Every few years I re-read Disney War by James Stewart (it’s one of my all-time favorites) about the rise and fall of Disney.
The majority of the book focuses on the Michael Eisner years, just after Eisner became CEO of Disney in 1984. Like him or not, he brought about a much-needed change in culture to Walt Disney’s empire, which hadn’t seen a hit movie in more than a decade (by the way, the last movie to be a hit before Eisner’s regime was Herbie the Love Bug in 1968).
Before Disney, Eisner became a young powerhouse at Paramount, and took the company from an also-ran to one of the leading producers of television and film entertainment in just a few years. This included movie hits like Raiders of the Lost Ark and television hits like Taxi, Happy Days and Mork and Mindy.
I believe it was Esiner’s mission around the purpose of content that led him and Paramount, and later Disney, to such massive success.
Here’s what Eisner says (taking from a quote by Don Simpson, the American producer):
“We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make a statement. But to make money, it is often important to make history, to make art, or to make some significant statement. We must always make entertaining movies, and, if we make entertaining movies, at times, we will reliably make history, art, a statement or all three.
We cannot expect numerous hits, but if every film has an original and imaginative concept, then we can be confident that something will break through.”
I’ve read this quote over and over… working to make it applicable for marketing. Here I’ve rewritten Eisner’s quote with a relevant marketing mission statement for you to take forward in your business.
“Our business has no obligation to make art or history or to make a statement with the content we create. But, to make money, and to see a return from the content we do create, it is often important to make history, to make art, or to make some significant statement.
In order to make money, we must always make compelling and relevant content, and if we make compelling and relevant content targeted to a specific audience and deliver that consistently over time, at times we will reliably make history, art, a statement or all three.
Now we cannot expect viral hits, but if every piece of content we create has an original and imaginative concept, then we can be confident that something will break through and we will gain an audience for our content.”
While this is not perfect, it’s something I would put in front of your content team to see if it feels right. Maybe this can be a “Call to Arms” to start treating every piece of marketing content you create like it was your last.
Simply put, we must strive for greatness in anything we do. If we consistently get close to that bar, we’ll be successful, in marketing and in life.
The following was an excerpt from Joe’s newsletter. Only subscribers receive the full version.