A Challenge For Marketing

Sam Lawrence throws down the gauntlet to marketing folks today in a blog post entitled “Stop guarding your precious brand.” Here’s what I wrote in a comment (with a typo corrected!):

Hi, Sam, this is a slightly different frame on the concept of user-centered design … which is the core of what makes a product or a website **work**. Period!

On one level, control also reflects fear, I think. (Hey, I just saw the Dalai Lama today. His message: need to remove fear, doubt and suspicion to make way for compassion.) Marketing (and advertising) uses fear-uncertainty-doubt as weapons against the unsuspecting (or unsophisticated). That’s the absolute opposite of engagement and conversation.

Control can also mean “fear of losing one’s job.” It’s closely aligned, in this meaning, with preserving position (esp. common with middle managers whose jobs have been to control the flow of information w/in an organization). But it, too, is the opposite of conversation.

What’s different about new companies (digital ones) and old companies is reflected in Jeff’s comment: “All brands which through overuse became synonyms for an object rather than a brand. Kleenex Bandaid Hoover”

NEW companies *want* their brand to become a verb … to diffuse rapidly and totally. Google is a verb (but not Yahoo!). So is Tivo (but not ReplayTV). If those companies had tried to “protect” their brand like Jeff is suggesting, would they be as successful as they are? (Yes, I know Tivo is not as successful as Google, but it’s more successful than its competition.)

What do you think?


One thought on “A Challenge For Marketing

  1. Such a purty blog, it’s a same I’m gong to write all over it.

    I think you’re bang on. When jobs are splintered, work becomes the act of blowing the small responsibility into a big and complicated one (aka justification). And FUD is often an old dog crutch since people just give up learning new skills at work. Not to mention Marketing can oftentimes be the whipping post at companies who see it as glorified arts and crafts.

    Your comments are welcomed and I look forward to meeting you in person.

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