What Ryan Gosling can teach you about running your business

ryan goslingUnless you’re a Goslingite – that name given to individuals, both male and female, who worship the ground Hollywood actor Ryan Gosling walks on – you’ve probably never had occasion to wonder how his existence could teach you invaluable lessons on how to run your business. But as it turns out, there’s a lot to learn from one journalist’s observations on Gosling, marketing, and the importance of story.

Before accidentally stumbling upon the movie star’s colorful biography, Shane Snow was one of the “take it or leave it” crowd when it came to all things Gosling. One day while perusing Wikipedia, Snow learned that little Ryan grew up a strange child who used to get into trouble at school for imitating the violent antics of Rambo; he was diagnosed at an early age with ADHD; he was picked on by other kids; and at age 12, after being accepted as a member of the star-making Mickey Mouse Club, fellow cast-mate Justin Timberlake’s mother became his legal guardian.

What does this have to do with running your business? Hold on, it’s coming. After reading up on Gosling’s fascinating biography, Snow found himself an instant convert. He credits this sudden, unexpected advocacy – which has led him to watch every movie Ryan Gosling ever made – to the establishment of relationship. By learning about Gosling’s backstory, Snow realized he now had something he didn’t have before: an emotional investment.

And this is precisely where you really have to pay attention. For years, marketing gurus have been shouting from the rooftops about the need to establish relationships with customers to keep them coming back again. Not just professional relationships where you thank someone for their business, or offer the occasional coupon to returning customers, or even send them an automated email on their birthday. But deeper connections. The kinds that turn people from casual customers into a bona fide advocates.

The key to accomplishing this is by developing your brand story. Of course, we can’t all lay claim to the kind of strange and inspiring background that someone like Ryan Gosling has. But that doesn’t mean your brand story isn’t important. You just have to find a way to get it across to your customers. How?

First, stop focusing so much on data. Data is important, sure. But when it comes to writing content for your website, or working up blogs to drive increased traffic and business, simply regurgitating information will bore your audience to tears. Instead of being in constant “ad mode,” switch gears.

Next, show your personality. No business is faceless. Every company, whether it’s a Mom and Pop shop or a million dollar corporation, should have a spokesperson – the “face” to go with the name. But don’t just slap up a happy image and call it a day. Take steps to ensure customers get to know the individual behind the eyes by writing first-person blog posts that share real life stories and anecdotes that emphasize the I over the we.

These suggestions may not get you a Goslingite-style following, but it’s a start that can work otherwise acceptable wonders for your business.

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