In 2005, Sandi Thom began her famous 'online webcasts', which attracted millions of ordinary people to her music and eventually scored her a UK number one hit. The fans who came and left messages such as 'great tunes. really sweet', and 'your voice is reeeelly solful' were touched by her music. Sure. But they were also touched by marketing. Specifically, by her now-legendary online promotions company, Quite Great PR. And every day, marketing reaches out into our lives and gives us messages about ourselves and our world. Messages like: I should be this person. I should do that thing. I should dream this dream.
Sandi wished she was a punk rocker. I wished I was a marketing consultant. Horses for courses. The difference being that my dream has since come true and I'm on 30k a year, whereas she's probably back to waitressing at the Harvester.
This blog is my own personal window, my brand, but also your brand to interact with: where I offer up some of my day-to-day personal insights into great marketing, past present and future. It's education. Yes. But like all great marketing, it's education that embraces the freedom to be who you are. You'll get no starched collars around here, no fusty textbooks lobbed in your general direction (look out!). It's a fun and engaging brand, a lot like the Ben & Jerry's Festival in Hyde Park. Ok, maybe ice cream is easier to sell than ideas, but ideas can change the world.
I'd like to ease us into the subject by starting off this week with a fun game I like to call 'good marketer, bad marketer'.
− Had a slogan which consisted of one-word sentences (“Land. Bread. Peace.”)
− Had an iconic look (little beard, big forehead)
− Brilliantly, named his party 'the majority' ('Bolshevik' in Russian), meaning that everyone naturally assumed they had a lot of support. In latter-day parlance, it's like calling your timepiece brand 'Very-Desirable-Hipster-Watch'.
− Had a rival he could define himself in terms of (Stalin – moustache vs beard = Apple vs Microsoft)
− Kept talking about revolution – even after it had happened.
− Cross-platform reinventions made it confusing to keep track of core brand
− Cross-Googling problem with choice of stage name (brings up hits about knives – dubiously fashionable product)
− Defined an era, but ended up defined by that era, delimiting brand life (Bowie=70s. See also: Rubik's Cube = 80s.)
− Wife too similar to Grace Jones. Public will interpret as failure to acquire premium product.
− Turned a weakness into a strength, limiting negative brand effect of personal ugliness by going into hiding.
− Harnessed broader public wave of Islamophobia by pissing off Iranians, turning himself into a brand champion of this lifestyle choice.
- Dated women traditionally considered 'out of his league', offering bonus publicity in gossip magazine features about mismatched couples.
− Wore same stage costume as the rest of her entourage (v confusing)
− Didn't get to 'age gracefully' because only became famous when already old.
− Lepers not a very contemporary issue. Mainly associated with biblical times/bells.
Got it? Good.