In a busy Washington DC subway in 2007, thousands of busy commuters were rushing to start their daily commute. For them, it was just another day.
But for one person in the subway, it was more of an experiment. Joshua Bell, the world’s most acclaimed violinist, playing on his 3.5 million Stradivarius violin, was busking.
Most of the commuters on this subway simply rushed past him. A few glanced in his direction, even fewer slowed, and just a handful stopped to listen.
After a 45-minute performance, Bell had received $32 and change.
You can watch the timelapse of the video here — it’s had over 7 million views on YouTube.
That’s about 5000x less than he would typically earn for an intimate performance like that where the audience was up close and personal.
But the experiment proved Bell’s original hypothesis — people only cared when they were primed to care.
Think about it.
If Bell’s performance were packaged differently — the listeners would be sitting on bated breath, listening to every staccato, triplet and crescendo. If Bell’s performance had been packaged differently, he would have had fans all around the US making sure they were at the metro that day. And if Bell had packaged it differently, he probably would have needed security, too, to protect that violin worth more than three Lamborghini Aventadors.
But with the wrong packaging, he earned less than five-year-old playing Christmas carols.
Without packaging, Bell is just another busker trying to pay his rent.
Which is the moral of the story.
Packaging makes a world of difference.
It’s why a Gucci store looks the way it does and why the Louvre has all that security to protect the Mona Lisa. If you want something to be valued, you need to package it in a way that makes it so.
Packaging takes information and communicates (persuasively) to make sure all the benefits are valued appropriately.
I think we, as coaches and practitioners, absolutely suck at this.
Outside of a few outliers who usually get pilloried online (Knees over toes, Westside etc), most of us package what we do as generic, mediocre, and typical.
Methodology aside — these guys get packaging right, and it’s why they’re making an impact with more people than we are. You might not like it, but it’s true nonetheless.
It’s why I’ve told all my mentees to move away from generic labelling when they package their services and offers, and it’s also why I get them to spend so much time on the second, third and fourth-order benefits of their products and services.
It’s also the same reason our athlete testing experience isn’t called ‘Performance Testing’; instead, it’s called the Elite Athlete GamePlan™.
Because Performance Testing is a dime a dozen. People have already decided what they’re willing to spend on a service like that.
Take from this what you can.
– Karl Goodman