Tuesday, June 30, 2009

But never mind whether you deserve the attention

Seth Godin talks about promoting ideas and products by standing out and finding a "tribe" to lead:

Via Raymond M. Kristiansen, who finds this inspiring in his political activism.

I'm ambivalent. On one hand, Godin is no doubt correct that this is a good way to do marketing today. Stand out, be noticed, even at the risk of failure. Aim to be loved or hated by a few, avoid being merely tolerated by the many. Don't be "very good", be brilliant or terrible. Safe is risky.

On the other hand, this is just yet another variation on traditional branding, and how is that supposed to inspire us? Stand out .. by placing your product in a clever way at the store. Be noticed .. but never mind whether you deserve the attention.

Good marketers are always at the forefront of mass psychology. Instead of copying the masters of manipulation, we should ask: What does it say about me that this is how I'm being marketed to? Is that who I want to be?

I imagine a world where everybody listens to Seth Godin, and it depresses me.

Godin asks us to change the world. For me that change involves not being afraid of being boring, if that's what the message deserves. It involves doing things that are genuinely new and genuinely worth doing, not repackaging worthless things in a more noticable way.

This desire is exactly what marketers today are trying to manipulate. And for that, I despise them.



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