You probably don’t know Joshua Bell.
Well I didn’t.
But I wasn’t alone.
On Jan 12, 2007, about a thousand and seven people passed by Joshua Bell.
You see Joshua was playing his violin–busking as it were–at the L’Enfant Plaza metro station in Washington D.C.
At this mornings rush hour, the crowd surged past him.
Some glanced in Josh’s direction; some slowed down their pace.
But most were just buried in their own thoughts and deadlines.
Seven actually stopped and listened for a minute or more.
And Joshua made $32 and some change for the 45-minute performance.
It’s just coincidental that Joshua Bell is one of the world’s most revered violinists on the planet today.
It’s also coincidental that not-so-good seats at his sold-out concerts sell at $100 a pop. And of course, that in Josh’s hand was a $3.5 million Stradivari violin.
So why would a world-class musician, who commands $1000 a minute get no r-e-s-p-e-c-t?
The answer lies in packaging.
If you head to the Louvre in Paris, you’ll inevitably end up at the painting of the Mona Lisa. You don’t need to have any skills to get to where the Mona Lisa sits.
Just follow the crowd, as they ignore spectacular works of art, in quest of the Mona Lisa.
And Joshua Bell is a ‘Mona Lisa’ with the right packaging.
Because Joshua sure gets r-e-s-p-e-c-t when he’s promoted as a world-class violinist. Crowds sit in hushed awe, even afraid to cough, as he plays the notoriously difficult piece ‘Chaconne’, that few violists ever master.
But even before Joshua plays a single note, the pre-show packaging is hard at work. The $3.5 million violin he holds in his hand is a show-stopper by itself.
Packaging is everything.
We’re told to focus on content, but hey Joshua had the content.
He was playing on the best possible instrument. In the best possible way. With surprisingly good acoustics.
But no one had told those one thousand and seven people at the metro, what to expect.
Imagine if they announced that there was a world-class violinist at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station.
Imagine if they said he was playing with a million-dollar violin.
Imagine if there were six armed guards around him to protect him. Now imagine the chaos, as people jostled to catch a view of Joshua and his wonderful violin.
Without the packaging, the Mona Lisa is just another painting. Without the packaging, Joshua is simply another busker. And without the packaging, your product or service ain’t worth a lot.
So how do you get customers to appreciate and consume your content?
2) The Presentation.
3) The Content itself.
So if you run a restaurant, and you served a delicious steak, the clients would need:
1) The Education: Where the steak comes from. What you do to prepare the steak. Which chef works on your steak. And how to spot the delicate flavours.
2) The presentation: The manner in which you present the product is critical. It must be a joy to simply see the steak.
3) The content itself: Yes, the steak must deliver. Otherwise there’s no point.
If you run a workshop or a presentation, your audience needs:
1) The Education: Where the clients understand why the methodology of training. Where they get specific reasoning why you’re bringing their attention to a specific piece of information.
2) The Presentation: Where specific props and methodology is used–and not just some boring Powerpoint presentation.
3 ) The content itself: Yup, tell them what you wanted to tell them.
And the customer is now appreciating your product/service like no customer has ever done before.
But appreciation is only a tiny part of the deal.
Consumption is the part that’s really important.
A Joshua Bell concert is consumed in its entirety, because of the packaging. The Mona Lisa is never missed, because of the packaging. Your product or service won’t stay half-consumed, because you’ve taken the trouble to package it.
And consumption is critical, because if the customer doesn’t consume the product/service, they’re unlikely to come back. They’re unlikely to become a repeat customer.
You can have the best content in the world, but if you don’t take steps to package your product, you risk the customer not understanding, and hence not using your product/service to the maximum.
Yes, ‘content is still king.’
But ‘packaging’ announces that the ‘king’ is arriving.
Because without the packaging, your wonderful content has the value of $32.
And some change.