Cessna has just launched a new advertising campaign - and I LOVE it. Cessna gets who their customer is, and they're not worried about anything else. It reminds me of what Thomas Baldwin, CEO of Morton's, said about staying focused on the things you can control.
Fast Company doesn't like the ad; saying, "Where can we get a reality-distortion field, like the one the Cessna people have?" Cessna understands two critical items:
1. Fast Company is not their client, and
2. The only stance that provides any chance of success is an assertive, confident one.
Difficult times call for leadership. Leadership requires risk. Leadership, by it's nature, is positive. In difficult markets, you must embrace the negative and stay positive. Recessionary markets are not for the meek or the weak of heart. Succeeding in a recession requires focus, confidence, aggressive action, and taking the long view. It's not about winning the battle - it's about succeeding in the war. Cessna gets that if they don't drive an agenda they lose by definition.
Now think about this for a moment - what percentage of people in the country fit the psychological profile of a Cessna buyer; and have the need and ability to buy? Maybe .01%? If that's the case, that's the entire universe Cessna should pay attention to. 99.99% of market opinion doesn't manner. What's more - what if Cessna is being delusional? What if Fast Company is right and it's foolish to buy a private jet or use Cessna's services right now? There would be no point.
One of my favorite movies of all time is The Shawshank Redemption. It's the story of Andy Dufresne who goes through several trials and tribulations - both physically and mentally. Andy never forgets that his goal is to get out and get to Mexico. Near the end of the movie, Andy is sent to solitary confinement for a considerable amount of time. Andy is released and starts talking to his close prison friend, Red, about his dream of going to Mexico. Red becomes worried about him and thought Andy has lost his will. The dialogue from the movie is right on for today; here it is:
- Andy: You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific?
- Red: No.
- Andy: They say it has no memory. That's where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory.
- Red: I don't think you ought to be doing this to yourself, Andy. This is just shitty pipedreams. I mean, Mexico is way the hell down there and you're in here, and that's the way it is.
- Andy: Yeah, right. That's the way it is. It's down there and I'm in here. I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'.
So how are you talking? Are you talking the language of living; or are you talking the language of dying? Cessna is clearly talking the language of living - and it's the only language that makes thriving possible.