Superman, Batman and worldviews

Everyone sees the world differently, but our worldviews vary in clumps. Some people are focused on today, some on tomorrow. Some people see an innovation as an opportunity, others see a risk. Some people want strength while others seek obedience. Some want facts, others prefer fables.

Smart marketers understand that these biases and expectations are shared across particular groups (sometimes connected groups–tribes). When speaking to the market, you will always do better if your story resonates with the worldview of the collective you're trying to reach. Yes, this grouping is a gross generalization, perhaps one that will lead to errors. On the other hand, it's far more effective than assuming that everyone sees and hears the same (or different).

Consider two common worldviews: Superman's and Batman's.

Batman comes to the world angry. His origin story is filled with vengeance and revenge, and in his iconic (non Adam West) backstory, he is the merciless enforcer of right and wrong. Batman-types see the world as a zero sum game, and battles are either won or lost.

Superman, on the other hand, comes to our world with his gifts and sees his life as an opportunity and an obligation, one that he embraces. Superman could easily kill all the bad guys in a heartbeat, but he never does. For him, every challenge is an opportunity for healing. He believes in redemption and finds pleasure in using his gifts to help others.

Imagine giving a talk to a conference full of Batman types. It's going to be very different than one filled with people who share Superman's privileged and generous worldview, no?

There are dozens of other worldview-types out there. Consider the nerd (who prides himself on knowing the details), the jester (who seeks to cause mischief) and the too-busy monkey, who just wants to know what to do next (and his cousin, the parrot, who wants to do what he's told).

It's virtually impossible to sell a product or an idea or a vote to all of these groups at once. One story just isn't going to do it, which is why there are many kinds of cars, political persuasions and vacation spots. Instead of trying to delight everyone in Gotham City, it pays to find people who already resonate with the story you want to tell.