Marketing lessons learned from ‘Inception’

Who knew that watching a newly released blockbuster hit would not only be entertaining, but extremely helpful! The movie ‘Inception’ is about a theif, Dom Cobb (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), who has gained the power to enter into the dreams of people and plant ideas inside of their heads. 
Account executive at McKee Wallwork Cleveland Advertising, Jonathan Lewis, has discovered five marketing lessons hidden within the film.

1. Simplicity. 
Eames: “Listen, if you’re going to perform inception you need imagination.”
Cobb: “Let me ask you something, have you done it before?”
Eames: “We tried it, we got the idea in place but it didn’t take.”
Cobb: “You didn’t plant it deep enough?”
Eames: “Well, it’s not about depth. You need the simplest version of the idea in order for it to grow naturally in the subject’s mind. It’s a very subtle art.”

To make an idea stick, you must first introduce it to an audience in it’s most simplest form. Time is money, and people won’t always be pacient with you. However, the moment you grab the attention of your audience, you’re in. You can then explain your idea further and in detail.

2. Everyone Brings Baggage to the Relationship. 
When entering Robert Fischer’s (Cillian Murphy) dream, the last thing Cobb’s team expected to see was a train plowing through traffic and Cobb’s wife repelling from the ceiling. But just like everyone who consumes a marketing message, Cobb was bringing his baggage with him.

When giving and recieving messages, you must try and refrain from being biased. Naturally, your personal experiences and what you have learned over the years will play a role in your opinions of these messages. But in the professional world, it is very important to see things from other points of view and be able to understand them even if you disagree with them.

3. The Role of Emotion.
Cobb: “…Subconscious is fueled by emotion, right? Not reason. We need to find a way to translate this into an emotional concept.”
Arthur: “How do you translate a business strategy into an emotion?”
In one swift sentence Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) condensed the chief problem and chief aim of every marketer.

A simple way to grab someones attention is to be able to relate to them on an emotional level. Finding something in common with your audience makes your message more personal and easier to relate to. Not only will your audience listen to your message, but they will also understand it.

4. Always Be Ready to Improvise.
Cobb’s team had formulated a brilliant plan to meticulously enter Fischer’s dreams, layer by layer, until they had planted the inception deep in his mind. What they hadn’t planned for were subconscious security forces trained to destroy anyone meddling in his mind.

This is important in any situation.  You must always, always, always be ready to make changes quickly and be able to work in a fast paced environment.  If a crisis hits your company and you don’t act quickly, things can go bad for your company very fast.

5. The Target Must Think It Was Their Idea.
Arthur: “So he gives himself the idea.”
Eames: “Precisely. It’s the only way it will stick. It has to seem self generated.”

I don’t know of anyone who likes being bossed around and being told what to do. So in order for a person to follow through with an idea, there must be something in it for them. A good example that Jonathan Lewis provides in his article is if free engravings are being offered on Apple products, people would probably more likely follow through with the idea because they have a really clever message to be engraved.

I have never seen the movie ‘Inception’, but after reading this article I definitely will!

Everything I Know About Marketing I Learned from ‘Inception’


About calawre

I am a student at SIUE planning to major in Speech Communications-Public Relations, and minor in Mass Communications-TV/Radio and Theater & Dance. I am on the SIUE Dance Team.
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