Carole Baskin business

Business marketing lessons from Tiger King

These are stressful times for anyone running a small business.

When business owners can’t physically get in front of clients and customers, the online world has to take the full weight of projecting our values, heart, talent and services.

That can be a challenge!

How do you squeeze personality into pixels?

And how do you do it in a way that your clients find authentic and appealing?

Marketing lessons from classic stories: Tiger King

You could potentially argue that storytelling has been holding us together during these crazy times.

Take Netflix’s smash hit doco Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. We’ve debated the ‘did she didn’t she’ on socials, clogged up the internet with memes, and given our nod of approval to whoever cast Nicholas Cage as Joe Exotic in the upcoming film.

You may have watched Tiger King for pure enjoyment. But I was noting down some very important small business marketing lessons — even for those who don’t run a tiger sanctuary/wildlife park..

5 storytelling strategies you can learn from Carole Baskin

Now, I’m not suggesting you feed your other half to the tigers so you can claim sole dominion over the dining room-cum-office. Or getting your business competition/nemesis locked behind bars so you can take the lions-share of your market.

I’m talking about mimicking Carole’s marketing goddess techniques for Big Cat Rescue. On the surface, she looks like a woman who know how to sell herself. But she is doing so much more.

1. Create a catchy tagline. And use it.

Carole has her own calling card that she uses relentlessly: “Hey all you cool cats and kittens”. Why does it work? It’s not about her. In one short snappy phrase, she makes it all about the cats and the people who love them.

2. Skill up and show up.

Carole is a bit of a dag. She’s been wearing those flower-crowns so long they’ve come back into fashion. But she owns it. So what if you’re still in your kaftan at midday because of social isolation? Learn to use all the tech, get your face on the socials, and don’t worry so much about how you look. It’s the ‘showing up’ where your audience is that really matters.

3. Be present for your clients every single day.

Carole always seems to be filming herself and posting to YouTube. Or doing Facebook live sessions. Or updating her social feeds. She communicates to her audience in some way almost every single day. If you can’t manage every day because you have a life outside your business and you’re busy doing business, every few days is fine.

4. Know your shtick.

Carole knows what Big Cat Rescue stands for. She is a big cat saviour and she is going to take down anyone who mistreats these glorious animals. She has her shtick down pat and can smoothly sell the biz to any tv crew, volunteer or park visitor who happens to pass her by.

5. Care about the service you’re offering.

Carole has got a lot of undeserved criticism online. It’s obvious that she genuinely cares about the cats, and raising awareness of their plight. Even if she did feed her ex hubby to a tiger, she did it because he was taking the business in a direction that didn’t align with her morals. But, she didn’t.   

5 marketing lessons learned the hard way by Joe Exotic

Or Tiger King strategies you should run a mile from

1. It’s not about Joe Exotic, it’s about the cats – the heart of what is driving your business.

2. It’s not about Joe Exotic, it’s about the business purpose. The hired film crew and makeshift throne showed that the park was a platform for Joe’s ego. And it was off-putting.

3. It’s not about Joe Exotic, it’s about the customers. Joe Exotic walks into the gift shop and casually drops a truth bomb on his customers. When a tiger bites off a staff member’s leg, a refund is not going to make that okay for anyone.   

4. It’s not about Joe Exotic, it’s about the team. All those committed staff Joe drew around him played a crucial role in keeping his business functioning.

5. It’s not about getting ahead through trickery, mockery or threats – it’s about authenticity and honesty. Read Big Eye Agency’s article about Joe’s blackhat SEO tactics and consider yourself forewarned.

Image of Carole: Netflix; Olivia Reaney/Insider 

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