On the release of David Lynch’s 2001 neo-noir film many viewers felt baffled. Some admired the invention and creative vision, but many felt perplexed or indifferent.
Mulholland Drive later became a great critical and commercial success. But Lynch had to take a deliberate change of direction to make that happen.
After the success of his series Twin Peaks, a production company backed Lynch to develop a new TV series. He came up with a new idea, and shot an open-ended, proof of concept pilot episode. Mulholland Drive was his new vision, his new creative plan.
When they saw the results the producers pulled the funding for the planned series. Lynch’s concept was in deep trouble.
But he didn’t give up. Convinced of the idea and his concept he sought a new producer, a new backer to turn the TV pilot into a feature film. He dug deep and found a new way to reach an audience he hadn’t initially set out to reach.
The new movie went on to win Lynch the Best Director Award at Cannes.
Mulholland Drive is the perfect example of a creative pivot. You can set out planning to prove something, but end up proving something else entirely.
That’s the lesson for startup brands. As long as you have a vision that’s driven by strong brand foundations, you can still reach your goal. But success can come by taking an unfamiliar or unexpected path.
The important thing is to have the vision and the drive to succeed in the first place.