What the Batman trilogy can teach leaders

February 20, 2014

classic-batman-logoWhen I was about eight, a fruit bat flew into our house. My brother, sister and I ran screaming from the room, but I was also delighted. Why? I finally shared something in common with my hero, Batman – a fear of bats!

So it was with complete joy and geek delight that I, a lifelong Batman fan, immersed myself in the entire Batman trilogy, shown back-to-back at the IMAX cinema recently. (No, I didn’t wear a bat suit, but that is only because I don’t have one!).  I would contend that there is a lesson for all leaders, marketers, and business owners — anyone who communicates and influences on a daily basis, in the Batman trilogy.

Instead of carefully crafting your content, around purpose and audience, start with emotion. When watching the trilogy, I was feeling exactly what the British–American director, screenwriter and producer, Christopher Nolan, who directed the trilogy wanted me to feel: completely besotted by Batman.

If you decide what you want your audience to feel, and get that right, you will also create fans.

But why is this so hard?

Quite often we are shackled by the past, precedents that have been set. For example, when I work with CEOs designing their road-show content, quite often the biggest barrier to change is the mantra: ‘But this is how we have always done it’. Imagine the burden and gift of a legacy Nolan faced when he began the Batman trilogy.  Batman movies have been done before, using stellar actors like Jack Nicholson playing The Joker.. Nolan had the challenging task of keeping fans happy, yet carving out new ground,.

Our challenge as influential communicators is how to use the shackles of the past as stepping stones to the future.  Nolan did this by presenting Batman not as another comic book movie but an action / adventure movie and gave us a darker more human Batman loved by both critics and fans.  You too can be respectful of the past without being chained to it.

So how are you going to start with emotion and use the past as stepping stones not shackles?

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