Brand Hijack - PCC - ebook

A guide to successful branding without typical marketing practices introduces the concept of consumer-driven, or word-of-mouth, branding, in a practical guide that addresses such challenges as media saturation, consumer evolution, and the erosion of image marketing. 50,000 first printing.

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Companies like Starbucks, eBay, Palm and Red Bull have built multi-billion-dollar valuations without using any conventional advertising campaigns. Far from being lucky breaks, the success of these and other companies demonstrate the smart approach to building a business and a brand in the twenty-first-century is to do what can be termed“marketing without marketing."

More specifically, these brands create the illusion that success is happening serendipitously as driven by the users rather than as dictated by the corporation. This is good, because it means the user base feels like they're in control of the brand. Consumers who instantly and automatically reject traditional marketing as being too intrusive respond well to the invitation to help shape what their favorite brand will mean in the future. This is the essence of marketing without marketing.

The key to building a brand nowadays is to let the market hijack your brand. The more marketplace involvement you have, the better—even if that takes your brand off in unanticipated directions. What you'll ultimately end up with is a brand experience that is richer, better, more genuine and therefore more sustainable than anything you would have consciously developed yourself. Have the confidence to let the market decide how your brand evolves.

Key Thoughts

“Welcome to marketing without marketing: the emergence of the hijacked brand. Don't let the all-too-clever subtitle fool you. Far from representing the absence of marketing, this approach is the most complex sort of marketing possible, as well as the least understood. Brand Hijack addresses such advertising industry crises as media saturation, consumer evolution, and the erosion of image marketing. This type of marketing is not for everyone. You must be willing to let the market take over. You must be confident enough to stop clamoring for control and learn to be spontaneous. You must be bold enough to accept a certain degree of uncertainty in the handling of your brands.”

Alex Wipperfurth

The 10 Key Principles of Marketing without Marketing

10 Key Principles 1   Let go

Let your brand be market-driven rather than marketing-driven. The only way you can do this is if you visualize your brand as belonging to the marketplace rather than to you.

The best brands find their own place in the market. They grow and develop in response to the needs of users rather than as part of a preordained program dictated by a marketing company. In fact, the very big brands often have an instigator who is willing to get out of the way and let the user community add their own meaning and do their own thing. This is the way“killer apps”emerge in the marketplace.

A great example of this principle was Napster. Shawn Fanning was a college freshman when he wrote a computer software program that would help him search for music on the Internet. He named it“Napster”because that was his nickname. He then e-mailed it out to a few friends, asking them not to share it with anyone else. Fanning then let the marketplace do its own thing. He didn't engage a brand consultant or an ad agency to manage the brand. Nor did he try and influence how Napster evolved. Instead, everything was left to the user base to add meaning. Within 18 months, Napster had eighty million users, all for a marketing expenditure of $200,000.

Why did Napster go from a start-up to a global mass brand and then to a nostalgia brand within the space of just two years?

■ It provided users with a blank canvas—something people could take and use any way they wanted to.

■ Napster had a non-financial incentive—users felt like they were helping others by making their music libraries available rather than being paid a finders fee or anything like that.

■ It made people feel wanted—the more people that used Napster, the better it became.

■ Napster created a sense of community