If you’ve never seen Mean Girls, well, where have you been for the past eight years? Mean Girls is a fun, irresistibly quotable cult classic. It’s about a girl named Cady Heron who was homeschooled in Africa for her whole life until her mom got a job at Northwestern and she had to transfer into public high school. She makes some friends, and the three come up with a plot to take down the most popular, vicious girl in school, Regina George.
While Cady learns about the differences between the real world and “girl world,” she uncovers some valuable tips for us folks in the business world, too. Read on to find out what business tips you can glean from Cady and the plastics.
Start your own trends… Regina George might be evil, but she’s got one thing going for her that your brand can emulate: her popularity. Regina might have pushed a couple of people under (or in front of) the bus in order to get where she is, but there’s no denying that her popularity gives her power. Everyone in school knows everything about her and she’s able to turn absolutely anything she does into a trend.
But don’t force it. Try as she might, Gretchen just cannot get the word “fetch” to happen. It’s not until Regina yells, “Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen! It’s not going to happen!” that Gretchen finally gives up on trying to use the word. Similarly, even though your brand should try to push the envelope and set your own trends, you have to know when to give up.
Know your competition’s weaknesses… When Cady, Janis, and Damien decide to take down the plastics, first they establish a clear outline for their plan of attack. They come up with a list of all of the things that make or break Regina: Aaron Samuels (her hot boyfriend), her “hot” body, and her army of skanks (Gretchen and Karen). By knowing Regina’s weaknesses they are able to swoop in and take away everything that gives Regina power. This is a good rule for your business as long as it’s done in moderation. If you know your competition’s weaknesses your brand can make up for what they lack and steal away their customers. As long as you use this knowledge to better your own brand rather than deliberately tear the competition down, then you’re in the clear!
But don’t intentionally sabotage them. Cady, Janis, and Damien know that without her hot boyfriend, hot body, and mindless followers Regina is essentially powerless, so they hatch a plan to make everyone turn against her and make Regina gain weight. Ultimately though, if you thought happy Regina was nightmare, she’s even worse when she’s pissed. Even though they succeed in bringing Regina down, everything blows up in their faces and ends in disaster for everyone. As Cady says, “Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.”
Talking smack will only burn you in the end. The plastics introduce Cady to their “burn book” and it’s all downhill from there. The burn book is a pink scrapbook where the plastics have kept track of juicy secrets, gossip, and labeled pretty much everyone in school with slanderous, rude descriptions. Cady ends up spilling some rumors and calling some of her friends hurtful names in the book. The whole movie culminates with all of the secrets in the book getting released and all of the girls in school turning against each other in a brutal brawl. The plastics totally fall apart, everyone admits to being personally victimized by Regina George at least once, Cady loses all of her friends, and someone ends up getting hit by a bus. Need I say more? I think you get the idea. Gossiping and calling people names, whether to their faces or even in secret, will not end well for anyone involved.
Know your strengths. Karen is certainly not the sharpest tool in the shed, but she’ll be the first one to admit it. She knows she’s not good in school, so she finds other things that she’s better at. Granted, those other things are sticking her whole fist in her mouth and having “ESPN or something,” but hey, she still manages to land a job reporting the weather for the school’s TV network, so more power to her! Make sure you figure out what your company’s good at, and then stick with it.
Don’t lose sight of who you are. Throughout the course of the movie Cady completely loses sight of every aspect of her life pre-plastics. Instead of sabotaging Regina and co. Cady becomes a full-fledged plastic herself. She ditches her friends Janis and Damien, pretends to be bad at math, and even leaves her love of Ladysmith Black Mambazo in the past. As you can guess, she ends up betraying her friends, failing math, and letting down her parents. All in the name of what? A plastic Spring Fling Queen crown? Popularity? Whatever you do make sure that your brand doesn’t alienate long-time loyal customers for the sake of new customers, more customers, or wider popularity. Stay humble and find a balance between the old and the new.
While Mean Girls teaches important life lessons for high school students, it can also be useful for your business. If you follow these business tips your brand will be on its way to being crowned Spring Fling Queen. You go, Glen Coco!
What do you think? Are there other tips from “Mean Girls” that you can use in business? What’s your favorite “Mean Girls” quote?
Photos courtesy of the Mean Girls Facebook page.