There are two types of advertising. There are ads when you know what you are looking for, which was once the domain of Yellow Pages and newspapers, but is now dominated by Google.
The other class of ad is about creating a longing in people’s minds for things they don’t yet want to buy. The Rebirth of Brand is totally about this class of advertising.
What digital offers is the allure of measurement. But so much of what is being measured is transactions. What iconic brands do is move beyond transactions to the level of relationship and the level of meaning. However, the more you move into this space the more difficult it is to measure.
So much of what digital offers is the measurement of utterly meaningless transactions. So much of this is seductive but largely useless. What I want most, is to put my brand in the cultural mainstream with meaningful images, symbols, stories and myths that speak to what the masses are feeling and experiencing.
Einstein had it right when he spoke to the vital matter of measurement ‘not everything that matters can be measured and not everything that can be measured matters’.
One of the characteristics of two of the great American presidents of the 20th century is they managed to master an emergent media. Franklin D. Roosevelt mastered radio with his fireside chats over a ten year period up to World War 2. His tone and manner did much to reassure his people at times of the despair of the great depression. The 30 fireside chats were an experiment that worked.
JF Kennedy learned from his one-time film mogul father that “image is reality”. He learned quickly how to craft a TV image in the ’50s. With his beautiful new wife, Jacqueline Bouvier, he successfully wove together the personal and the political.
The challenge for any Brand Builder in modernity is to keep a coherent message across multiple across channels. This is about cross channel storytelling, understanding the role of many different types of media each of which plays a particular role.
The big challenge, of course, is to work out the “unifying glue”. We have seen what this is in the Thunder that is US politics, the appropriation of the cultures foundational myths and legends. That is what unites over multiple media, and over time. So is understanding oral storytelling and myth/ritual. Each campaign rally was a major news event!
But more than anything, if you know who you are, know who is the archetype you live by, you then understand yourself as a brand. Next, you realise the Brand (as archetype) has a place in culture. It is in culture. You then can know your cultural enemies. But even more important you know exactly how to behave whether you are dealing with a foreign head of state, a natural disaster, a political scandal or a legislative/legal set back.
There is one other characteristic used by Donald Trump that every oral storyteller has an intuitive sense. They know each telling is a performance. It is an intimate dance between teller and audience. Great oral storytellers know instantly whether they are connecting.
Trump tries stuff out all the time. The audience lets him know – immediately. He doesn’t need a focus group. The opposition is the party of policy and polls, his is now the party of passion and promise!