Did you see this viral photo on Facebook? (and why it matters)
It’s finally time to reveal one of the Obsession Eleven principles for writing words that wow.
I named it after this viral photo from 3 years ago:
Context: Students were asked to dress as princesses one week at a dance school in North Carolina.
One little girl came dressed as a hot dog. And the internet went crazy for her—me included.
(People have wondered if her costume was inspired by Adventure Time but I haven’t seen it confirmed.)
Why did so many people love Hot Dog Girl so much?
Her costume is the opposite of what you’d expect for a princess.
She had the guts to buck tradition.
She had the guts to not be “pretty” in the way you’d think a little girl would.
Plus, Hot Dog Girl is smiling. Nobody forced her to, say, wear her brother’s old Halloween costume out of necessity. She wanted to wear a hot dog costume. So she surprises and delights us.
Which brings me to…
Obsession Eleven Principle #1: When they go princess...you go hot dog
Let's talk about this at the brand level, before getting into the sentence level.
Most service providers try to be the prettiest princess in their industry. This is a mistake, and I’ll prove it to you.
Without looking at the photo again, describe one of the traditional princesses—just one.
You can’t, can you? You might remember they were all wearing gowns, or how they were blonde or brunette. Maybe you remember the colors of the gowns. But which blonde was wearing which color gown? Was she short or tall? You don’t remember, do you?
But you remember Hot Dog Girl.
Hot Dog Girl is memorable, but I want to drive this point home, so I’m going to say she is remember-able.
And being remember-able is absolutely critical in business. But many business people forego remember-ability so they can be:
The most deeply empathic life coach
The most results-driven business coach
The cleverest copywriter
The most prestigious anybody in their field
They’re trying to be the prettiest princess of their industry.
—> This applies to men in business, too. (Just in case you were taking ‘princess’ literally.) <—
The problem is everyone sort of blends together after a while. Your customer wants to know: why should I pick YOU?
Or perhaps more basically: why should I remember you?
Because if they can’t remember you, they can't choose you. So be the hot dog, and not the princess.
You also want to ‘go hot dog’ with your copywriting and your content marketing
‘When they go princess, you go hot dog’ applies to the way you talk and write about your business. You want to ‘go hot dog’ in your sentences, too.
Because, when you’re reading, your mind expects a certain result. It anticipates. It assumes.
Kinda like how we expect princesses on princess day.
ICYMI, I’ve been running my Obsession Mastermind since January (and it’s almost over 😭 )--here’s an example I gave them in our last session.
Original princess statement:
A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.
Going hot dog might look like:
They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, but I say it begins with chalupas at the Taco Bell drive-thru.
If I’m going on a journey of a thousand miles, it’s happening in first class, or I’m not getting on the plane, Penelope.
The only way I’m going on a journey of a thousand miles is if someone is carrying me, preferably in a litter, at least 97% of the way.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, sure...but it ends the minute you realize you forgot to shut the freezer door before you left.
(In case you can’t tell I like to make fun of the “inspirational sayings” people share on Instagram with a picture of a daffodil.)
Each of these hot dog statements defy your expectations. And copywriting that surprises you is copywriting that makes you feel something.
And that’s how you become remember-able.