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A Minnesota Raccoon’s Death-Defying Feat Went Viral–and Revealed 3 Leadership Lessons in the Process

(Source: www.inc.com)

Commerce nearly ground to a halt this week in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota, the same day as the much lauded Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore. Seemingly, world leaders lost some of the public stage to a daredevil raccoon scaling a tall building–a stunt that went viral the world over in social media. In the intrepid raccoon’s GoPro-worthy stunt, we can unearth some really heady business lessons, as illustrated by a panda rat.

OK, the raccoon oddity set social media on fire for a very short time, before the agile animal reached the rooftop and was trapped. However, let’s unpack lessons from this epic climb. The purpose-driven Procyon (fancy word for raccoon) caught our attention at Aimclear because all of the action happened just a few blocks from our downtown Saint Paul office.

Here are the key lessons I took away after finding myself immersed in Minnesota Public Radio’s rabid tweet-storm #mprraccoon:

Being remarkable matters.

Minnesota Public Radio jumped all over the critter, documenting the event with video, early on stamping their business branded hashtag, #mprraccoon. That’s freaking brilliant, one of 2018’s magical PR successes.

Would you be this relaxed after climbing 21 stories up the outside of an office tower? #mprraccoon Thanks @donnelly_law for the hospitality! pic.twitter.com/SsFBZc0C0z

— Tim Nelson (@timnelson_mpr) June 12, 2018

The raccoon is remarkable, if only for being a delightful oddity and undertaking the audacious. Make sure your business does something beyond the expected. Ordinary doesn’t cut it today. The raccoon probably simply wondered, “What the hell is up there?” before scaling the building with Spiderman-like dexterity. Yet, scaling a flat surface more than 20-stories is a cross between nuts and fabulous.

Strive for this in your business. Be a little nuts. Be a little fabulous. Be remarkable. People are captivated by amazing imagery, daring, intellect — or a fresh, new idea. Don’t go scaling a building without gear, but be inspired that an errant raccoon did something that seemed impossible.

Risk and redemption have rewards.

Observers were obsessed. The tweet stream rivaled the speed and density of a college basketball game. Why? The option seemed like success at all odds or death. Audiences love to be passionate about win-or-lose-it-all events.

The raccoon happened to climb the north side of the UBS Tower in downtown Saint Paul, in plain view of the reporting staff at Minnesota Public Radio. Had that poor little garbage can spelunker climbed the building’s east or south sides, it likely would have gone unseen.

Having a very meta day here with the #mprraccoon. @MPRnews pic.twitter.com/NIzU0aeB2O

— Tim Nelson (@timnelson_mpr) June 12, 2018

The deed would never have been captured in thousands of tweets. The Washington Post, Fox News, and now Inc.com even covered this story.

To participate in the #mprraccoon thread with humor, perspective, angst, cuddle buns, or anxiety means people monitoring the hashtag see your Twitter profile — which includes your name and, presumably, your company’s name. Boom! That just happened.

When businesses do something remarkable, make sure your marketing and PR machines are engaged early on. Find a way to shine light on your genius. Encourage your marketing team to be remarkable while branding the story.

While this raccoon story was unplanned and spontaneous, think of what that little critter could have achieved if executing this stunt in Manhattan with coordinated fanfare. Sure, it got worldwide attention, but with a little planning and coordination, he could have been legendary as opposed to one-hit wonder.

Planning matters.

The #mprraccoon seemed to take breaks on the journey up the UBS building, stopping for rests on window ledges. It even picked a building with a cling-friendly aggregate exterior. Smart thinking. Also, pausing meant the bandit paparazzi had more fodder for inquiring minds.

The #mprraccoon has arisen from his nap and is climbing again. pic.twitter.com/K1popKu2bF

— Tim Nelson (@timnelson_mpr) June 12, 2018

Rushing can lead to catastrophe. Have your objective in sight the whole time and be methodical about how you will get there. Don’t dilly dally too long, though, because someone else is going to come up with their version of remarkable pretty quickly.

We were glad to finally see that animal control officers were able to get #mprraccoon to safety. The creature’s fame may be short lived, but it captured imaginations of countless people. Hat tip to the great reporting staff at Minnesota Public Radio too — they took an otherwise ordinary day in the Saintly City and helped make it extraordinary and memorable for thousands of people.

More Info: www.inc.com

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