“Like and subscribe” – it’s “Amen” in the Church of Content.

The often slightly anguished sign off you’ve heard countless times at the end of YouTube videos accompanied by a pointed finger aimed wherever the requisite button is off screen. 

So countless in fact your brain – the canny little thing that it is – filters it right out of cognition via a phenomenon known as sensory gating. In one ear, out the other. 

One podcast changed this sign off, opting for something a little different:

“69% of people who listen to this podcast don’t subscribe. Could you do me a favour? Subscribe to this podcast, it helps more than you know. The bigger the subscriber number the bigger the guests.”

This small tweak increased subscriber rate by 350% per view.

That podcast in question was The Diary of a CEO hosted by Steven Bartlett. Like him or loathe him, there’s no denying his rise to success. And the more you hear him talk the more you can see why he is where he is. 

But no man is an island.

Part of his ascendancy is the business practices he instils in the companies he works with. One of these is the embedding of experimentation into company culture. Steven and the Diary of a CEO team had no idea changing the CTA was going to work but it cost them next to nothing to try and a 1% change resulted in a 350% positive change.

Kaizen is a term you’ve likely heard in a business or economics class so many times it gets filtered through the same channels as “Like and subscribe”. For those less familiar, it’s a Japanese concept that loosely translates to “continuous improvement” – empowering people to be responsible for incremental but effective improvement wherever they work. It’s become synonymous with Toyota, early adopters of the practice that has played a big role in the company becoming one of the most successful vehicle manufacturers in the world year after year. 

But such a close association with physical manufacturing processes can be reductive. Kaizen isn’t just a process for improving a factory line, it can be adopted across many industries and departments. As Steven Bartlett has proven – comms is no exception to this. 

So be Caractacus Potts, be Bunsen Honeydew, be Dr. Emmett Brown. Fail your way to success. Don the long white coat and safety specs and head to the lab. Start small, find the one thing you can change – a tweak to copy, format, publication time, idea generation. If it doesn’t work you’re better off for knowing. Then start again, you’re already one pace ahead of where you were before. 

There’s no success like failure” – Bob Dylan, 1965