Monday, August 4, 2008

You've gotta read Brand Hijack.

I need to read it a few more times to really get the complex marketing discussion in Brand Hijack marketing without marketing (2005) by Alex Wipperfurt. But it'll be worth it. The book is a meaty explanation full of examples that explains how companies let the consumer define the brand and also how you can be successful if you take risks. It's complicated but Wipperfurt's style is humorous and easy to read. (And there's a great notes section in the back marked by chapters for reference.) Plus, Publishers Weekly, Wired News and Fast Company liked it too.

Here are a few interesting things I gleaned from the book:

  • Red Bull creators used a boycott and rumors (don't know if they were the squealers) of it being legal speed, from Bull's testicles and a magazine article calling it "liquid cocaine." And lucky for them, people talked to one another about the mystery and how it was a quick energy boost. Plus, at sometime or another everyone needs a pick-me-up, so it doesn't have a small audience.

  • P&G geniuses recruited dentists to sell the whitening kits in their offices. It also gave gift boxes to the Academy Award nominees. They marketed various groups especially the largest group of consumers: gay men, brides, teenage girls -- so they put up posters, and print ads with the "Smile Team"-- hunky men with beautiful teeth in predominantly gay neighborhoods. It sponsored film festivals and Pride Parades.

  • Find a social tribe and a narrow one to tap into your product. Those folks start trends. Dr. Martens marketed toward roadies, bouncers, working class people. Lots of things happened including the movie A Clockwork Orange featured a shoe that resembled Dr. Marten's and soon rebel types were wearing them and soon the ugly shoe became a star.

Here's a review of the book.

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