Anyone has traveled for business before has lived this nightmare before.
It’s Friday night and you just landed at the airport.
You just want to get home.
Your flight was delayed and you’re standing – annoyed – at baggage claim for 20 minutes waiting for your suitcase.
In my harsh reality, the airport had booked a lounge lizard to “entertain” by the carousels.
When my bag finally emerged, I sleepily boarded the shuttle bus to the parking garage and moped to my car.
Exhausted, frustrated and weary, I turned on the Toyota and the radio boomed a perfectly-timed tune.
“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide. No escape from reality.”
Instantly, the stress slipped away as a local radio station was playing Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, one of the most amazing songs of all-time, and definitely a perfect song to drive to.
That stress was replaced by a body, mind and soul happiness.
“Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango?”
I call moments like these 180s – because your mood completely reverses – for better or for worse.
As marketers, we want our products to instill Positive 180s (from bad to good) instead of Negative 180s (from good to bad).
While Positive 180s are the goal, there is also power in the Negative 180s.
At the recent xPotomac digital conference in Washington, DC, the audience experienced a Negative 180.
After a day of networking, presentations and learning, author Andrew Keen began his anticipated keynote by announcing that we in the audience were unworthy of presenting at this event, despite the assertion that a conference organizer said precisely the opposite earlier in the day. (No matter the fact that the audience included CEOs, chief marketers, globally-celebrated digital pioneers, college professors, brand managers and other highly-qualified potential presenters.)
The “delta” – the change in attitude in the room – was clear.
Keen then shredded the infatuation we seem to have with ourselves – we update our statuses on countless networks and post a mega-narcissistic amount of photos. He said this while constantly referencing the books he had written, a fact not lost on most attendees.
During the Q&A portion of his keynote, he side-stepped most of the questions, further riling the crowd. When someone asked him what his counter-proposal to increased use of technology would be, he said there isn’t really one. The problem? He just spent 45 minutes ranting against technology!
The consensus among attendees was two-fold:
1) He wasn’t entirely wrong. We kind of love ourselves a bit too much online. But that isn’t always a bad thing.
2) He presented this in the wrong way to the wrong crowd.
The issue, then, wasn’t with what his argument was, but with how he went about making his point, especially the Negative 180. The change in the vibe in the room was noticeable: a happy, engaged crowd of professionals nearly rioted as he belittled, ignored and mocked.
As a whole, the conference was filled with tremendous insights, which will likely fill space here for months to come. But the presentation that I know attendees remember the most is the one with the clear Negative 180.
Sentiment, of course, is an entirely different matter.