Lately I have been having some difficulty coming up with ideas for new websites or marketing ideas. I have had several frustrating brainstorming sessions in between freelance projects that have proved fruitless. I, like many others, are trying to come up with the next big idea and something that hasn’t been done (or done well) before. Obviously these eureka moments and ideas don’t come every day.
Spending time with my seven-year-old son over the weekend definitely taught me something that I am beginning to explore. My son’s two favorite things at the moment are professional wrestling and Super Mario Bros. Oddly enough, these were two mf my favorite things growing up when I was much older than he was.
I grew up in the eighties in the heyday of wrestling. Vince McMahon and his Titan Sports broke the time old tradition and became a national (and international) wrestling promoter in a world dominated by regional players. He signed the top talent from other companies, signed national deals and took his show across North America. I remember attending house shows in my hometown of Oshawa and attending Wrestlemania in Toronto as a teenager.
In my day my favorites were Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Ric Flair, Andre The Giant and The Road Warriors. The WWE is now a billion dollar company and my son and I regularly hit Galaxy Cinemas to watch the pay-per-views and watch the weekly programming of both the WWE and TNA. Blake’s current favorites are Rey Mysterio, John Cena and Kofi Kingston.
Another blast from the past for me is playing the newest Super Mario Bros for the Wii and Nintendo DS. The game itself is a bit cleaner and crisper than the arcade and Nintendo version that I played but the concept is the same. Jump on turtles, hit the bricks for coins, the mushrooms make you bigger and the flowers give you fireballs.
So how do I think these two items will help me with my thought process and brainstorming? There are three things that come to mind.
The first is that you can take a longstanding and tested business and innovate to make it much more successful. Vince McMahon started out with a regional wrestling promotion and decided that it was time to make it international. He stepped on a lot of toes along the way and has even been blamed for the death of many wrestlers before their time (which is tragic and I plan on writing on this at a later date) but his innovations have not only helped his industry but many others.
Vince McMahon and Titan Sports pioneered the pay-per-view that helped boxing and UFC become successes in their own right. He hired professional bookers and writers to make the world of wrestling not just about the physical feats and bouts but also about the storylines, feuds and drama behind them. He created heroes and villains and marketed the hell out of them. Just as he captured my imagination (and money) as a youth, he does the same with the kids of today and the parents who remember all the greats of yester year.
What did I learn from Super Mario Bros? Don’t mess with success. Like I mentioned before the game play in this newest version is remarkably similar to what it was twenty years ago. What also strikes me is that kids love it just as much as they used to. Super Mario Bros has had countless releases of its tried, true and tested games as well as successful spin-offs including several racing games, soccer, baseball and Mario Party. If you are successful in one area of your business, analyze and see if you can leverage your current services and expand using both your knowledge and success.
Last lesson is that things that appealed to youths in the past can appeal to the youths of today as well as the parents who make the spending decision. Take a look at things that you really enjoyed growing up. Is anyone still doing it and would the kids of today bug their parents to buy this product or service or take them to a particular event?
So its back to the drawing board newly inspired and hoping to come up with my next idea/project.