Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Trip to Sesame Street...

Here's a funny little video that a friend posted on Facebook recently:

I'll share with you that I've must have watched this easily a dozen times.  I love it for its humor, its irreverence and its ability to engage multiple audiences all at the same time.  While I was pondering all of the lovely ways this video is so great, this tweet flew by from @AlanSee which crystallized my thoughts:

"What is our business? Who is the customer? What does the customer value? - Peter Drucker"

And, in a moment, I became inspired to write about Sesame Street.  Like many of you, I watched many an episode while growing up.  I loved all of the characters (real and muppet) and felt like I had a relationship with them.  I felt like the screen was a mere detail.  I was "in it" and captive.  I felt like I was part of the neighborhood.

Sesame Street knows its customer.

Their customers are the adults who enjoyed the celebrity appearances then (Lena Horne, anyone?) and the adults who are about to have kids or who have kids now that remember the magic then but can enjoy it still (Old Spice parody).  They still feel like they are part of the neighborhood - but just maybe in a different house.

Skeptical?  As an adult, I've made many references to Sesame Street; if I've finally met someone after only hearing about them, I'll make a Snuffleupagus reference (Big Bird's formerly invisible friend).  And, I'm not the only adult who can make those references.  A new friend mentioned on Facebook that he was taking his kids to Sesame Street Live and another new friend posted "Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street."  Yesterday, this was the back and forth:

 Sean Hand 

 Casey M. Karl 

 Sean Hand 


It pays to know what your customer values.

I know what you may be thinking.  You may be thinking that Sesame Street is a rather poor example because it's on public television.  Well, during a session on Cause Marketing at #unGeeked Chicago, Sima Dahl mentioned donating to PBS because she thinks Sesame Street is important.  That was her only reason.  She can't be the only person to have that level of passion and commitment to Sesame Street.  

It pays to have share of pop culture.  Sesame Street is successful because it still wants us as part of the neighborhood - even if we haven't tuned into an episode for years.  It remembers us and delivers things to us that reinforce the connection.  They have always been masters of word of mouth and viral marketing...  way before those things had names, shapes and thought leaders imploring us to consider them as strategic tools.

What's your take on Sesame Street?  I'd like to hear what you have to say.  And, if you have Sesame Street fans in your circle, please share with them.  I'd love to hear their two cents as well.

Parissa Behnia
Idea Chef

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