As you might be able to tell by now, I’m awful at watching films when they are first released. Usually I’ll see them a few months (or years, in this case) after their initial release date when they’re more affordable on Redbox. This means most movies have already been spoiled for me or everyone has already seen them. But when it comes to Pixar’s Inside Out, I feel like a little more conversation could be a huge benefit, particularly to small and medium business owners who are looking to adjust their marketing strategy.

Your marketing strategy should be able to embrace change when it happens!

If you haven’t seen Inside Out, it’s about a young girl named Riley and her emotions as she grows and experiences triumphs and struggles in life. Her emotions – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust – help her react to different situations and form her personality with different ‘Islands of Personality.’ When she moves away from her childhood home, all of them (particularly Joy) learn that the only way for growth to happen is to let go of old ideals and accept change.

I specifically want to focus on Joy and Sadness, two of my personal favorite characters. Between them I noticed a few valuable lessons, for both personal and marketing growth. Keep reading below to see what I found!

Emotions have a time and place – even in business!

  1. Mistakes don’t have to be your downfall! I love how Joy is always set on making sure Riley finds a way to turn her negative experiences into good memories. No matter what happens, she’s always looking to the bright side and trying to convince the other emotions to see it with her!

As a business owner, it’s an unavoidable truth that you’re going to make mistakes when you’re trying to publicize your business. While some missteps can cause a lot of damage, there are very few that will be your doom. Take a deep breath, remember that you and your team are only human, and make sure not to repeat it again in the future. Mistakes can only ruin your brand if you let them!

  1. You have to go with the flow. Riley struggles to learn this when her family moves away from her childhood home and she’s forced to acclimate to a new city and a different school. As a pre-teen it’s understandable that she and her emotions fight so hard to reject the change and go back to their old life.

That’s not how it works, though. Change is going to affect your business, and you need a marketing strategy that reflects this! No one likes to think that something could happen that will alter their entire company, but unfortunately that’s not in their control. Instead, try focusing on tweaking your marketing plan to include some realistic what-if scenarios. You’ll feel better having a solid strategy in place in case something goes wrong.

  1. Embrace the art of letting go. One of the most heartbreaking parts of the movie was when Riley’s Islands of Personality collapsed into her forgotten memory space. It was a poignant representation of the changes kids go through as they age.

When I was watching this part, I also thought of business owners needing to go through this with their companies. Just like you, your business will go through infantile and puberty stages as you’re growing your brand and personality. And just like Riley (and Joy) learn, you might have to let go of what you thought your business might be to help it grow.

I love Inside Out’s underlying message about embracing all of your emotions and letting change happen, and I’m happy I got to share my insights with you all! If you loved the film and you found some other lessons, let me know in the comments!