Don’t Be A “Basic”… A Basic Business

It was the 80’s and the TV show Dynasty was all the rage.

Alexis Carrington was portrayed by Joan Collins and was the fashionable, powerful female character who was feared by women and pursued by men. She was the kind of character who got her way and settled personal scores at any cost.

The teacher in the class on day 1 of each class reads out attendance to ensure everyone is accounted for.

Jim — here.

Sandra — “I prefer Alexis” (ok)

Roger — here.

Janice — here.

Lisa — “You can call me Alexis” (um… ok)

Why were the girls in my school trying to emulate a TV character?

What’s a “Basic?”

Urban Dictionary defines the term “basic” as “someone devoid of defining characteristics that might make a person interesting, extraordinary, or just simply worth devoting time or attention to.”

The fact is, being original has value. In some cases a lot of value.

But people want to imitate characters who have the traits they also strive to have. It could be fashion sense, looks, power, prestige, etc. This is why when James Bond is wearing a certain type of watch, some men will buy that watch. It doesn’t make them James Bond, but it makes them feel a little bit closer to being like Agent 007.

“Nothing better than the real thing,” as we’ve been told in commercials for years by Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola’s ‘It’s the Real Thing’ campaign was a way of consolidating the changes being made to the brand as it entered the 1970s and 80s. Coke’s then brand manager, Ira C Herbert, heralded it as a new direction that “responds to research which shows that young people seek the real, the original and the natural as an escape from phoniness.”

An original painting is worth more than a print.

An original recording of a song is worth more than the CDs or digital copies produced later.

So why are there so many copies?

My Daughter Asked Me For Something Odd

“Daddy,” she asked, “Can you type for me?”

She was looking for something on YouTube.

“I want a video with two baby girls and tornados and she has earings.”


A couple of searches later — “That’s it!”

It was baby alive dolls escaping from a very non-threatening tornado. The mommy in the video had lost her earings in the tornado and they had to find them. Quite the plot.

But why does my 3-year-old know about tornado/baby videos? And how did this become a thing?


Ryan’s World.

Ryan’s World / Ryan’s Toy Review (same channel) is the most popular kids’ channel on YouTube. They did a show where the Dad in the show was dressed in a tornado costume and twirling around the back yard. Ryan had to hide from the tornado inside the house.

It was such a popular episode, others started creating an episode about tornadoes.

Famous Tube Kids did one too. Because if it’s popular on the most popular channel and you want to show up as a “suggested video” then you need a kid’s tornado episode too.

And once those two had tornado videos, everyone else had to make them… Chu Chu TV, Videogyan, Fun Factory, even Blippi made one. (If anyone knows Blippi, I want to have him on the podcast. Email me!)

But every video is different. They might be a copy of the topic, but they put their own spin on it.

Is it original? Maybe not.

But it’s not the same either.

It’s OK To Be Similar, Just Not a Clone

There are probably a lot of insurance agents in your city.

Lots of realtors, lots of plumbers, lots of carpenters, lots of career coaches, Arbon reps, massage therapists, you get the idea.

So you can’t be 100% original, because you have a service you provide that others also provide.

A "basic" service is a commodity. But an “original” can offer the same services but still be different in your own way.

Adding your flair to your service or product makes it stand out from being just another copy to being something seemingly new and different.

It is still recognizable as a video about tornados, but it’s got your own cast of characters, your own plot twists, your own ambiance.

People want an original because it has more value.

Be different.

Don’t be a basic.

Now go forth and be profitable.

~Matt and Kari Rouse

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