Plays in Action

In the industries of influence, plays are your currency.

In fact, you can’t escape them, which is why the world’s best businesses, political strategists and celebrity promoters use them — with or without knowledge of The Playmaker System — for overwhelming competitive and collaborative advantage.

Business.  IBM uses the Screen (SN) play to drive its Smarter Planet brand campaign.  From its Euro-cool software engineers solving Stockholm’s traffic problems to its big-hearted data scientists making healthcare more efficient, Big Blue owns the idea of 21st century corporate intelligence.   And that’s just the half of it.  Through the Screen play, IBM insinuates — subtly and indirectly — that other IT companies aren’t as smart.   The effect is to drive customers to IBM to solve their most complex problems.  After all, who wants to spend tens of millions of dollars on dumb software and consultants?  See our Influence Strategy 101 blog for more.

Politics.  After placing second in the 1992 New Hampshire primary to Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas, Bill Clinton claimed that Tsongas ought to have won given the two states’ geographic proximity.  ”Second place was just as good as winning,” said the Arkansas governor, a wily Recast (RC) he would soon repeat as President.   When the 1994 Republican Revolution tipped power to the GOP, President Clinton remade himself a moderate.  From welfare reform to free trade, he pivoted to the center.  For his mastery of the Recast play, he left office in 2001 with the highest approval ratings of any President since the Second World War.  See our our Plays for the Presidency blog for more.

Pop Culture.  Pick a celebrity and ask yourself: “Why is this person always in the news?”  The answer lies often in the Peacock (PK) play, a stratagem that puts the playmaker in the cross hairs of the public’s attention.  Think of Lady Gaga and her “meat dress” worn during the 2010 MTV Music Video Awards.  But alas, Peacock plays can be used for noble causes, too.  In 1986, more than 7 million people, including President Ronald Reagan, joined hands, literally, in “Hands Across America,” a human chain across sixteen states to raise money for the hungry and homeless in the United States.  See our Play of the Week blog for more.

From Mahatma Gandhi to Oprah Winfrey, the world is awash with playmakers.  And you are one, too — advancing ideas, seeding marketplace discussions, re-positioning products, de-positioning competitors, embracing allies, and moving your programs forward.  And chances are, you see plays — or use them yourself — almost daily.