Last month, Stone Junction's most popular blog post was about positioning your business in relation to Industry 4.0. We got a lot of positive feedback on the piece, but we also got a lot of questions. The answer to the most common question we were asked is simple - Goldilocks.
By Richard Stone
Once upon a time, a vicious fox crept into the home of three bachelor bears who lived in the midst of the densest wood in the land.
The bears had just finished boiling the milk for their breakfast and had gone for a walk in the woods, while it cooled down enough to drink.
The vixen fox snuck into their house and tasted the milk. Then, she sat in the chair belonging to the smallest bear, breaking the seat's legs and arms in the process. Last, exhausted by her efforts, she settled down to sleep in the smallest bachelor bear's bed.
When the bears returned, they were so angry that they chased her round the house, their fierce roars echoing through the forest.
The filthy vixen escaped through the window, pursued by the three bears, who chased her all the way to St Paul's Cathedral, where they impaled her on its spire.
As you've probably guessed, that story, called Scrapefoot, is a version of Goldilocks and the three bears, from the early nineteenth century. Later, Goldilocks became an old woman, then a silver haired child, then a golden haired child. Vixen, incidentally, was Victorian slang for a witch like old lady.
The bears became brother and sister and then mama, papa and baby bear. Goldilocks fate became gentler and gentler to the point where, in the latest Disney retelling, she becomes BFFs with baby bear.
The story changed as it was retold and transferred from the oral tradition into print, radio and film, finally landing in serialised TV and a range of literary reinterpretations, both published and fan fiction.
There is even a version recorded on an industrial marketing blog, apparently.
Industry 4.0 has already gone through the same process and will continue to do so. When one speaks to older members of the automation and automation PR communities, they often complain that, 'they've been doing Industry 4.0' for thirty years. Just as Goldilocks was told and retold, long before Goldilocks herself was even human.
People need stories to understand the world. Those stories have always been spread across multiple cultures in different versions and the Internet and 24 hour TV have only intensified that process.
I've heard rumours that Yaskawa in Japan has formal storytelling classes, where it's salesmen learn the anecdotes they need to sell inverters. I don't know if that's true, but I've retold the story myself a dozen times.
To get marketing traction from Industry 4.0, you need to retell the story in your own way, just as Zafar Jamati suggested in his blog last month. The most common question we get asked about Zaf's blog is why does Industry 4.0 need all of these names? And the answer is simple - Goldilocks and the three bears.