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Marketing Yourself with Mister Rogers: How to Be a Good Neighbor No Matter Where You Go

It seems like only yesterday I felt overly joyful when a certain man, who I dearly love, would come home and put on that red cardigan, change his walking shoes, and tell the world how special I really was. No, I am not talking about a boyfriend…this was a platonic love that was so much different than any relationship I have ever had. It was Mister Rogers!

If there is one thing in the world you can relate to — on any of the life lessons to any aspect of your life — it is the teachings of dear Fred. It has been 8 years since his passing, but I still maintain the legacy of his ever-existing philosophy of self-worth and kindness to others. Even as an adult, I apply his advice to every aspect my life, including in the work place. And so can you! Whether you are applying them to marketing or simply just existing in a company as a fellow worker bee, Mister Rogers spoke potent words that cannot help but stick around. So without further ado, here are some encouraging words from the Buddha of children’s television!

Relationship building is the most important thing in life.

Relationship building is the most important thing in life.

Relationship building is the most important thing in life. When Mister Rogers would come in the door, he would ask: “Would you be my neighbor?” He did not discriminate, either; he wanted anyone and everyone to be his neighbor. He thought that everyone was special and important in their own way. Apply this to your social and work settings, whether it is customer relationships or a relationship from co-worker to co-worker. Welcome the people around you and make everyone feel important; when they feel that warmth and acceptance it is likely they will stick around.

“And loving other people is food for the spirit.”  –Fred Rogers

Be observant and be a good listener.

Be observant and be a good listener.

Be observant and be a good listener. Communication is very important in relationships, customer service, and getting yourself out there. Being observant is extremely important when it comes to communicating with others. In fact, observation is just as important as talking when communicating. More often than not, people only focus on what they have to contribute to conversations! However, this is certainly a door that swings both ways. Listening is much more important than making sure YOU are being heard, especially when it comes to friends’ or customers’ concerns.

“… Look… And listen…Listen carefully / That’s a way you learn a lot of things, carefully / Some things you see are confusing, some things you hear are strange, But if you ask someone to explain one or two / You’ll begin to notice a change in you / If you will look carefully / Listen carefully / That’s a way to keep on growing carefully / Look, look, look, and listen.”

Know your self-worth.

Know your self-worth.

Know your self-worth. If you don’t respect yourself, then who will? Confidence (without being cocky) is very important for not only your image but also for the image of your company. If you lack confidence then no one will take you seriously, and the same could also be said if you think too highly of yourself. Mister Rogers always conveyed this ideal any way he could to permanently instill children with self-worth and unfiltered confidence to succeed in life. To this day, when I feel sad and disappointed in myself, I remember the following words and it is like a ray of sunshine on a rainy day.

“You are special just the way you are / There is no one else in the world like you…”

Make your brand stand out.

Make your brand stand out.

Make your brand stand out; after all it is what you believe in. Much like Mister Rogers’ ability to stand up for what he believed in, his persistence for his beliefs undoubtedly became the brand for generations — and memorable one at that. Mister Rogers saw a different kind of profit in his brand: integrity. In 1969, Rogers appeared before U.S. Senate representatives in order to support the funding of PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) in response to a dramatic budget cut proposal. His six-minute speech discussed the need for public television and claimed that such a varied education was necessary to viewers. After all, without shows like his own Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, how could children learn to become productive citizens in spite of the less positive messages in the media? Mister Rogers even recited the lyrics to one of his songs in order to back up his claims. His passion obviously shone through, because he even managed to sway the chairman of the subcommittee, John O. Pastore, who was not previously familiar with Rogers’ work. Rogers’ passion was so great, in fact, that Pastore not only approved the $20 million funding request but also claimed to have goosebumps afterwards! In 1971, PBS funding jumped from $9 million to $22 million. You can watch the famous Mister Rogers speech below:

“I like to take my time / I mean that when I want to do a thing / I like to take my time to get it right / I mean I just might make mistakes / If I should have to hurry up / And so I like to take my time…”

Watch 1969 Senate Hearings on PBS. See more from MISTER ROGERS.

Be optimistic!

Be optimistic!

Be optimistic! Without optimism and determination to make every day count, you are not going to go very far. Optimism is contagious, so don’t be afraid to use that “every day is a new day” attitude! This concept may be simple, but it’s a challenging one to implement. Mister Rogers will always be the first one to say: “It’s such a good feeling, to know you’re alive. It’s such a happy feeling, you’re growing inside. And when you wake up, ready to say, ‘I think I’ll make a snappy new day’. It’s such a good feeling, a very good feeling. The feeling you know that I’ll be back, when the day is new, and I’ll have more ideas for you, and you’ll have things you’ll want to talk about. I… Will… Too!”

You can make believe it happens, or pretend that something’s true / You can wish or hope or contemplate a thing you’d like to do / But until you start to do it, you will never see it through / ‘Cause the make believe pretending just won’t do it for you. You’ve… Got… To… Do it. Every little bit / You’ve got to do it.

Overall, no one can tell you how to make yourself successful. Mister Rogers could only hope that, with his kind words of wisdom and optimism for children and adults alike, his viewers would grow up to be successful and good people. He merely gives you the building blocks and you have to build your life’s success and happiness. When I know someone like him believes in me, I am more than happy to take his words of wisdom and create a lasting brand (whether business or personal) that I believe in.

What’s your favorite piece of Mister Rogers wisdom? Did you watch the show as a child? What else can we learn from him as professionals or individuals?

For more Mister Rogers quotes, visit IMDB. Image credit to Mister Rogers Facebook page.


Serenity Morris

Serenity is on the support staff for Quality Logo Products. Cynical and straight to the point, this no-nonsense gal is loveable and passionate about her various nerdy interests. When she is not geeking out about music, British television, and politics she is usually doodling her troubles away! Her artistic abilities are often commissioned for internal and external QLP promotional materials. You can also connect with Serenity on Google+.

Comments

  1. Jenna Markowski

    I was never a big fan of Mister Rogers as a kid, the show bored me and I thought he was creepy. However, he does have a lot of valuable advice, and that video was extremely powerful! I’m not any less creeped out by him, but I can’t deny that the world would be better off if everyone heeded his advice. :)

    • Cybernetic SAM

      Oh you shouldn’t be leery of Good old Fred! He has done amazing things for the world and is still doing amazing things. I think if you read a few of the Inspirational Mister Rogers Books for adults you might feel differently. But yes his common sense guidance is very practical and if the whole world took heed of them, the world would be a better place.

  2. Eric

    Oh, Mister Rogers. I hadn’t forgotten about him, but I had forgotten how much I appreciate that man. Grew up watching him every afternoon and I remember the day he passed: I read the news on NBC’s news marquee alongside the studio in New York City, and I’ll always remember that day by that.

    It’s amazing, and I mean amazing, how relevant and how universal his advice is. Even now that I’m in my twenties, and even as this country is 40 years older than it was in the above video.

    And now you’ve got me side-tracking, because PBS is something I’m very, very passionate about. What impacts me most about that video above is the fact that all the words he said in that hearing – in 1971 – needed to be heard as much then as they do today, if not moreso. The other week, WTTW Chicago took the time and money to produce a historical documentary about the Southwest Suburbs, that no one else has ever bothered to do. What I know of British humor and comedy came to me from their showings of “Mr. Bean,” or “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” opened me up to educational programming.

    There’s so much to learn out there, and sometimes I think we neglect that. If we all were a little more aware, a little more understanding…this world would be the place Fred Rogers hoped it to be.

    That’s my diatribe for the afternoon (expect a PBS-themed post from me in the near future!). Thanks for the inspiration, and most importantly, a good read with some of the best takeaways you’ll find, Serenity.

    • Cybernetic SAM

      Thank you, Eric! I always feel sad when people look at me funny when I go on my tangents about PBS or Mister Rogers, but I am absolute believer in education and motivation of creativity and imagination. I think I have PBS and especially Fred to thank for the insatiable creative person that I am today. I too was devastated the day my inspiration passed away, I cried for two days straight. It made me so happy though that they actually started coming out with adult inspirational Mister Rogers books and really carrying through generations of viewers from childhood to adult and still repeating the cycle. Also, I blame PBS for my addiction to the BBC and those classic shows. What I took away from what Mister Rogers said in that incredibly moving speech above is this: it is hard to believe the amount of time children spend watching nonsense instead of learning and hard wiring their brains for life, we lose understanding and comprehension. When you eliminate education, the world will fall apart. I feel there should be much more recognition for the work that Fred and PBS do for the world. You are completely right about the speech and the points he made still very much apply today. Thank you for being a fellow PBS and Mister Rogers admirer, today people like us are few.

      • Eric

        Thank you. I didn’t have cable TV until I was darn near in high school, so I actually spent more time watching WTTW/PBS than anything else. I even remember watching a show called “Wild Chicago” that toured interesting places in the city, and boy, was I beside myself the day I went to Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic, and they’d Will Clinger (a host on the show) reading Christmas stories there. PBS = good memories.

        • Cybernetic SAM

          ME TOO! I always felt left out that I didn’t have cable until I was 17 (and now I havn’t had cable since 2007! Oh I totally remember Wild Chicago! I also used to watch Keeping Up Appearances and Faulty Towers, the original Doctor Who and countless child programs… So many good memories! Thank goodness for PBS!

  3. Mandy Kilinskis

    Fantastic post, Sam! I was such a huge Mister Rogers growing up, and I still like to catch reruns of the show whenever it’s on. It’s fantastic that we can still use his lessons to be better people, coworkers, and customers.

    I think the best takeaway here is to be passionate. I’m fairly oblivious about the late 60s/early 70s, so I had no idea that he had argued so passionately for public television funding. You go, Mr. Rogers! Imagine the things people could do if they were at least just half as passionate.

    • Cybernetic SAM

      Yeah I have a M.R. DVD and it came with some of his songs and the DVD was wrapped in a red cardigan, it was the cutest thing ever! Yes, Fred did do remarkable things all for the sake of children and learning. Truly amazing was the legacy he left behind and I think out of respect to him we should all carry that legacy with us as adults and pass it to future generations.

  4. amy

    I loved watching Mr. Rogers with my sister as kids!! I can still see the opening sequence in my mind and hear the theme song. Sadly, I don’t really remember any lessons or advice from his show, but I do remember ‘make believe land’ and how awesome it looked. I don’t think my imagination would be anywhere near what it is now without this man :)

    Thanks Sam for this lovely trip down memory lane!

    • Cybernetic SAM

      You are most welcome! But really thanks goes to Mister Rogers, trolley and all the world of make believe. I still watch them from time to time and giggle, they are low budget, but darn it they are great!

  5. Jen

    I wish there were more programs like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. When I was young I didn’t really like listening to him talk or sing about feelings, but I really liked the puppet showes and the little projects he did. I remember he would use household trash, like paper towle tubes and milk cartons, to create cool little toys and games.

    You will always be remembered Mr. Rogers, I wish you could have been around for my children.

    Great Post Sam, it made me a little teary-eyed.

  6. Cybernetic SAM

    Thanks Jen! Mister Rogers touched many hearts and thank goodness for our technology today we can share The Neighborhood with our children. Fred was always very innovative with making kids get creative, after all that’s how things come to be, it all starts with imagination!

  7. Joseph Giorgi

    Love the takeaways here. Mr. Rogers would certainly approve. :)

    Knowing one’s self-worth is particularly important, and seems to be something that Rogers attempted to convey in each episode of his show. When he reiterated lines like “You’re special just the way you are,” it was easy to see how much he really meant it.

    That speech of his — in front of the Senate subcommittee — was quite moving, and speaks volumes about his character. Seems like Rogers was among a rare breed of entertainers: the kind that believed passionately in the value of their work and dedicated their lives to proving it.

    Excellent post, Sam!

    • Cybernetic SAM

      Thank you Joe! Your comment made me tear up a bit. Just remember “You’ve made this day a special day by just your being you!” (another special thing he would say) Something everyone can learn from! :P

  8. Jill Tooley

    I loved Mister Rogers as a kid, and I still do! :)

    There are so many takeaways for this show, it’s not even funny. Something so simple (like “YOU are special”) has stuck with me all of these years and I love him for it. I shudder to think how different my life would be without Mister Rogers Neighborhood or Sesame Street to shape my younger years!

    I still think my favorite episode is the one where they visited the crayon factory — that was cool!!

    P.S. Awesome post. That video gave ME goosebumps! How incredible that he was able to sway a man who had never even seen his show before…and for millions of dollars, no less.

    • Cybernetic SAM

      Absolutely, I swear Mister Rogers could have been our secret weapon for solving war. Just send him to a country and have him talk to their world leaders and no war would ever begin. He is the only man who can sit in front of committee with a $30 dollar budget and walk out with $20 Million for an entire network — that much then was inconceivable! As far as the crayon one, I also was obsessed with that episode, my favorite part was when the had different colors of melted wax that they poured into the molds I always wanted to do that!

  9. Amanda

    I always loved Mr. Rogers as a kid. Cool post idea Sam! =)

    He really did make kids feel special and loved, and that is sooo important! And I agree with you, we can totally take lessons from him and apply them to our adult lives also. Yay for good neighbors everywhere!

  10. Cybernetic SAM

    Thanks Amanda! As I said before, I occasionally watch an episode and I can’t help but feel happy and like a kid a again. I love that he teaches us not only to be good to the people around us, but to be good to yourself as well. I think it is still important to us as adults as it was for us when we were children. Though I blame myspace for the narcissism of this current generation, they missed out on the life lessons from Fred and it saddens me deeply! But I am glad you remember!

  11. Pam Dyson

    I watched Mr. Rogers with my own children when they were young and now as a child-centered play therapist in private practice therapist I realize Fred taught me via the TV screen the attributes of a good play therapist.

    The relationship can make or break therapy and if I don’t have self respect it will be challenging for me to respect the child. During sessions I’m in the moment with the child giving them my full undivided attention and I strongly believe that the child has it within him or her self to become the person they need to be.

    • Cybernetic SAM

      Thank you for your input, Pam! That is wonderful that you work with children; it is a very important role. You are absolutely right — when it comes to RESPECT, we may not think that children understand, but people would be VERY surprised how perceptive and sensitive children are when it comes to interacting with adults. Children do, in fact, have the potential in themselves to become great people and that is why it is our responsibility to ensure a positive and educational environment for them to grow. That is exactly what Fred Rogers’ life’s work was about!

  12. James A. Kramer

    Thank you for your article on Mr. Rogers and marketing. The Rev. Fred Rogers had a special ordination from the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUSA) in Children’s Television Ministry. He had a deep, but simple, theology that motivated him. It was underneath his work in television for children, like an iceberg, where more of the iceberg is underwater. His work with Mister Rogers Neighborhood and PBS was worded in secular terms, but his work was also a very seriously minded ministry and mission. His work in children’s television was his special ministry. His serious caring attitude was his way of doing his ministry, both in words and music. It was how he loved God and loved his “television neighbor”. I think that this unique caring attitude is what people responded to. Plus, his whimsical kind humor, and his honesty. It was his way of listening to God’s calling for him, and to do what he felt uniquely called to do, reverently, intelligently, but simply. I could go on, but it is late, and I need to call it a day. Researching Fred Rogers religious thinking and life has been very meaningful for me, and I think it could be for anyone regardless of their work in secular or religious organizations, and be very good marketing philosophy for any company. Kind of like Hallmark – “When you care enough to send the very best”.

    • Cybernetic SAM

      You make some excellent points! Thank you for sharing!

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