Stories (remarkable ones, at least), are a consistently powerful way to put ideas into the world today.

    People love stories—always have, always will. If you have a good one, that’s better in the long run than an unlimited budget.

  7. I really like the concise and to the point nature of this message. Awesome.

  8. Robert, you’ve beautifully demonstrated that even simple, economic prose can tell a powerful story. Kudos to you!

  9. This came at the perfect time. And a strategy that was downloaded to me back in February. Thank you.

  10. Is he checking into sterling cooper draper pryce on 4sq?

  11. So, I’m the third commenter to be impressed with how concise this post is. It’s a breath of fresh air, not having to chisel through blocks of unimportant verbiage to get to the message. Excellent lesson Bruce.

    Oh, and the actual message is great too.

  12. A priest is walking through the forest carrying a lamb on his shoulders. 4 thieves notice him and think that the lamb would make a good meal. So the first thief approaches the priest and asks him why is he carrying a dog on his shoulders? The priest says its not a dog, its a lamb.

    After 15 minutes, the 2nd thief crosses him and asks the same question: why are you walking with a dog on your shoulders? The priest gives the same response, but slight doubt takes root.

    After 15 more minutes, the 3rd thief crosses the priest and asks the same question. This time the doubt becomes stronger.

    And finally after 15 more minutes when the 4th thief asks the priest why is he carrying a dog on his shoulder, the priest throws the dog. And starts walking without his lamb.

    The 4 thieves have a hearty meal.

    Consistency is the key. Thanks for reminding it to us all Robert.

  13. Very good point and I also LOVE Mad Men! I recently wrote an article for FeedFront Magazine about how becoming a human changed my internet business. It was like night and day and the orders started flowing in.

    It is still hard for me to get out of the SELLING mentality and just tell my story and let people go from there.

    Working with video now I struggle with the same thing, but I am trying to scale down all selling and let viewers find their way.
    Bryan

  14. Short and sweet. And it’s so true! Every picture does tell a story.

  15. Jon Hamm does a great job as Don Draper. :)

    “If you consistently tell a true story about your company, product, service, or idea that resonates with the worldview of a group of people, that “world” will eventually beat a path to your door.” I just listened to a podcast where the speaker talked about ‘speaking your truth’ and being truthful. I’d add it’s also about you being truthful about your business. Do you like the niche you’re in? Does it really speak to you? Or, are you in your niche because someone said it would be profitable? It’s time to be ‘honest’ and admit the truth to you. If you don’t enjoy your blog or business niche, let it go and find one that resonates with you. Not only will it resonate with you, but it will resonate with your target audience, the ‘real’ target audience you want to reach.

  16. Chuck Masterson :

    Lets not forget that Apples’ vision has changed. They had the most open architecture system at the time with 1000’s of companies building specialized add-on boards for the Apple IIe. Then they closed up their designs and failed for decades.

    • Chuck Masterson :

      It’s the “open architecture” of the available software NOT written by Apple that makes the i devices work again where Apple itself has always failed. Apples vision of opening up the system to outside programming through Apps is what has allowed them to grow again. To once again be just a platform instead of the teacher.

  17. Short, powerful point. But then that’s the point.
    Terrific! And so is Don Draper.