Doctor Who’s Favorite (Marketing) Dish: Fish Fingers and Custard!

Doctor Who’s Favorite (Marketing) Dish: Fish Fingers and Custard!

“New mouth, New rules!” — The Doctor

Worried that your marketing sounds a lot like everyone else’s? It happens. To the best of us!

Usually because we’re too insecure to throw away those sales page blueprints and email templates and create our own path.

We’re afraid to stop listening to the advice of the A-Listers and Influencers for just five minutes and do a gut check with ourselves.

The Doctor has just what you need.

Even if you’re unfamiliar with Time Lords and weeping angels, I promise you’ll find these tips helpful the next time you feel stuck or even fearful about your marketing.

To start, let’s take a look at a particular scene from Doctor Who: The Doctor (a Time Lord; probably the only one left in the Universe) has just regenerated for the 11th time in nearly 900 years.

What’s important to note is that he is still himself. With all the memories and wisdom that entails. But — and this is crucial, too — he’s also new and different. A fresh slant on the old Doctor. He looks different. He has new tastes. New quirks. A whole new personality. (If we were talking about marketing, we might call it a brand refresh.)

And because the process takes/creates an enormous amount of energy, the Doctor usually finds himself a bit out of sorts afterward (much like you and I do after a long biz planning session).

This time around he is (ahem) astronomically hungry.

The problem? The foods his last body loved so much no longer meet his needs…

Did you catch all those beautiful marketing lessons? Here’s what I saw:

Stay relevant. 

If your branding no longer serves you or your mission, it’s probably time to make a change. And to do that, you need to…

Nurture a Beginner’s Mind.

Try to approach your topic without preconceived notions of what will “work” or what “needs” to be done. Instead, reach down deep and turn up the volume on your enthusiasm and optimistic nature. There’ll be plenty of time later to let that crotchety old nag in your head back into the picture.

If you’ve not done this before, you might feel a bit wibbly-wobbly. But keep at it. With practice, you’ll soon re-discover the awe-inducing power of looking at things with the eyes of a child.

Experiment freely.

Instead of copying how “everyone else” does something, ask yourself What if questions. And then take some action and see what happens.

Express yourself!

Love or hate something? Then say so. Don’t just go along with the crowd because you’re worried about looking silly or hurting someone’s feelings. Usually, if you’re passionately for or against something, that’s a huge clue about who you really are as a human being and a business owner. Leverage that in your branding. You can start by writing a manifesto.

Don't be afraid of weird combinations in your marketingDon’t be afraid of weird combinations.

Remember the old Reese’s commercial? You’ve got your chocolate in my peanut butter was a huge success precisely because people didn’t expect that particular mix of ingredients.

Fish fingers and custard are like that, too. What two juxtaposed ideas or topics could you combine? (Marketing and Cooking are my two things — sometimes I even throw in a little sci-fi!)

Use what you’ve got on hand.

Open your metaphorical fridge and take a look at what’s in there. Do an inventory of your assets. There might be a few wonderful surprises waiting for you.

You might not need to invest in any more “tools” or “programs” to find real business satisfaction.

Build on the greatness.

Once you’ve discovered something that really grabs people by the juevos, turn up the marketing volume and create more opportunities for your audience to get involved.

The BBC saw the power of that Doctor Who episode and decided to create an Official Intergalactic Fish Fingers and Custard Day (It’s next week! April 3rd). And a quick online search for “Fish Fingers and Custard” yields over 340,000 results — with everything from fan videos to recipes. That’s a lot of audience participation and extra PR. And it’ll go a long way toward solidifying the fans’ love for the Doctor Who brand.

What current offering could you leverage in similar ways?

Are there other marketing lessons hiding in this dish?

Share your thoughts in a comment below and let’s brainstorm!

p.s. – Fellow Whovians seeking more Doctor Who marketing tips might want to check out this post and this inforgraphic.

p.p.s – This post is part of the awesome Word Carnival. Read more posts on this month’s theme: Close (Biz) Encounters of the Sci-Fi Kind

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  • Sharon Hurley Hall

    I love Dr Who, so I was hooked from the start, Tea. Must admit I never looked at that last regeneration in that light, but it makes perfect sense. The only other lesson from Dr Who? Believe in yourself – you might be able to fix anything with your sonic screwdriver!

    • Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      Yes! Believe in yourself and your talents. Listen to your own advice (at least half the time). We’ve got to do a lot of that, if we’re going to be successful.

  • Carol Lynn Rivera

    From a fellow Doctor Who fan… awesome! Although I find it hard to believe that humans existed without chocolate and peanut butter. And shame on me for not knowing about fish fingers and custard day! You are truly a font of information and inspiration :)

    I’m right on your page with the whole “stop listening to people who tell you they know more than you/better/the right way”. There is no shortage of experts and yet there is still so much confusion and insecurity about marketing, You’d think all these experts would have cleared it all up by now.

    Be relevant… be yourself… oh, and have some fun!

    • Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      He he…not really me, but Google who is the fount of info. I just wanted to see if anyone else had written about small biz and fish fingers!

  • Ashley Welton

    Great post Tea!! I love unexpected combinations – in the kitchen, on the page, in marketing. I think it’s the secret sauce that keeps it interesting. And what’s more – the A-lister advice was once an experiment for them too. Make your potions, weave your magic with a little guidance from those who’ve walk the path before. Brilliant!

    • Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      Thanks Ashley. :-) So glad to have you in the carnival.

  • SandyMcD

    Tea every post you write has a nugget. This is mine from this post: “…reach down deep and turn up the volume on your enthusiasm and optimistic nature.” I think that is inspired advise and that if each day we spent time to tune in and turn up the volume we would work to our best potential. I wish I had a wall big enough for Tea’s inspirations!

    Off to get the ingredients for next weeks fish finger and custard feast. Sounds like our midnight feasts of old and the inner child in me is delirious with excitement!

    • Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      Thanks Sandy. Let me know what you think of your feast.

  • Laura Petrolino

    Fantastic advice! I believe to be a successful marketer you need a few key ingredients: a cup of strategy, a bit of ego, a dash of fearlessness and a sprinkle of openmindedness. Combine, stir, put in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes and you’ve got yourself a campaign! You describe the who, what, where, how and why of all of these so well here!

    • Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      Thanks Laura – glad to hear from another fearless chef!

  • Nicole Fende

    Despite being a huge Sci-fi geek I’ve never done Dr. Who. You’re winning me over. After we finish the Voyager series I’m going to suggest we try Dr. Who. Didn’t it air 50 years ago originally? Is it on Netflix?

    Love the advice of unexpected combinations.

    • Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      It did! This year is actually the 50th anniversary year. It was off-air tho for about 16 years before it came back. Yes, it should be on Netflix. And if you have cable (on-demand) it is sometimes there as well.

  • Nick Armstrong

    This is filled with brilliance! How could you not enjoy a brand refresh when carried out with the humor and tenacity of The Doctor?

    I suspect he’s one of the few people who’ve actively come out against Bacon and is still applauded and loved. Sheesh.

    I’ve always liked the idea of The Doctor; he’s a great role model for anyone who can stick with the series long enough to see a whole run for any particular doctor.

    I’ve found myself unsubscribing from a lot of lists lately, not because I don’t like the folks I’m following, but it’s really time to just discover my own path. And I’ve been working hard toward that end 😀 Glad to see I’m right as far as The Doctor is concerned 😀

    • Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      That’s great to hear, Nick! Since you’re already so far ahead of most of us, when you DO reach that place where you feel 100% you, the world is gonna rock on its foundation.

      • Nick Armstrong

        “Ahead”? Like hell, Tea! 😀 I’m learning same as everyone else.

        Just managed to get lucky a few times here and there. I dunno if I’ll ever get to 100% :-) We’ll see…

    • Annie Sisk

      Oh Nick, I totally hear you on the “something’s not quite fitting right here” thing. Been feeling that way myself lately. Cannot wait to see where it leads you. As for you, Miss Word Chef, well freakin’ done – another masterpiece from the master chef!

      • Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

        Thanks Annie!

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