Two interesting things happened last week – Louis CK self-distributed a stand-up special via his website and my car was towed.
How My Car Got Towed:
The townhome complex I live in bans residents parking across the street in an open parking area. It’s reserved for guests only. If you have two cars and a one car garage, which we do, you’re supposed to park one car in the garage and one in the driveway. If you park in guest parking, the penalty ranges from fines up to getting your car towed.
Since the day we moved in, four months ago, I’ve been parking in the guest lot. With a few other residents parking there and still plenty of available space for guests, I didn’t think it was a big deal.
About every other month, news updates from the townhome association came in the mail. In every issue was a warning that you could receive fines or the possibility of being towed for parking in the guest lot. I called their bluff.
On Saturday morning I woke up to find my car missing. While I hoped it had been stolen, I knew that they finally got the plumbs to tow my car. The threats weren’t empty.
3 hours and $279 later, I was behind the wheel of my 1998 hail-dented Chevy Lumina once again. Yay.
Louis CK Self-Distributes a Stand-Up Special:
Last week Louis CK bucked traditional cable channels and put out a comedy special through his website (read more),. So far the experiment has been a huge success that will likely be repeated in the future. To promote the special, he wrote a personal message on his website, did an IAmA on Reddit as well as several media interviews. It was impossible to read the news last week without seeing several variations of this story.
Both of these events have a similar theme – personalization is the most effective way to influence behavior.
The warnings I received about the potential for getting my car towed were vague. There was nothing personal about it or that they even knew people were currently parking there.
If they sent me a letter saying “Your Chevy Lumina is illegally parked. You have 24 hours to move it before it’s towed.” I would have moved it immediately. Though, that takes more work. And they don’t care. It takes less effort to get my car towed. Though this leaves a bad taste in my mouth toward the association for a variety of reasons (they didn’t have to pick a tow company 25 minutes away when there is one 2 minutes down the road).
Louis CK made the release of his stand-up special very personal. By cutting out all the middle men, if you torrented the special, you were stealing directly from him. The “The labels take all the money” excuse didn’t work this time. Along with a personal statement on his website, he took to Reddit to answer questions. Both things he didn’t have to do, but were very influential in sales.
Personalization works, but takes more effort. And as humans, we are generally opt to take the path of less effort.
If celebrities want to get a really passionate fan base, all they have to do is hustle the @ reply. That’s it. Every single person they @ reply has a story to tell their friends and a conversation piece whenever that celebrities next movie/album/book comes out. Gary Vaynerchuk is the ultimate example of this, but even Adam Carolla is pretty good with it.
When you acknowledge someone as an individual, the impact of your actions exponentially increase.
You’re no longer pushing out content, you’re changing the context of the relationship, which has giant ramifications.
Connect with me on Twitter: @BenNesvig