Fight Club is a tangy, violent criticism of materialism and consumerism. As an ad man, I would be cut in half if I was portrayed in that film.
Brad Pitt plays the metro-sexually dominant Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) who establishes a Fight Club in his hometown, and then eventually all over the country with his friend, played by Edward Norton.
If you wish to start any type of club or membership-based revenue stream, I highly recommend this film.
This movie received a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 8.8/10 score on IMDb.
Without giving the plot away, here are a few takeaways in how to start a maintain a membership club that pours in new members.
1) Create an Initiation Period
The best way to drive customer loyalty is to have them put in effort to attain what they want. The initiation period should be both challenging, and fun. Why do you think so many people try out for the SEALs? Because the reward is you get to be one of the best -- a member of an elite fraternity -- which brings me to #2...
2) Make the Reward Scarce
A club is no fun if everyone is invited.
As I stated in my book review this month of Influence, it is an evolutionary behavior to want something when there is less of it because resources are scarce, and you must take what you can so you don't starve later on.
Additionally, being in an elitist club is a real status symbol, internally and externally.
3) Make the Culture Unique
In the book "Good to Great", the author does a great job explaining how companies that perform the best have elitist cultures that believe they are "better" than other organizations. This isn't to say they believe this on an individual level, but rather feeling collectively invincible and unstoppable gives the whole group a real boost.
I hate to bring up the military again, but all of the U.S. Rangers I have met all have this attitude, and accomplish amazing things because of it.
Ayn Rand may have said "Ego is the Fountainhead of discovery", but I say collective ego is the driving power of every winning team.
In the movie, Tyler doesn't waste time making the organization a backyard tea party, but instead, he goes National, penetrating every city he can travel to.
When Henry Bloch, Sam Walton and Ray Kroc were growing H&R Block, Walmart and McDonalds, respectively, they focused on building a presence in as many locations as quickly as possible. And they took out big loans to do it.
When you have the seeds of success, grow them in every chunk of fertile soil you can find!
5) Have a Vision - Preach It
Just like Steve Jobs at Apple, a vision will get people through the hard times when energy is low, coffee is gone, it's 9pm and you're still at work.
Tyler Durden has a simple yet relieving message to a group of young impressionable men: Over-consumption is bad, and materialism is poison, and we are saving the world.
They didn't wake up and do a set of tasks, they jumped out of their metal cots and attacked their daily missions with passion and enthusiasm. That's what happens when your groups understand the big picture. But first you must have one.
Enjoy the movie!
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