Impatient Ideas

concept acceptance over time - adapted from Seth Godin

Clarke’s Law of Great Ideas eloquently summarizes the four phases your boss passes through after you insert a novel new idea into his alleged mind: It is impossible – don’t waste my time. It is possible, but it is not worth doing. I said it was a good idea all along. Members of the board, here is my idea. But it isn’t just your boss. It is your market that goes from utter disbelief to passionate involvement over time. Marketing’s job it to short circuit the disbelief/belief gap and reduce the time to mass market acceptance. It ain’t easy. If it was, then anyone could do it. Seth Godin recently opined on the topic, and provided a graph (we prettied it up) which shows that in the short-run, ideas are not warmly met by everyone. Yes, a small set of early adopters “gets it”, but most of the market fails … Continue reading

Brand Belief

Bestselling books often aren’t. For decades the New York Times (NYT) Best Seller list was the acid test of a good read. But while helping a client with his book project, we explored what it takes to get on that list, and it isn’t pretty. In short, you need to sell about 9,000 copies of a book in a given week. Based on this information, a number of companies slithered out of the marketing muck to arrange “book buy-downs” – buying many books through channels to make a book appear to be popular. An author who wants to forever be known as a NYT bestseller simply pays one of these companies to buy books through minions around the country, then store those books in a warehouse somewhere. Sleazy. Even the NYT has tried (and failed) to flag bulk buys as potential rank rigging, though this misidentifies some legitimate bulk buys … Continue reading

Belief Branding

belief branding and snake-oil marketing

Belief is branding. The question is what forms belief. I am in the earliest of stages in creating a TED Talk, pondering the realities of what people believe and how they come to believe such. On the lower end of the ways we organize what we hold to be true are the elements of belief, knowledge and facts. Individually, humans know few facts compared to humanity’s abundance of cumulative investigation and testing. Thus most of what we shaved apes use to guide our daily activities are either knowledge (acquaintance/familiarity with facts, truths, or principles) or belief (opinion or conviction). Living life this way is perfectly reasonable since omniscience is a rare commodity in this world (despite what politicians say about themselves). The more one has belief, the less one need depend on facts. Every snake oil salesman elected or otherwise, creates a sense of belief. Medicine show pitchmen made rural … Continue reading