Like it or not, free enterprise is now the most pervasive economic structure in the world. It is so persistent that it has become transparent. Transparent much in the same way that water is transparent to fish. Ask any fish, and you will discover they do not know they are in water. We humans are immersed, too. We are literally swimming in free enterprise, and yet we don’t acknowledge its existence or the effect it has on our lives. We simply swim and swim and swim. We began swimming at a very early age without intention. It happened naturally and without effort because we were surrounded by it. We have all been forced into the same pool with only some say about which lane we are allowed to swim in.
Free enterprise is a “game,” a competition into which all of us have been thrown with little warning and even less training, and we are all expected to win. Furthermore, it is a mandatory game in that we must play, just like fish must swim. You and I have absolutely no say in the matter of free enterprise. Even if you escape to a commune, or get a shopping cart and take to the streets, you soon will discover that free enterprise is alive and well, and you must swim there, too.
Over time, I have noticed that somehow we have all learned to swim. It was, in fact, fairly easy for most of us, as we humans seem to come by it naturally. I assume that you are all accomplished swimmers and, therefore, what lies ahead is far more than swimming lessons. By now, you may have noticed that learning to swim is merely learning to survive. If so, you have just taken the first step toward taking control of your business and, in turn, your life.
Me, I am an accomplished surfer, and I am going to share with you exactly how to surf the universe of free enterprise, irrespective of your level of involvement. Surfing takes place on top of the water, where your awareness of the water’s existence is profound and where your awareness is the direct way to creating success.
Over the last three decades, I estimate I have received more than 500 assignments from consumer goods and services companies asking that I create their vital marketing communications. Being entrusted so often with this responsibility has had a profound effect on my life.
In the early days, my goal was simply to produce results that were better than my competition. I soon discovered this was incredibly easy to do. As it turned out, the rate of marketing success in the consumer goods and services industry was, to put it bluntly, lousy. Even today, the success rate remains extremely low; marketers continue to throw new product and service concepts into research knowing that only about one in 30 will score well enough to continue developing, and only one in 300 will get launched into the market. Their bigger problem is that they can’t find 30 to throw into the research. It seems failure is so prevalent in the industry that a high level of it has become acceptable.
I also discovered early on that I could not tolerate anywhere near such a level of failure in my life, whether it was acceptable or not. From the very beginning, I have taken failure personally, and that has not changed; if anything, my commitment to success has only gotten stronger. I knew from the start that if I were going to continue in this business, I would have to develop a methodology that could be relied upon to consistently produce success.
My strategy for learning how to create success was simple; I began monitoring it wherever I could find it. Given my personal involvement in so many projects, I was afforded the opportunity to observe many successes, as well as failures, firsthand. I was exposed to the launch of a new business about every three to four weeks.
As I observed, month after month, I was able to identify things that routinely worked. As time passed, I made notes and found I had trouble keeping them organized or even finding them. You see, the insights come whenever they feel like it. More often than not, they come to me in the night, or early in the morning when I am at home. I had notes everywhere, and was sure I was losing many of them. One night, I woke up and was so anxious to record my thought, I wrote it on a handy paper plate.
I soon noticed how incredibly easy that note was to keep track of and—you guessed it—since that night, paper plates have been my medium for ground-breaking thoughts. There came a day when those plates were used to organize all of my observations on my living room floor. That day was when I discovered what we generally refer to as the remarkability paradigm. It emerged, and ultimately proved to be, the secret to marketing success. That paradigm forms the basis of my book, and is all that is required for you too, to create success for yourself. When it comes to creating success, it is accurate to assume that on that day I literally “cracked the code” that I now am sharing with you. These days I get laughed at a lot for my paper plates, but out of sheer respect, and I am not likely to let go of the habit.
Keith Chambers is founder of The Chambers Group, based in Los Angeles, CA. With “Pull,” Chambers recreates his remarkable ‘big-business’ marketing methodology for small and medium-sized businesses. He explains how “Pull,”(a force in the marketing universe that compels humans to take anything that occurs as extraordinary and quickly make it ordinary), relates to maintaining a strong business identity and presence. You can find his book at amazon.com.