Viral Purple Cow Synergy

(inspired by the recent good-natured sparring between Hugh and Tara…. )

Life cycle of good ideas:
1) Forward thinking individual(s) come up with groundbreaking idea/theory/method/etc
2) Group that surrounds individual(s) takes idea and runs with it…improves it…communicates it.
3) Sales/marketing/ad folks take idea and corrupt it. (book may be written at this stage)
4) Original thinkers shun the idea
5) Rinse. Repeat.

History of late is full of “buzzwords” that initially were great ideas, but then were destroyed by the unwashed masses.

Watch out. The Long Tail is next.

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Marketing Big Idea

From Doc Searls…

“….far too much of what we call “Marketing” is about capturing and holding customers, rather than finding and satisfying customer needs…”

Exactly.

Doc’s entire article is here. Although I don’t agree with all of it as much as the above quote. Tara and Hugh do a good job talking from the marketing side of the equation.

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Blog Power

A while back I made a great point (if I do say so myself) that Blogs are not Mainstream…yet.

And I still stand by that post.

For the vast masses of most consumers…blogs and the idea of open source marketing are just starting to pop up on the radar. We’re still way over on the left side of the adoption curve for the general population. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Blog PR (or the newly coined “BR”) should now be a part of any successful marketing campaign for any product. But, for the most part, you can’t ride blog marketing all the way to the bank…with one exception.

If your product exists only on the web…or is a very tech-heavy product, blogs are super powerful. I say this because I have seen it blossom recently.

Tara “Miss Rogue” Hunt has been a friend of this blog for a few months. Over those few months, I’ve seen her use a blog to get a job with a SFO internet start-up…and then use blogs to propel that start-up to blogosphere star status. In the past few days, Riya has been in the top ten search results on Technorati and has been the focus of Memeorandum.

I’m sure Tara would say that some of it was dumb-luck…the Google rumor…and then there was the “incident”, but overall it is an example of the blogosphere causing The Tipping Point…and a fabulous example of solid marketing. Congrats to Tara for a great job.

It’s also a barometer of things to come. While blogs are not mainstream…yet, we’re now seeing the shift.

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BR not PR

Tara and Steve have some excellent posts about PR folks “not getting it” in the blogosphere. I love Tara’s new lingo of “BR”. It’s definitely going to become a major player in marketing.

And while both of their posts deal with blogs, these lessons are true even in a traditional PR campaign. Bloggers and traditional media don’t want to place your advertising for you…they want good useful content for their readers.

Write press releases from the reader’s point of view of “what’s in it for me?” Don’t just hammer out PR that no one cares about. Before you hit send on a press release, ask yourself, “Is this News or is it an Ad?”

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More Municipal Brand Talk!

We”re stuck on a topic. But, it’s a good one…the “rebranding” of municipalities and states. Tara a/k/a “miss rogue” had a great comment about cities’ brand strategy…

“…Perhaps re-branding a city wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it involved the actual inhabitants and went beyond a silly logo and an advertising campaign. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this…”

That’s right on the mark. Too many cities (and companies) focus on the logos and ads rather than the actual brand makers. I touched on that lightly in the Kentucky brand article I linked to in the previous posts.

The problem is that when cities do try to reach out and change perceptions they are ridiculed by the media and masses for “wasting taxpayers’ money” just as much or more than they are for creating the logos and ads. Often, the logo gets better press that the effort.

A good example is when former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani launched his quality of life campaign for New York in the mid-90s. It helped the New York brand, but was widely panned in the press.

A current example is the US Government’s PR effort to change the perceptions of America…particularly in the Arab world. A lot of the negative hype over that move that is partisan and political, but obviously the US needs a PR boost.

And my favorite (fictional) example from Seinfeld…Dinkins loses the race to Giuliani because of Elaine’s suggestion to Lloyd Braun that everyone in the City wear nametags to make New York a nicer place.

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