Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Brand leadership

(Not the David Aaker book) In marketing I believe leadership includes taking care of the little things. Two things I've noticed lately that tend to make a company lose credibility in the customer's eyes:

* Outdated website content
* Posters for an event still up after the date

And it struck me that, although there are companies out there putting posters up, there are none that specialise in taking them down after the event. Which would show that the company in question is onto it, environmentally friendly (somehow) and considerate of the public good. An interesting challenge for outdoor ad companies.

As for website updating, that's a service I tried (half-heartedly) to offer through SimonYoungWriters, but it's a very hard value proposition. Still very important, but who's going to pay money to do something that should be done inhouse?

Trouble is, when people start up a website, they don't allocate resources for the ongoing maintenance of the site. For larger organisations this is shockingly negligent. It's 10 years this year since the Web became mainstream. There's enough experience and knowledge out there to get some sort of idea what resources you should commit to running a website, not just putting one up. Ah well, perhaps I'm just ahead of my time.


At 3:34 pm, Blogger Borscht said...

Hi all. Adam Mezei from Toronto. First off, a warm welcome to Simon and his much-delayed arrival in blog country -- *git* you! Nice to have him around. As I've only had a chance to catch up with some of the comments as of the date of my posting, please excuse this mish-mash of various chewy musings - inspired doubtless from the 'moveable feast' my much maligned eyeballs (from overuse, admittedly -- not from any kind of Jason, Friday the 13th scenario -- I do point out that the Olympics begin this year on that date) have gandered.

I feel my inaugural post should mention a smattering or two about the notion of how leaders use film, since it's, ahem, one of the areas in which I know a thing or three. It's no great feat of Einsteinian proportions to mention that the medium of the motion picture has been in use as early as the pre-WWI period as a highly effective means of rousing the passions (for the good or for the bad) of a populace for various political aims. Black 'n white 'flicker pictures' (and thusly, flicks) during the era when Charlie Chaplin's films reigned supreme were the slicked up means to achieve good buy-in from a group of fence sitters. During the Depression, and in the intervening war years, film became eminently more sophisticated -- even to the point of tyrannically dastardly. The Nazis were masters at abusing this mass medium (J. Goebbels was a mastermind at this, please read 'The Propaganda Minister' if you haven't yet - it's a very rotund read, generally out of print wherever one goes - if your query isn't met by askance looks and calls to the Home Office in your country of choice for making the request -- but this is a blog about leadership, last time I'd checked). Though STILL very impactful to today (the whole debates surrounding films like Fahrenheit 9/11 is a recent example). Whole swaths of population could be moved along an emotional path in those days before open access to info like today (most people don't even realise how lucky we are). Leni Riefenstahl's films (Hitler's preferred filmmaker) are full year courses in communications theory and techniques - especially her films Triumph of the Will & Olympia).

All this to say that to be a leader, not only WHAT you say, but THE MEANS used to convey what you want to say are critically important. It's no small secret that a powerful prophetic message (as our gracious host is wont to point out with Rev. 10:9) isn't really (please forgive the blasphemy SY!) 'prophetic' were the means used to convey it not imbued with the spirit of the times - and 'natch at the risk of seeming cliched, if a tree falls in the forest...

Film is so godawful powerful because it's one of the best (Internet is there, but not for all, especially in lower income brackets -- propaganda films are generally geared toward this strata of a society) means at our disposal to invite all our five senses and faculties into the process (note: soon add taste and smell to the equation!). To wit:

** sight: 'nuff said.
** sound: the combination of slick visuals and majestic, pulsating, tribal, percussive, rhythmic, catchy beats to channel a message in ever-deeper -- like the very gold buried on the Rand in South Africa.
** touch: I can even remember as a kid in Toronto -- we used to have scary 3D movies on TV Saturday nights -- you could even drive to special cinemas where the chairs were rigged to move in synch to the oh-so-spooky horrific action on the silver screen.
** smell: don't quote me on this conspiracy theory --> but some cinema owners, perhaps in some of the more seedier districts (I have merely *heard* accounts of these, but of course ;-) ) will make use of, um, scents to get better, er, 'buy in.'
** taste: if the popcorn and Mounds in your mouth counts -- darn! The salt really wants you make you run out and buy more. Whoever thought of that idea? -- now that's breakthrough.

So as you can rightly see -- leaders not only know what to do and say -- but they also know how to deliver the goods in the most persuasive means possible. Where that message will then ensconce an interlocking web of deep roots in your left brain - causing you to use your right brain in more ways that you ever thought possible -- is left up much less to happenstance.

I look forward to the good energy to emante from here. Environmentally-speaking, perhaps we can use some of this dialectical and polemical heat to power our collective intellectual furnaces. Is there an exegesis for that?


At 3:49 pm, Blogger Borscht said...

Just one final thing: in places where labour is dirt cheap, I have observed the cleaning up of outdoor advertising faster than a hungry hyena laps up carrion - unfortunately -- in consumer societies, what happens is we're mighty starters, but darn lazy finishers. We leave more messes behind than a gaggle of teens having a Sat. night sleepover whilst the parents take a weekend trip to the Bahamas/Bali/Cook Islands/Miami/Mallorca -- take your pick -- teens are everywhere -- they're taking over, in fact!


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