At one time, Bruce Barton was one of the most influential people in the United States.
He had contact with every U.S. president and every Republican presidential candidate of the mid-twentieth century. He was a congressman in the 1930’s and was named as a potential presidential candidate.
Professionally, Barton was a co-founder of BBDO, short for Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, a prominent advertising agency. He helped make BBDO the largest ad agency in the world in the 1940s. He was a role model for the legendary ad writer John Caples.
Barton also used his talents to help many philanthropic organizations, including the American Heart Association, the United Negro College Fund and the Salvation Army. He wrote a letter to 24 individuals soliciting donations for Berea College in Kentucky, resulting in every recipient making a donation and raising over $30,000 in 1925! People who read the letter today want to make a donation!
Barton also wrote a number of books. His most famous book, The Man Nobody Knows, is still in print. In The Man Nobody Knows, Barton portrayed Jesus Christ as a dynamic, healthy individual who was one of the greatest sales trainers of all time. Americans loved this fresh, charismatic yet human view of Jesus as compared to the mild-mannered and detached person they learned about in Sunday School.
Bruce Barton passed away in 1967. As happens in so many cases, the wisdom and accomplishments of this great individual have been forgotten and "lost."
Dr. Joe Vitale, who is an author, copywriter and metaphysical teacher, was fascinated with this "forgotten" genius, and has revealed again Bruce Barton’s philosophy leading to success. In the process, he paints a picture on an individual of admirable character, integrity and sincerity.
The first secret is, Reveal the Business Nobody Knows. Your advertising should be educational so the customer understands the story of the business and how it can benefit him or her.
The second secret is, Use a God To Lead Them. Find the heroic traits of leaders that appeal to the audience. Celebrities can appeal to the audience. By becoming an expert or guru, you can also become an appealing celebrity.
The third secret is, Speak in Parables. The art of selling and of advertising largely is the art of telling a great story. People often have a hard time understanding complex ideas, but are more receptive to them when they are presented as a story.
The fourth secret is, Dare Them To Travel the Upward Path. Barton knew that many people will respond to a challenge. The headline for one of his ads that ran for seven years was, "A wonderful two years’ trip at full pay – but only men with imagination can take it."
The fifth secret is, The One Element Missing. Barton’s secret weapon that was missing from the ads of many of is competitors was sincerity. He wasn’t just "pushing a product." He sought clients that he believed in. His belief and honesty came through in his ads. His sincerity inspired his readers to trust him. And trust is the solid foundation of long-term business success. (Ironically, one of his customers was a cigarette company. I wonder if he would accept them today?)
The sixth secret is, Give Yourself Away. Most of Barton’s ads included giving something extra of value to customers. The gift generates credibility and obligation. But Barton also believed that money was a by-product of good work. "Get money—but stop once in a while to figure what it is costing you to get it. No man gets it without giving something in return. The wise man gives his labor and ability. The fool gives his life." Barton devoted a lot of his energy to free service for causes that he believed in. He also believed it was important to reveal yourself as a human being, again receiving credibility and trust in return.
The seventh secret is Sharpen The Knife. In order to achieve outstanding results, the initial draft of an ad or book must be rewritten, tested and polished. Other individuals in the agency often wrote initial drafts which Barton would then supervise and revise to perfection. A big part of the process is removing unnecessary words. "Two men spoke at Gettysburg on the same afternoon during the Civil War. One man—the leading orator of his day—made a ‘great’ oration. The other speaker read from a slip of paper less than 300 hundred words. His speech—Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address—will live forever." In this secret, the image of the knife is of the surgeon’s knife, used to heal.
We should all be glad that Joe Vitale has recovered and again revealed these "lost secrets" for us. Studying Bruce Barton’s work is something like studying the art of great masters like Michelangelo or Van Gough. We can all benefit from their discoveries. I highly recommend that you read this book.
Buy it on Amazon: The Seven Lost Secrets of Success.
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