UX Magazine

Defining and Informing the Complex Field of User Experience (UX)
Article No. 8 December 12, 2005

Buy The Premise, Buy The Bit

The late, great Johnny Carson once said about comedy… “If you buy the premise..you buy the bit.”

It seems to me that when you DIG (sorry) all the way down, so much of the discussion on sales, marketing, buzz, tipping points, etc.. come down to figuring out a highly efficient way for people “buy the premise.”

The key is to hone that premise so that it allows people to buy into it as personally, quickly and easily as possible.

Imagine if a comedian opened his routine with the equivalent of…

-A 40 slide PowerPoint or
-The first 200 pages of a 300 page business book or
-20 pages of proposal verbiage or
-30 phone calls and a folder of brochures and clippings or
-A slew of PR firms, ad agencies and Marketing guru’s…

... they would get booed off the stage every time. And quite rightly.

Think of how a truly great comedian can quickly connect to you, can set out the environment/situation/problem that you can totally relate to and then..BAM…that quickly…they deliver a punch line that generates a memorable response… The “bit” is sold.

What premise are you selling? How could you hone it to perfection so it takes the receiver only moments until they connect and buy it?

Do what comedians do. Get to the punchline. Get to the meat of your story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

User Profile

Howard Mann is the founder of Brickyard Partners, a business strategy agency based in Portland, OR. Prior to founding Brickyard Partners in 2001, Mann owned a premier international logistics company with over 140 Million in revenue, six U.S. offices and a global network of over 40 agents worldwide.

As that business came under severe pressure from the previous economic downturn and industry consolidation, Howard lead the company out from those treacherous times by returning to the basics that make every business great and completing 6 acquisitions that re-imagined the business so it was highly attractive to buyers. Finding that “secret sauce” did not come easily but has fueled his purpose to help other business leaders to never have to go through what he endured. 

Through real world experience and those hard times in the “trenches” of business he has learned that it is not following the latest fad, copying competitors or adding complexity that makes a business truly great. His pragmatic approach and knowing what it feels like to sit in the CEO/Owner chair is what makes his work so different and effective.

In addition to his strategy, marketing and communications work, Mann coaches a select group of entrepreneurs, CEO's and business owners. His highly focused workshops and keynotes help executive teams take aggressive action to unlock the true potential of their organizations and build remarkable businesses that endure. In good times and bad. Online and off.

Howard is a sought after speaker both in the U.S. and around the world. He writes frequently on his blog about the importance of the basics and reconnecting to the passion that too often gets lost as businesses mature.

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