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The Simple, 4 Part Formula to Marie Kondo's "Tidying Up"​ Success (And How To Apply It To Your Expertise)

If you’re a Netflix subscriber or have walked through a book store in the last 5 years, you’ve likely seen the ’tidying up’ juggernaut that is Marie Kondo’s quickly growing media empire. What started as essentially a side hustle in college has grown into ‘KonMarie Media, Inc’. A company with a rapidly expanding footprint that, in addition to the best selling book and Netflix series, now includes certified (trained) consultants you can hire to help you implement her methodology.

How did she do it? And more importantly…how can you package and position your insight, knowledge and expertise to do the same?

It’s a question that for me, has been the red thread of my career. For 17 years I’ve had the privilege to work with some of world's best selling authors, corporate speakers, thought leaders as well as countless experts, trainers and advisors and no matter what the industry, vertical or market…I’ve seen these same principles in action throughout every type of product and service you can imagine. And as Tony Robbins says “I’d be stupid not to see the patterns of what works and what doesn’t”.

And after seeing her new series pop into my Netflix cue, I was curious to see if those same principles were at work for her…and indeed they were.

What follows are four distinct characteristics of not only Marie Kondo’s success, but if you look closely, most every other professional or personal development movement of the last 50+ years. Consider these proven, time tested (‘immutable’) laws for businesses that sell their expertise, thinking and insights. 

(Spoiler: It can fit in one 'tidy' sentence: "A uniquely effective structure and sequence")

And not only are these concepts laid out below, but in the spirit of ‘eating my own dog food’, I’ve also given you a brief ‘Implementation Question’ to consider how you can actually apply these things to your ‘insight’ based product or service. 

FIRST: BE UNIQUE

By aligning one of our most cherished emotions (“joy”), Marie changed our perspective on how we relate to our things. It gave people new evaluation criteria that was specific and actionable. And as importantly, it’s something she and she alone owns. It’s now embedded in her brand and something she has effectively leveraged as a true differentiator in the marketplace.

IMPLEMENTATION QUESTION: What unique perspective, angle, insight, position can you own that is both meaningful (to customers) and meaningfully different than any of your competitors?

SECOND: DELIVER RESULTS

It goes without saying that if her system just didn’t work (or didn’t have a high likelihood of working) your friends and neighbors wouldn’t be recommending it you. Instead of another ‘organization method’ (of which there are literally thousands), hers combined a uniquely effective framework that (gasp), actually helps people achieve their objective. 

IMPLEMENTATION QUESTION: What path must people follow that can drastically increase their chance of success (ie getting the promised result)?

THIRD: PROVIDE STRUCTURE

The brain cannot factually effectively process more than 3 - 5 things at a time. By giving readers (and now Netflix viewers) five easy to remember categories by which people can organize, she is giving people an easy to remember structure, both overall and sidetone: also within each sub set (tiny boxes, clothes folding & organizing method, etc.)

IMPLEMENTATION QUESTION: How can you 'chunk' your program, product or service so that people can easily understand its big picture components.

FOURTH: PRESCRIBE SEQUENCE 

By prioritizing ‘how’ (in which order) people need to tackle things, they are able to focus on only what is in front of them - both overall and within subsets. For example, to tidy up your clothes: Step 1: just dump all your clothes in a pile Step 2: evaluate their value Step 3: Sort (thank dump / cherish keep) Step 4: learn to intentionally fold them a specific way so that a) your connection to them is omnipresent and b) you can easily see all of them at once (horizontal > vertical stacking).

IMPLEMENTATION QUESTION: In what order do people need to apply your expertise / program in a way that will help them get maximum results?

BONUS: SINGLE BIG IDEA

The real magic of any great ‘insight’ product is…simplicity. Marie’s method has all the elements listed above, but as important as any of them is that it has an essence, a singular big idea that one can easily share. 

For her it’s “The life changing joy of tidying up”. That by simplifying and organizing our things, we can have a better quality of life. That’s easy to remember…and share with others. 

Now that you know the ‘secret formula’, I encourage you to look at other highly successful products / services. Dig for their essence and you’ll start to see these same patterns.

Now it’s your turn….

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