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Superhero Business – What Startups can learn from Comic Books
by Startacus Admin
Admittedly, there’s not a lot of money in being a superhero per se, but they’re easily one of the more recognisable brands around. Noone in Gotham city is wondering what people mean by “The Batman” and New Yorkers all know a lot about their web slinging, wall crawling, friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. Marketing may be only one of the important lessons that comic books can teach a startup, but it’s really only the tip of the iceberg.
Business tips we can take from Superheroes.
What’s the one thing a Superhero has to be? Recognisable as something that people want! If you’re going to help people, don’t dress to terrify them. Same applies with your business - you have to appear as something that people would want to see. For example, if you start a bakery, make it appear like the ideal bakery. Not a haunted house of horrors. (unless that’s your whole thing and you want to sell haunted horror cakes).
“I wear the outfit to scare criminals, not children” - Batman – DC The New Frontier
Next up is branding and brand awareness. Look far and wide, you’d be pretty hard pressed even today to find someone who wouldn’t recognise the iconic “S” shield, the symbol for the last son of Krypton, Superman. In many instances, the shield was displayed not only on Superman's chest but at scenes of his rescues and triumphs. In fact this was to instil confidence in the brand that was ‘Superman’. In business, the same method applies, if you don’t utilise your branding and publicise it so that buyers are confident in your product, then you’re failing at an important part of your business.
“It gives people hope” – Clark Kent – Smallville
Putting in to something in order to get results is a key lesson we can learn from the Incredible Hulk. Once a poor scientist who would flip out and turn into a giant, green, rage monster, he later invested a lot of time, effort and money into learning about his faults, fixing them and ultimately becoming the Avenger’s Hero that we know him as today. Same with business, if you don’t put the work, time and money into fixing your startup problems, it could just go on a rampage before collapsing and being taken out by competitors.
“It's good to meet you, Dr. Banner. Your work on anti-electron collisions is unparalleled. And I'm a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.” – Tony Stark – Avengers Assemble
Startups may be small, but every super power has to start somewhere. The important thing here is to remember that despite your business's success, the responsibility to your customers and clients remains the same. In fact, the bigger you get the more important that responsibility is. Without those people, you wouldn’t be in business, and if your standards in quality, customer service or even just delivery happen to slip, you could lose those customers forever. This entire lesson is the raison d’être for Spider-Man, having been picky about the crimes he should and shouldn’t stop – he lost his uncle to a criminal he let get away.
“With Great Power – Comes Great Responsibility” – Ben Parker – Spider-Man
Finally we can learn one of the greatest business lessons from one of the most successful businessmen (who chooses to don a costume and fights villains). Tony Stark (Iron Man) shocked the Marvel Universe with his public admission to being Iron Man. He also saw the importance of being who you are as a hero, and there’s nothing to be gained from hiding it.
Sure - all businesses have secrets and that’s fine, but keeping everything a secret removes any personality or humanity from the business. On top of that, it promotes certain levels oftrust between consumers and businesses.
“I AM Iron Man” – Tony Stark – Iron Man
There are plenty more of these lessons that superheroes can relay onto business practices. If you can think of any we’d love to hear them!