The television show “Seinfeld” is historic and iconic. It’s ranked as one of the top shows in the history of TV.
We love the show so much here at MASSolutions that, years ago, we implemented our own no BS version of what we call the “Seinfeld” storytelling approach.
We found inspiration in an episode from Season 4 called, “The Pitch.” NBC mentions to Jerry Seinfeld that he can make a pitch for a potential sitcom on their network.
Jerry sits down with his friend George in the diner and they begin to talk about it. It starts off actually with George talking about salsa, which epitomizes the show, which is supposedly about nothing, but we all know is about much more than that.
George breaks it down about how the pitch to NBC should be about this show that’s about nothing. Jerry proceeds to say, “What do you mean nothing?” and George continues to talk, “Remember that time we went to the Chinese restaurant? That could be an episode.”
George talks about how there could be characters in the show, and Jerry says, “Huh?”
“I could be on the show,” George says, and Jerry shakes his head. “Elaine could be on the show.”
Then he says, “Kramer could be on the show,” and Jerry replies, “Now, he’s a character.”
This whole conversation drives MASSolutions’ “Seinfeld” storytelling approach.
“Seinfeld” supposedly was about nothing.
The reality is the show is far from nothing. It is about us, and the minutia of everyday life and how we handle it.
It really is about something.
The first part of the “Seinfeld” storytelling approach is what you think is nothing is actually something to some of your key target audiences. What you think of as nothing is actually important to others.
We’re all good at certain things. We have our unique ability and there are things that come naturally to us. They energize us.
When we’re asked to do those things, we complete those tasks much easier because we’re energized. It’s not that they came easy, they took a lifetime of training and a lifetime of expertise, but you don’t see it that way.
You think you just took care of something. So, when somebody asks you to do that, after you complete it, you say, “Oh, it was nothing.”
How many of you say, “Oh, it was nothing,” again and again? People in marketing, PR, communications, the digital aspect, do it all the time.
Graphic designers, visual people do it all the time.
When someone outside of marketing asks us to do something, we take care of them and go, “Oh, that was nothing.”
Don’t minimize what you did. You should say, “You’re welcome.”
There probably are some excellent things going on at your business that you just think are “nothing.” They’re part of your process.
It might be a step that you think you would never promote.
It might be something that you think is buried in what you all do.
But the reality is your customers actually love it. What you thought was nothing is actually something.
There are stories that can be mined about your business and your team that can make what you think is nothing become something.
The second major part of the MASSolutions’ “Seinfeld” storytelling approach is that stories are about people. Remember, George told Jerry that their circle of friends all could be characters in the TV show.
Similarly, your people are doing unique things that make them and your company special. You need to tell that unique, human part of the story.
Why did reality TV, which I call fake reality, take off in popularity 15 or 20 years ago?
Because they’re stories about people, and we all can relate to stories about people.
You have characters that are doing things again and again, and you need to tell those stories about your people.
I’m not talking just about the stories on how your CEO achieved this or that, or that you hired a new high-profile position person, I’m talking about Jenny who works at the front desk. Someone who knows and can predict what everyone needs – both customers and employees – and does her job with a cheery disposition. The Jenny factor.
Those are the stories you need to tell. I’m talking about that person on your team that does something unique to make others in the company happy.
It doesn’t even have to be something they do for customers. It might be something they do internally because people drive stories. Stories are about people.
You have characters at your company.
That’s how you can take that famous show “Seinfeld” and those amazing characters that most of us can relate to – not just Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer – but all those other characters that you remember.
That’s also how it is with you and your company.
David Mastovich is founder and CEO of MASSolutions, host of the “No BS Marketing” podcast and author of the book “Get Where You Want to Go Through Marketing, Selling and Story Telling.”