Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Marketing Ostriches

Wishing won't make it so, my friends;

no, I'm afraid that it simply won't.

Oh dear, they're at it again. Perhaps I'm getting an inkling of what our infamous, erstwhile Vice President experience when he felt compelled to upbraid those "nattering nabobs of negativism" in his famous address.

Would that it were as simple as combating a bevy of journalists on jeremiads – alas, it's far worse than that. Once again the “trades” are full of excoria, purporting to be expert advice regarding the practice of marketing and maintaining brands – and these by self-proclaimed practitioners of the craft.

And what [dare we wonder?] do these “experts” prescribe? Nothing less than the death of brands as we have come to know them. Yes, these experts resemble no one more than the fabled Dr. Kevorkian of suicide machine fame. As an aside, one wonders – where is the good doctor these days, in prison? Writing a book on marketing? The mind fairly boggles, no?

Surely you exaggerate!” I hear you cry, and perhaps I do – but I very much doubt it; for once again the siren call of “Your Brands are what everyone else says they are” is heard throughout the land. Yes, and your résumé means precisely what I think it means, and not what you had intended, right?

And so it goes.

When will we get past this cult of the mediocritocracy? Perhaps this all goes back the Jean Paul Sartre and his French existentialist ilk. The whole idea that “you are who others think you are” seems to be the basis for today's rampant brand surrenders.

One must assume that they've missed the basic point of Sartre's play, Huis Clos (or No Exit, to you and me!), which was that Hell is Other People.

If we let our brands be defined by “other people,” we've consigned them [and ourselves!] to Marketing Hell. Hardly the stuff of which dreams are made, let alone profits.

All the while this drivel [yes, drivel!] is being promulgated, we also receive information that strong corporate brands continue to grow – despite the economic downturn. Clearly, a fickle, shifting public defining of these brands is no-where to be seen – growing brands are strong because they're nurtured by wise marketing professionals, not by being blown thither and yon by the vagaries of public opinion.

In a related blast of cognitive dissonance (if you'll pardon the “technical” term!), I read that there are now more Americans making their respective livings as professional bloggers (?!) than there are fire-fighters or even computer programmers [sadly, there are still more lawyers than bloggers].

Where's the dissonance?” you ask. Well, just as my mind was being boggled by reading this statistic, I discovered that one of my three favorite bloggers is hanging up his keyboard, as it were.

Whenever I wanted to catch up on the goings on in the “Motor” City [that's Detroit to you and me!], I would steer my trusty browser straight to the Detroit Media Guy blog on the internet. Seldom [if ever!] would I be disappointed by the posts and the comments. Yes, it's quite a testament to the readership that DMG (as his cyber-friends seemed to call him quite regularly) was able to attract that the comments to his musings and postings were often as well-written (and as well read!) as those posts themselves.

Perhaps it's time for a mini-series of newsletters covering my favorite bloggers – before they're all victims of bit-rot or right-sizing or perhaps not.

It might be instructive to gather a list of your favorites and mine, so that we all might share in the cyber-bounty of thoughts and counter-arguments that make up the blogosphere [and no, Jody, that as nothing to do with that rascally erstwhile Governor of Illinois!].

As a start, my top three, in no particular order (thank you, Tom Bergeron!) are:

Detroit Media Guy,
Random Rantings, and
The Lonely CEO

[feel free to follow the links cleverly embedded in the preceding text to sample these fabulous blogs!].

We here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC look forward to compiling and disseminating a list of our joint favorites in the weeks to come.

Excelsior! and RIP DMG.

Last time, Jay wrote about the death of newspapers and paper routes:
R. Scott "Randy" Hearst responded:
"Jay, you've either got your tongue stuck in your cheek, or you're woefully ignorant of the real workings of the paper-delivery system in this great nation of ours.
I notice that you don't distribute a printed version of your newsletter, so you don't have to deal with finding a stable of stinky young brats with bicycles to pedal through urbia and suburbia delivering the sweat of your brow - now firmly printed on pulp. If you had ever had to substitute at 4AM in the cold for some rotten brat just because he had strep throat or pneumonia, you wouldn't ..."

I'm going to stop you right there, "Randy," before it gets too personal. Once you've calmed down a bit, I'd appreciate a less deprecating and more thoughtful commentary. Any chance of that?

-- Jay


Al Camus said...

It's nice to know you're somewhat well-read, but you should know better than to lump all the French existentialists together, my friend.

I know, however, that we can't change your outlook, so we'll surrender ourselves to the tender indifference of your part of the blogosphere.

Jay Standish said...

Al (dare I call you Albert?) -
I'm fairly certain I'm being "joshed" or otherwise fooled, but I'll take the bait nonetheless.

Unless you're a stranger to the plague of myths being promulgated by modern-day Sisyphi you'd not make those cheap remarks.

Marketing and brand maintenance is a serious business, and I'm in no mood to be anyone's fall guy (although that Lee Majors was quite the stunter in his day, no?).

At any rate, keep on pushing - you may make it to the top yet!