In the decades preceding World War I, America went through the Golden Age of Soapbox Oratory. Often tied to social or political movements, speakers stood on wooden shipping crates of every size hoping to draw in crowds and sell their ideas.
Only the most skilled wordsmiths weaved their words together in such a way that gave them the audience they desired, all while standing atop the same soapboxes shared by their contemporaries.
Size and shape notwithstanding, every soapbox is the same.
Some are larger than others; some have wood chipped off or nails peeking out. Others are painted and pristine or sturdy and spotless. There are ones that are neglected and others who have never left the spotlight. This is all irrelevant, and these descriptions can be applied to any facade covering any business, brick-and-mortar or digital. The common denominator remains true. The only way an idea can become successful is if the speaker can sell it.
The soapboxes of the 1910s and 20s have grown into today’s landscape of social media and endless advertising, all begging for attention. When I was a kid, my favorite part of the week was Tuesdays, when my Dad and I would get donuts from the local corner shop on our way to school. If I could paint, I’d give you a perfect picture of the front of that store even 20+ years later. I have no idea where it is, but it’s firm in my memory. My day after that was all downhill, of course. Hey, I was seven.
Today though, customers are finding it ok to want more than just the product. The customer-client contract has been changed, renegotiated. Now you can get gourmet donuts boxed for you, done conveniently from the food truck parked just where you’d want it to be. A burger isn’t just a burger anymore, it’s the experience. Every product has evolved to something just beyond the product. Now, people talk and businesses are forced to listen to them standing boldly on their soapbox.
An idea that’s perfectly choreographed from beginning to end creates a memorable experience that leaves people begging, itching for more. The intrigue and curiosity generated from these efforts are boundless and not owned by any one industry.
What you do with your soapbox is entirely up to you, but I suggest you box your gourmet donuts.