I’ve been reading the book, All Business Is Show Business by Scott McKain and one of the ideas I like in it is the High Concept.
The high concept is a phrase used in the movie industry to quickly summarise what a film is about.
Man eating sharks = Jaws
Bomb on a bus = Speed
The high concept puts over the big idea or the plot of the movie in a few words and often creates a feeling of excitement or emotion which you’ll get from seeing the film. It gives you a sense of the drama.
“Bomb on a bus” probably gets you to Speed, “bomb on a bus that can’t slow down” is a slightly longer but an even more dramatic summary of the plot.
And “one day to save America”?
It’s my summary of the TV series 24, as we follow the actions of Jack Bauer in real time. I love it and I’m addicted.
I’ve written before of the need to create a short summary of your business idea – What Three Words Describe Your Business?
I said I want you to think of the theme “profit from differentiation” when you think of me.
I’m happy with that positioning since it ties together profit and differentiation.
I’m not so sure that it is my high concept.
It’s an appeal to the conscious mind.
The high concept idea has made me think more about connection to the emotional mind.
I’m currently using ” A business to be proud of.”
It’s the flip side.
A business that is well differentiated in ways that customers value will be profitable.
But because it’s distinctive, special and unique it’s also a business to be proud of.
What’s your high concept that has emotional appeal?
A quick note on Scott McKain.
I have enjoyed reading his books All Business Is Show Business, What Customers Really Want and The Collapse of Distinction and will be reviewing them but there is controversy. Scott talks about his connection to Obsidian Enterprises in the books which has collapsed as it was allegedly financed by a Ponzi scheme. Scott McKain does not appear to have been involved in the dodgy stuff see Ties to Durham haven’t hurt McKain.
Don’t let the scandal put you off. The idea of the High Concept is still very valid.
You need to help your audience to position your business in their minds clearly and uniquely.
If you don’t, either they’ll slot you in as “just like…” or even worse, not even consider you worth remembering.
Paul Simister is a business strategy coach who helps small business owners to profit from differentiating their businesses, by being distinctive in the eyes of their customers and standing out in a crowded marketplace…. in other words, by building a business to be proud of.