So this is Eric the Car Guy’s January 2019 newsletter. This only goes to people who are actually his subscribers. He gets really personal in here. It’s kind of amazing. I’d like to just highlight some things in here.
Eric says “I don’t feel the same way I did when I started 10 years ago. I don’t feel the same hunger, (or maybe “desperation” is a better word.) I think that’s what attracted people to my channel in the first place: the desperation and the way I overcame it.”
“I think they saw the same desperation in themselves and my videos helped them overcome it. Let’s face it: if you’ve got a broken vehicle and you can’t get it to work, you might be feeling pretty desperate.”
Eric’s right about all of that. But what he’s telling us here in this newsletter is that his youtube views over the last couple of years are lower than he wanted them to be. And he thinks the reason is because he’s no longer as relatable as he used to be.
Eric is one of the most I suspect one of the most successful guys on YouTube and he says he’s not relatable. Now he rightly diagnoses that part of the reason for his success was that he was extremely relatable, What he fails to recognize is that as he shares what’s going on with himself, he continues to be relatable.
So let’s take a moment real quick and review the the elements of a powerful emotionally compelling persona.
Now a powerful persona – in fact this comes from my training course How to Craft an Irresistible Persona – a powerful persona does something to us as individuals. It creates in us a desire to follow that person.
A well-crafted persona will inevitably provoke emotions in the follower and give the followers confidence that the person that they’re relating to is worth following and is trustworthy.
When we see Hollywood create powerful movies – movies that really connect with their audience – they’re doing a couple of things.
They’re creating positive emotions in their audience. And they’re doing it by creating heroes who are actually believable.
We see the important components of creating a powerful, emotionally resonant persona in the person of Steve Jobs.
Now Steve Jobs had a reputation as being a narcissistic asshole. And a lot of folks think that that narcissism – that assholery that he was so famous for – actually weakened him in terms of his ability to lead Apple and in his terms of his ability to persuade people.
But in fact it was his well-kn own asshole or his well-known narcissism that made him human.
One of the things that human beings love to do is put someone up on a pedestal. But when we put someone up on a pedestal, one of the things that happens is we stop relating to them because we know ourselves. We know we are not perfect.
One of the things that Steve Jobs narcissism did was it brought him off of his pedestal. As brilliant as he was, as visionary as he was, as charismatic as he was, we all knew he was also an asshole, And we also knew that he was he was very much like us.
And in a strange way that humanity – that Steve Jobs exhibited for decades in front of the entire world – is what is a great part of what made him so compelling and so persuasive.
He had flaws and he didn’t hide those flaws.
If we have a modern Steve Jobs, it’s probably Elon Musk. He’s every bit as visionary – in fact possibly even more visionary – than Steve Jobs.
Where Steve Jobs was fundamentally an artist who was concerned about the style and aesthetics of things, Elon Musk is fundamentally an engineer. And there are some of those very common engineering quirks that we see in Elon Musk. But those don’t make him relatable.
It is his flaws that make him relatable. And he’s got a couple of doozies. We’ve seen them exhibited here in the last several months.
He tends to be a little bit morose sometimes. In fact I think it is his deep fear and concern about the future of the human race that drives his creativity. But it also sucks him down into a black hole of depression sometimes. And because he displays that for the world, it humanizes him for us.
Yes, he’s on a pedestal in many ways, (to us – the normal humans around the world.) But he’s also human. And because we see those flaws in him. it makes us feel like, “oh he’s one of us!”
It makes him relatable. And because he’s relatable to us, it makes us much more willing to listen to and believe and most importantly follow him.
He’s got flaws that he doesn’t hide.
I’m gonna go back to Eric the Car Guy’s videos now. He says this, “Just about every one of my dreams in life has come true, thanks to the success of Eric the Car Guy. So why am I not happy? I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately.”
I want to pause here folks. Do you realize this is one of the most successful youtubers on the planet sending out a newsletter to his subscribers saying “I don’t feel happy. I’m struggling with depression “?
Eric, I’m going to talk directly to you now, man.
You could not have done anything more powerful to improve the strength of your brand, to increase the emotional resonance that you have with your audience, than by sharing this fear, this flaw, this weakness that you have.
One of the most powerful things that any brand persona can do is prove that they are human. I talked about Steve Jobs. I talked about Elon Musk, And we see the same thing here now with Eric the Car Guy.
These people who have great success, we look up to them. But we also want to relate to them.
Why do we want to relate to our heroes?
Well, because if we see that someone who is just like us has achieved great success, then that means that someone just like me can achieve great success. That creates the type of emotion that creates in us is hope. And there is almost no emotion in the world stronger than hope.
So, as you create your brand’s persona, if you want to create that kind of incredibly powerful emotional connection with your audience, then you’ve got to share with them that you’re human. And the way you do that is the way Eric the Car Guy did it: by sharing a fear or a flaw that everyone can relate to.
This is Jack Heald for Cult Your Brand. Thanks for watching.