Mesmerizing Your Market

Actor Johnny Depp commands millions because he connects with audiences at the box office. You can connect with your audiences by following his example.

Johnny Depp is a high school dropout who has played a swishy pirate, a cannibalistic barber and an artificial man with scissors for hands and now commands more than $40 million per movie role. Blogger and web designer Martyn Chamberlain credits Depp with being a mesmerizing marketer — and a role model for the rest of us.

How does a guy go from a garage band to layers of makeup to the A-list of movie stars? Chamberlain cites three traits exemplified by Depp:

"Johnny Depp knows his audience"

Depp connects with his audience and delivers what they want. He is entertaining, even at times outrageous. He is at once the guy you want to be and the guy you would never let your daughter near. With all due respect to the man in the Dos Equis commercial, Depp is the most interesting man in the world — to his audience. Pirates of the Caribbean is just another pirate movie without Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow a la Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

"Johnny Depp keeps his focus"

Are you designing your collateral or video to win an award for creativity or are you producing content your audience wants via a channel they use? It is easy to take your eye off the ball, but expect your batting average to droop. Depp is adept at choosing movie scripts that are a good match between him and his audience. Don't expect him to play Abraham Lincoln any time soon. His audience expects edgy and Depp concentrates on being on the edge.

"Johnny Depp isn't afraid of work"

Despite looking like a hippie and having ballpoint pen salesman on his resume, Depp is shrewd. He knows his audience wants characters from him and it takes work — hard, soul-searching work — to develop those characters. Some of Depp's potential future roles include a reprise of the Tin Man, Tonto in a Lone Ranger film and comic book star Rex Mundi. This from a guy who already has played Ichabod, Willy Wonka and a facsimile of Hunter S. Thompson named Raoul Duke. As Chamberlain observes, Depp realizes every character, every scene is a "link in the chain that brings you to the next level."

His parting advice: "Some days you feel like retreating to your little hometown, but remember, when the camera's running, you have to connect."

Keep that in mind when you are writing a letter, creating web content or posting a blog.