I love the Rocky movies. (Except for Rocky 5 which really just should not have been made.) But every other Rocky movie has just hit the spot for me. So when Rocky Balboa undertook his final fight in Rocky 6, it’s safe to say that I was a little sad that it was the end of an era.
But I should have known better.
Because he’s back… in Rocky 7. This is not a joke. And unsurprisingly… I. Just. Can’t. Wait.
Before you pooh pooh this movie and write it off as a ridiculous story about an ageing boxer, let me assure you that Rocky isn’t coming back into the ring in a feeble attempt to win a world championship as a geriatric. (Now that would be just ridiculous.) Rocky 7 is called Creed and it’s about Rocky training of the son of Apollo Creed, who you may remember was Rocky’s original nemesis before they eventually became friends.
People often associate the Rocky movie franchise with pumped up males who need a meat-head hero to inspire them to train. But I have to say that I think entrepreneurs can learn a hell of a lot from Rocky.
1. Feed a hungry crowd
If there’s one thing that the creator of Rocky – Sylvester Stallone – knows about, it’s that he has a hungry crowd. Clearly, audiences can’t get enough of Rocky. They are even so loyal that they forgave him the mistake of Rocky 5 and came back to support Rocky 6.
So he keeps making more movies because he knows that audiences will pay for tickets and, most likely, tell all their friends how great the film is, resulting in even greater box office success.
Remember, if the hungry crowd doesn’t get fed, they’ll end up finding a new “tribe” to belong to.
Do you have a hungry crowd? Or a community of people who love your products? One of the biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs make is when they don’t feed their hungry crowd. They don’t innovate their products. They don’t offer new services. Instead, they stick with their original offering and just hope new customers are going to discover it.
However, it takes A LOT more effort to acquire a new customer than it does to convince an existing happy customer to buy something else. So don’t ignore your hungry crowd. Even though Sylvester Stallone has certainly made other movies, it’s the fans of Rocky that just keep coming back again and again. Because they want more.
From the last instalment … Rocky 6.
2. Leverage your brand
So we know that Rocky movies work. But Sylvester Stallone also clearly knows that he has a powerful brand on his hands.
In addition to the movies, there is also Rocky The Musical. Yes you read that correctly. A musical. It’s been staged in both Hamburg and on Broadway.
No it’s not a spoof, it’s a bona fide musical version of the story of Rocky Balboa. It probably introduced a whole new demographic of testosterone-fuelled fighters to the genre for the first time. AND introduced a slew of musical theatre devotees to the world of heavyweight world championship fighting!
From all reports, it was successful. And there’s no doubt that Stallone is laughing all the way to the bank. As an entrepreneur, can you leverage your brand to create other revenue opportunities?
Take a look at Rocky The Musical.
3. Continuity of the experience
When your customers have a great experience with you, they hope that will happen again when they deal with you next time. So you need to ensure there is some continuity in their experience – either in the people they deal with, the experience they receive, or the outcomes they achieve.
You often hear people say things like: “I used to go to that restaurant but then the maitre’d left and it wasn’t the same. So I haven’t been back.” “I used to go to that hairdresser but my colourist left and I haven’t been back.”
It’s the same with the Rocky movies. Sylvester Stallone knew he had to bring back the audience’s favourite characters in each movie – his trainer Mickey, his brother-in-law Paulie, and so on – but also inject some fresh faces in each instalment as well. People like familiarity, they like to know what they are going to get. If your tribe expects a certain level of quality from you – and you continue to deliver it – they WILL keep coming back.
4. It’s all about going the distance
If there’s one thing that Rocky embodies it’s sheer determination persistence. One of my favourite lines from Rocky 6 is when speaks to his son:
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.
“But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
As entrepreneurs, we have to ride the ups and downs of… life. And when it’s tough, it can be easy to throw in the towel. But remember that, sometimes, you just keep moving forward. Because… in the immortal words of Rocky… that’s how winning is done.
Check out the trailer of Creed (Rocky 7)