A weekly illustrated newsletter on using edutainment to grow your business.

Every Friday, get a short weekly illustrated newsletter by edutainment expert Adam Fairhead. Each issue contains a bite-sized tip to grow your business using proven edutainment techniques, and a fun cartoon to help you remember what you learn.

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Productoon is a storyteller's dream. Adam's newsletter ignites big ideas and explores bite-sized strategies to help every creative embrace authenticity and create genuinely great content along the way.

@jordanbhodgson, Slack program manager
Productoon

Will AI eventually replace YOU?

There’s a simple test to find out.

It’s very simple:

  1. Take one of your social posts at random
  2. Take a random competitor’s social post
  3. Swap who said which (visually or in your mind)
  4. Show them to someone who follows you

If they look at the competitor’s one (which is secretly yours)…
And they don’t think, “Hey, they ripped your material”…
…You’re replaceable.

If they look at your one (which is secretly the competitor’s)…
And they don’t think, “Hm, that doesn’t sound like you”…
…You’re replaceable.

You’d know if your mother or best friend had a personality transplant.
Because you know who they are. And you like them for it. You trust them for it.

If someone replaced your mother with a robot that sounded similar?
It’s still not your mother. You wouldn’t trust it.

Want to be irreplaceable?

Invest in what won’t change:

  • Know what your market wants
  • Know how they want to receive it
  • Know their inner-narrative you fit into
  • Build an un-ignorably good experience based on that

Question for the week: How easily do you feel like AI could replace YOU currently, and why?

Reply to this email with your answer. I read every one, and reply with support to as many as I can.

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Productoon

Is personal branding really what you think it is?

It’s not about making people like brands. It’s the opposite.

Personal branding is about making brands like people. Let’s explore how in 3 steps:

1. Flip it upside down

If you’re branding yourself, don’t try to become like a company.

Companies don’t even want to be like companies. They want people to form relationships with them, to be seen as relatable and trustworthy, with shared beliefs and shared culture. Put another way, they want to be people. Doesn’t matter what you’re branding. Could be yourself. Could be your company

Don’t brand either like a company. Brand it like a person.

2. Design a friend

Now we have a person, let’s turn it into a friend.

What’s the difference between people and friends? Friends do the above things. They’re relatable and trustworthy. They have shared beliefs and shared culture. They know how to get great gifts, or show you a great time. They know what you like, how you like to receive it. They know what you think is awesome, or lame. They know what tickles your funny-bone.

That’s who people like spending time with. Design that.

3. Focus on the big three

Now we have a personality (person or company) people want to be around.

Now you just need to do what that person would do. Continue to learn what they want, how they love to receive it. And continually express that to them in the most unignorably-awesome ways you possibly can.

Now we’ve turned that friend into a BFF.

Who are you more likely to engage with on social media, a cold corporation, a person, a friend, or your BFF? Who are you more likely to support in new ventures, a cold corporation, a person, a friend, or your BFF? Who are you more likely to buy from when they ask, a cold corporation, a person, a friend, or your BFF?

Over to you:

Question for the week: Which part of this stood out to you most? Which part excites you the most for your brand?

Reply to this email with your answer. I read every one, and reply with support to as many as I can.

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Productoon

Is marketing getting easier or harder?

Most would say harder…

And they’re right. If by harder they mean “different and I hate change.”

But it’s actually simpler than ever.
Despite the competition. Despite the changes.

Here’s why:

Gatekeepers are gone.

Sure, there are algorithms…

But they’re only there to show people more of what they like. So if you’re not showing up, you didn’t show enough people that they like it yet. That’s all.

Gatekeepers used to unlock specific captive audiences. Now they’re gone, you need to define cohorts within your audience yourself. It’s different, but you’re in control.

Feedback is public.

How did people feel about your banner ads? You have no idea.

On social, you do. You’re connecting with individuals, seeing their words in response to yours. You can even see what they talk about on their own profiles.

We’ve never had more data available to us. Now we have it, we need to analyse it to improve our creative. It’s different, but you’re in control.

People are still starved for good stuff.

Of the >800 million videos on YouTube…

How many channels do you love and look forward to regularly? If you can think of more than 3, you’re doing very well.

People want to consume things they want to consume, in ways they love to consume it. And you only really have ~3 real competitors per cohort.

Sure, you need to produce fantastic stuff. It’s different. But you’re in control.

So.

You have permission.

All the data.

And a wide-open opportunity.

Still think its harder?

Over to you, friends:

Question for the week: Do you feel excited or overwhelmed by the opportunity in modern marketing? And why?

Reply to this email with your answer. I read every one, and reply with support to as many as I can.

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Productoon

Who’s the best marketer in your business?

Even in a company of one, it should not be you.

But wait… If no one loves your business more than you do… How could it possibly be anyone else?

Because the best marketers are always:

Your customers.

But there’s a problem: Most businesses have no clue how to ‘recruit’ their customers as effective marketers.

There are a few ways… today we’re going to cover the best way. Integrating edutainment into your attraction, activation, and advocacy stages.

Attraction: They want to come to you

Produce marketing materials that people love and look forward to.

Letting people discover your business through video content that resembles what they already love watching (so they can enjoy watching you too, instead of just skipping you).

Letting people play with a product mock with a fun guide and contextualised seed data (so they’ve already tasted wins before signing up).

Letting people play with an interactive quiz that starts solving their problems right away (so they’re already associating you with easy, fun progress).

Letting people play with a game-style walkthrough to explore your physical location (and find secret goodies, so they already know your place before visiting).

People look forward to seeing you. Stage one of recruitment complete.

Activation: They want to use your product/service

Make getting setup with you so delightful they’ll work you into their life.

Make onboarding fun so they can’t not complete it. Incentivise onboarding completion so there are bonuses for doing it now. Give more bonuses for trying out new features. Be creative about what the rewards are.

Give your product/service a personality so people feel like they’re building a relationship, not just using a tool. Let it talk to them, let it be a ‘person’, let loyalty develop within that relationship. Let it remember their birthday. Let it have a birthday.

People look forward to using you. Stage two of recruitment complete.

Advocacy: They want to tell others about you

Make associating with you and sharing you with others make them look good.

Make the act of referring feel novel, creative and new (so they feel like they’ve found something wonderful that their peers will appreciate, increasing status).

Make the material benefit to referrals be bigger than cash. Don’t think of it like “coercing someone to tell others”. Think of it like levelling up a character in an role-playing game.

Since the Activation stage made them want to play, this is where we help them level-up.

People want to tell others about you. Stage three of recruitment complete.

After all, who doesn’t want:

  • Effective marketing
  • High ROAS and CTRs
  • High onboarding success rates
  • Low customer churn
  • High referral rate

Over to you, friends:

Question of the week: Which of the three stages above do you feel is weakest for you currently? What ideas come to mind for improving it (if any)?

Reply to this email with your answer. I read every one, and reply with support to as many as I can.

Have a good weekend champ,

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Productoon

Is there a ‘secret’ to irresistible marketing?

Nah. No secret. But there are patterns. 3 of them, in fact.

Since the market’s inundated with content, why not follow them?

After all, you don’t just want to be seen. You want to be unforgettable. So this week, we’re diving into the three key elements that make that happen. They’re not new-fangled things. They’re timeless. Just like you’re about to be:

Learn WHAT they want

Talk to them. Learn their inner-narrative. Decide where in that inner-narrative your work should fit. Then tell their narrative back to them with you included. By giving people what they truly want, you lay the groundwork for engagement and loyalty.

Deliver it HOW they love to receive it

Explore the various channels and formats your audience prefers, whether it’s social media, email newsletters, podcasts, or interactive experiences. Explore what it is they love about the specific content they consume on those channels, so you can show up as one of the ones they love, not one of the ones they skip.

Build quality at that intersection

That intersection of WHAT and HOW is your sub-niche. The amount of high-quality material at that specific intersection is likely very small. So over-cook your response: create materials so remarkable in that intersection that it simple cannot be ignored. Great storytelling. Amazing visuals. Immersive experiences. Think big and own that intersection.

If it doesn’t get the response you want, you either:

  • Didn’t learn what they wanted
  • Didn’t learn how they love to receive it
  • Didn’t build high-enough-quality experiences
  • Didn’t give it enough time to germinate in your market

Over to you, friends:

Question for the week: Of those 4 bullet points, which do you think is holding you back most?

Reply to this email with your answer. I read every one, and reply with support to as many as I can.

Have a good weekend champ,

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Productoon

Is there anything worse than a relationship ending?

You can probably think of a time that happens. Ughh. Yowch.
Exhausting to think about.

If your product had feelings, it’d probably feel the same way about customers who leave.

And we can’t have that.

So here are 3 ways you can use edutainment principles to increase customer retention for your product or service. Your product’s feelings are at stake:

1) Your brand becomes a friend, not just a service provider

When a service provider comes to your house, you offer them a drink then keep out of their way. You want them there only for as long as they’re doing precisely what they need to, then you want them gone.

When a friend comes to your house, you offer them your whole fridge, a place to stay if they need it. You want them there for as long as they want to be there.The difference is profound. We need to give the brand a voice and personality (in both product UX and content) to ‘befriend’ rather than merely ‘transact’. Make signing up easy, valuable, and enjoyable. Make getting started easy, valuable, and enjoyable. Don’t behave like a service provider. Behave like a friend.

2) Edutaining content: another reason to stay engaged

Knowledgebase. FAQs. Documentation. Guides. These all sound boring, don’t they? That impression didn’t come from nowhere. We learned this the hard way over many years: going deeper with a product is kinda boring.

But we want users to go deeper. So use better paradigms. If your people enjoy the comic in their newspaper, use that paradigm. If your people enjoy watching fun videos on YouTube or Netflix in their own time, use that paradigm. If your people like playing games, use that paradigm. Give them WHAT they want to know, HOW they love to consume.

3) Sticking with 1 and 2 is where ‘a spark’ comes from

We’re faithful to our partners. We wouldn’t ‘switch to a competitor’. Those relationships started by being a friend: interactions being easy, valuable and enjoyable. Those relationships were nurtured by giving reasons to stay engaged, modelling paradigms they enjoy.

And so it is with products we ‘love’: we don’t cancel them when we’re not ‘feeling it’ or they go through a rough patch, we don’t switch because someone else has ‘better features’. Sustained integration of effective edutainment makes your product about as churn-proof as you’re ever likely to get without being the single only option on the market. Not because you’re “the only choice”, or even “the best choice”, but because you’re “my choice”.

Question for the week: which of these do you think could apply to YOUR business? Do you have ideas of how you might apply them, even if they’re just dreamy head-in-the-clouds ideas?

Reply to this email with your answer.
I read every one, and reply to as many as I can.

Have a good weekend lovebirds,

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Productoon

We’re told we should be making great offers…

But look at your own behaviour. Is this true?

Here’s what you may notice:

OK offers: no claims, average terms, no bonuses.

Good offers: big claims, great terms and great bonuses.

Great offers: no claims, average terms, no bonuses.

Wait… how can OK and Great be the same?

Let’s find the answer in some examples:

Let’s take a designer toy collector.

If their favourite artist launches a new drop, and they like how it looks, they just need to know the time and place. They don’t need extras or refund policies to convince them. They already set aside the funds.

Or when a new iPhone comes out.

Apple fans know that Samsung will give you a powerful phone with a great screen, 7 years of support, a charger, a free tablet, the list goes on. But they’re already set on buying the next iPhone and it hasn’t even been announced yet.

Why didn’t the designer need a ‘killer offer’?

Because the artist took them on a journey they see their role in (purveyor of fine designer goods, first to back a winning horse, the identity of having a keen eye)
Because the artist gave more than they asked for (showing up regularly at micro-events around the world, limited run drops and gifts for many years)
Because the artist made it enjoyable (collecting scarce goods is naturally addictive and enjoyable for many people)

Why didn’t Jobs need a ‘killer offer’?

Because Jobs took them on a journey they see their role in (1984 dystopian future, which he associated with Microsoft)
Because Jobs gave more than he asked for (fought for tech that cared about design, fought labels for uniform 99¢ tracks, fought for tablet segment to not be geeks-only, etc)
Because Jobs made it enjoyable (the marketing, the unboxing, the setup, the UI, the identity)

And that’s just for designer toys and gadgets.

Nobody ‘needs’ these things.

Meanwhile, my social inboxes are exploding with strangers offering to ‘grow my business’ with huge claims, seemingly-great terms and seemingly-great bonuses.

And yet I just delete them.

It’s not the offer that needs to be irresistible.

It’s the brand.
Specifically, the message/journey, value transfer, and user enjoyment.
Just like for the designer.
Just like for Jobs.

If you’re not investing in a great brand, you need to invest in ‘killer offers’.
If you’re investing in growing a great brand, you don’t.

Question for the week:💪Which do you think is weakest in your business: the message/journey, the value transfer, or the user enjoyment?

Reply to this email with your answer.
I read every one, and reply to as many as I can.

Have a good weekend humans,

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Productoon

If you believe what you read in the news,
You’d think AI will replace creators.

But AI does not replace creators.</br> At least, not all of them.

How do you know if you’ll be one of them?

AI helps average creators stay average.

It makes low-effort work more low-effort.
It makes forgettable work more forgettable.
It makes commoditised work more commoditised.

If you pump out templated content, video ads that look like powerpoint presentations, and ChatGPT-written articles, your days (or at least your marketing’s days) are numbered.

Examples of ways to stay average with AI:

  • AI as your replacement (if you think it can replace you, you’re right)
  • AI as a text spinner (recycling other people’s content rather than finding your own voice)
  • AI as a video generator (if you and your style aren’t present, why should we care about the source)
  • AI as your guide (rather than as your sidekick)

AI helps great creators stay great.

It makes remarkable work more remarkable.
It makes shareable ideas more shareable.
It makes masterful work more masterful.

If you thoughtfully produce great content, experiences that people love and look forward to, and use AI as a thought accelerant instead of your replacement, your days have only just begun.

Examples of ways to stay great with AI:

  • AI as a brainstorming buddy (to kick ideas around with you 24/7)
  • AI as an audience member (let it behave in response to your audience insights, see what it says)
  • AI as devil’s advocate (let it poke holes in your work before you publish)
  • AI as a time machine (let it show you your work from different angles, so you can see which you like best before you build it properly)

The difference won’t be subtle.

The good news?
You get to choose which side of the culling you’d like to be on!

Question for the week: What you’d love to create but have been too afraid to invest the time or resources into!

Reply to this email with your answer.
I read every one, and reply to as many as I can.

Have a good weekend humans,

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