On Monday, November 13th, Marvel founder and famed comic book writer and editor, Stan Lee passed away at the age of 95. The legendary storyteller and co-creator of such iconic superhero characters including Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Black Panther, the X-Men, Ant-Man, Iron Man, and Thor leaves a lasting impression on people from many walks of life, which is an impact he strove to make – that of bringing people together regardless of means, skin color, or geographic locale.
From the perspective of Boldwerks, and of creative marketing houses everywhere, Mr. Lee is, consciously, or subconsciously, a working piece of the equation and part of the reason we’re all here making a go at a living as creative professionals.
Our co-founder and creative director Adam Kaufmann put his feelings to words:
Early on in my youth I inspired to be an illustrator (specifically a comic book illustrator). “How To Draw The Marvel Way,” was my book of study in school. I idolized Stan Lee and his career – wondering if it was possible to grow up one day to illustrate books like him. The characters he developed allowed me to daydream math and english class away. His tales were relatable; taking kids that were troubled, and building them into superheroes with their unique powers. Rest easy, Stan. Your legacy of storytelling and creativity will continue to inspire and bring jubilation for generations to come.
In celebration of the life of Stan Lee, we pulled out some of greatest quotes, and put them to work in the context of creative business marketing. His legacy will indeed live on, in our office, and in the work we collectively put out into the world for ourselves, our customers, and their customers.
“You know, my motto is ‘Excelsior.’ That’s an old word that means ‘upward and onward to greater glory.’”
In business, and heck, in life, there will always be snags. Nothing is perfect. What’s important is how you push forward and move along. Dwelling too long on what didn’t happen, or what “could have been,” is detrimental to successful tidings down the road. Always keep your head up, and the next idea ready to go.
“If there are people who like the work you’ve done, because of that, they like you and want your autograph and to take a photo. That’s really gratifying. You have to be appreciative…”
This is a lesson in humility. When things do work out, and work out well, remember where you came from. Be humble. If you and/or your business/product/service becomes a smashing success, still take that moment to engage with your audience. They are what got you to where you are in the first place. Without a committed base of fans/customers, there is no success (of any kind).
“I never thought that Spider-Man would become the worldwide icon that he is. I just hoped the books would sell and I’d keep my job.”
Harness your idea and tell the story as effectively and creatively as you can. With a little luck, there’s no telling how far things will go. Stan Lee’s humble attitude is what kept his work so authentic.
“For years, kids have been asking me what’s the greatest superpower. I always say luck. If you’re lucky, everything works. I’ve been lucky.”
Exhibit A to that last quote there… Luck is, in many ways, everything.
“I’ve been the luckiest man in the world because I’ve had friends, and to have the right friends is everything: people you can depend on, people who tell you the truth if you ask something.”
This is an important one. When it comes to business success and longevity you need to align yourself with people that have the same goal in mind, and will do what it takes to make sure things are moving forward in and effective manner. If you just have a group of smiling, nodding heads, you might find yourself lost in a maze that’s impossible to navigate out of.
“I don’t really see a need to retire as long as I am having fun.”
Like luck, fun is another important ingredient. Fun, along with strategic knowhow leads to good work. And when you’re having fun, it shows, and fans/customers will follow. Stuffy, uninspired marketing doesn’t make for healthy longevity. It also doesn’t make for engaged employees who will likely jump ship early if the environment their working in lacks inspiration.
“If you are interested in what you do, that keeps you going!”
This is the direct follow-up to that last quote there… Keep people interested and good will more-than-likely come of those efforts.
“Technology isn’t a villain. Technology should help, but if you just use the technology for the sake of technology, then you’re cheating your audience. You’re not giving them the best story and the best direction and so forth.”
Technology is the name-of-the-game in today’s fast-paced, technologically dialed in society. It should be a long, serious piece of the overall puzzle when it comes to your direct product and service set, as well as the way you’re marketing these items. But it don’t use it in haste. Don’t use it because you feel like you have to. Put some thought into it, and if you have questions ask them. Reflect back to the sentiment above about surrounding yourself with a good team… Embrace technology, but don’t get lost completely in it. There’s still a lot of value in the human side of everything you do. If you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of, well, pretty much everything.
“My theory about why people like superheroes is that when we were kids, we all loved to read fairytales. Fairytales are all about things bigger than life: giants, witches, trolls, dinosaurs and dragons and all sorts of imaginative things. Then you get a little bit older and you stop reading fairy tales, but you don’t ever outgrow your love of them.”
It was the 80s rock band Journey that anthemically cried, “don’t stop believin’…” They were clearly taking a page right out of the Stan Lee book of thinking (okay, we don’t actually know that, but for the sake of this post we’ll throw it into the context here…) But no, really, when it comes to creatively marketing your business and brand, having that “larger than life” mentality is only going to add excitement to your messaging and get people’s eyes, ears, and attentions perked.
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
This is one of the most famous quotes of all-time. For good reason. Don’t abuse what you’ve got. If you’ve found success, don’t hold it above people’s heads. Take care of those around you and keep the good going.
“Every day, there’s a new development… There’s no limit to the things that are happening.”
Harkening back on the fast-paced society sentiment for a moment… There is new development everyday – from myriad vantage points. How do you navigate these developments? How do you implement them into a working piece of your organization and outgoing messaging? Like technology, you don’t need to hone in on all of it and make it happen simply because it’s (whatever “it’s” is…), but you do need to make a conscious effort not to fall into the pit of sticking to the past rather than embracing the moment, and keeping a keen eye on the future (the whole “moving forward” idealism…) There’s new developments everyday – embrace them. Figure out what works for you and what doesn’t, and do your best to implement whatever does work creatively and effectively.
“No matter what you write, it’s a matter of putting words in a certain order so that the reader will be interested in what you’re writing.”
Don’t write empty sentences for the sake of writing. Write your messaging with conviction. Harness creativity. Think about your target end users. Word’s, like images are a vehicle for engagement, and engagement fuels the bottom-line.
“America is made of different races and different religions, but we’re all co-travelers on the spaceship Earth and must respect and help each other along the way.”
Embrace those around you. Join the masses. Cherish being human and celebrate each and every day with the humans you come in contact with. Treat people with respect, and in return respect will be granted. Don’t align yourself with humans who treat other humans as inferior entities. That’s a recipe for failure, and failure isn’t an option.
Thank you, Stan Lee. You’ve long been, and forever will be, a marvel to us all.
If you need someone to talk to during this time of mourning, we’re here to share in creative, inspirational memories. Heck, swing by the office and we can flip through comics together. We have a library in-house…