Concentrated Knowledge™ for the Busy Executive •                                            Vol. 27, No. 7...
BRAND HIJACK                                                                         by Alex Wipperfürth                  ...
Brand Hijack — SUMMARYThe ‘No Marketing’ Myth                                        they want to involve themselves more ...
Brand Hijack — SUMMARYThe Marketer’s Guide to theSerendipitous Hijack                                                     ...
Brand Hijack — SUMMARYOvercoming Conventional Marketing                                  respected institutions. We each h...
Brand Hijack — SUMMARYMarketing as a Catalyst for                                    and inspiring lasting devotion. There...
Brand Hijack — SUMMARYPhase I: Tribal Marketing(continued from page 6)                                                    ...
Brand Hijack — SUMMARYPhase III: Mass Marketing                                        Holy Grail. It is an objective writ...
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  1. 1. Concentrated Knowledge™ for the Busy Executive • Vol. 27, No. 7 (3 parts), Part 1, July 2005 • Order # 27-16 FILE: MARKETING ® Marketing Without Marketing BRAND HIJACK THE SUMMARY IN BRIEF Welcome to the world of marketing without marketing: the emergence of the hijacked brand. Don’t let this seemingly contradictory idea fool you. Far from representing the absence of marketing, this summary describes the most complex sort of marketing possible, as well as the least understood. In Brand Hijack, marketing consultant Alex Wipperfürth offers a practi- cal how-to guide to marketing that finally engages the marketplace. It pre- By Alex Wipperfürth sents an alternative to convention marketing wisdom, one that addresses familiar industry crises such as media saturation, consumer evolution and CONTENTS the erosion of image marketing. The purpose of this summary is to demysti- The ‘No Marketing’ Myth fy the modern brand and make the next generation of marketing both prac- Pages 2, 3 tical and actionable. Public Property: But be forewarned: Following this summary’s advice will require some The Serendipitous Hijack Page 3 untraditional — even counterintuitive — practices on the part of modern The Marketer’s Guide to the marketers. This type of marketing is not for everyone. Marketers must be Serendipitous Hijack willing to let the market take over. They must be confident enough to stop Pages 3, 4 clamoring for control and learn to be spontaneous. They must also be bold The Co-Created Hijack enough to accept a certain degree of uncertainty in the handling of their Page 4 brands. Overcoming Conventional Brand hijacking relies on a radical concept — letting go. Although this Marketing Pages 4, 5 thought might be frightening to many marketers, with some practice, it can The Next Marketing Era be oddly liberating. Page 5 Marketing as a Catalyst for Cultural Development Pages 5, 6 What You’ll Learn In This Summary Earning Consumer Devotion ✓ How to make brand successes appear like serendipitous accidents. Page 6 ✓ How to let go of the fallacy that your brand belongs to you and not to The Kick-Off: Hijack Ideation the market. Page 6 Phase I: Tribal Marketing ✓ How to co-create your brand by collaborating with your consumers. Pages 6, 7 ✓ How to facilitate your most influential and passionate consumers to The Art of Seeding translate your brand’s message to a broader audience. Page 7 ✓ How to inspire true customer loyalty, not just customer retention. Phase II: Co-Creation Page 7 ✓ How to embrace the value of being surprising and imperfect. Phase III: Mass Marketing ✓ How to draw the line between promotion and the ad-busting trinity of Pages 7, 8 manipulation, intrusion and co-option. The Ultimate Payoff Page 8 Published by Soundview Executive Book Summaries, P.O. Box 1053, Concordville, PA 19331 USA © 2005 Soundview Executive Book Summaries • All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited.
  2. 2. BRAND HIJACK by Alex Wipperfürth — THE COMPLETE SUMMARY PART ONE: MARKETING WITHOUT MARKETINGThe ‘No Marketing’ Myth able to make a dent in Red Bull’s business, despite their respective distribution omnipresence and deep, deep Corporate America is confused. How else could you pockets? Why hasn’t a single Hollywood studio beenexplain some pretty weird behavior from the Fortune 500: able to reproduce the go-to-market template and result-Nestlé invading blog sites, Sony creating fictitious reviews ing runaway success of The Blair Witch Project, despiteto promote feature film duds. The past decade’s most suc- numerous high-profile attempts?cessful brand launches — most of which shunned tradi-tional marketing templates — have the big guns taking Introducing the Brand Hijacksome rather embarrassing stabs in the dark. When it comes to 21st-century marketing, consumers are In their search for answers, professional marketers more clued in than the professionals. Marketing managersfound comfort in their ability to revert back to the aren’t in charge anymore. Consumers are. Across theimmutable laws of marketing: Accept branding as the globe, millions of insightful, passionate and creative peoplemost critical element of commercial success, find a rele- are helping to optimize and endorse breakthrough productsvant and compelling connection between product per- and services, sometimes without the companies’ buy-in.formance and a target audience, and create advertising Call it brand hijacking: the act of commandeering aaround an aspirational image associated with the brand. brand from the marketing professionals and driving itsThese fundamentals had always kept marketers on track. evolution. Brand hijacking allows consumers and other But a string of recent successes should be forcing mar- stakeholders to shape brand meaning and endorse theketers to ask whether these laws are becoming obsolete: brand to others. It’s a way to establish true loyalty, as ● How did Starbucks and eBay build billion-dollar opposed to mere retention.valuations without leading with a quintessential adver- We’re not talking about creating hype. We’re talkingtising campaign? about a new template for going to market — a complex ● How did Palm and Red Bull ignore what consumers orchestration of many carefully thought-out activities. Insaid they wanted, yet create new markets? order for your brand to stick, for it to have real impact on ● How did Pabst Blue Ribbon become the fastest-grow- our culture, you must be willing to collaborate with aing domestic beer in 2002 when it tastes like backwash group of people with which you’re not used to collaborat-and hardly can be said to offer aspirational benefits? ing: consumers. Behind each of these successes is a complex orches- Resist the temptation to assume that consumers are atration of activities that only appears inconsequential. (continued on page 3)Creating an Illusion The author: Alex Wipperfürth is a partner at Plan B, a marketing boutique in San Francisco, helping brands like Brands like Starbucks and Red Bull — the leaders of Pabst Blue Ribbon, Napster and Dr. Martens appear likethe “no marketing” school of thought — are spending serendipitous accidents.hundreds of millions of dollars in nonadvertising each Copyright © 2005 by Alex Wipperfürth. Summarized byyear, creating the illusion for their passionate user base permission of the publisher, Portfolio, a member ofthat success happened serendipitously. Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, The ultimate irony of this phenomenon is that con- NY 10014. 280 pages. $24.95. ISBN 1-591-84078-3.sumers are in on the joke. Meanwhile, corporate Summary Copyright © 2005 by Soundview Executive Book Summaries., 1-800-SUMMARY,America is desperately trying to copy the new market- template, and in the process proving over and overagain that it just cannot get it right. For additional information on the author, Why haven’t Coke, Pepsi and Anheuser-Busch been go to: Published by Soundview Executive Book Summaries (ISSN 0747-2196), P.O. Box 1053, Concordville, PA Soundview19331 USA, a division of Concentrated Knowledge Corp. Published monthly. Subscriptions: $195 per year in the Executive Book Summaries®United States, Canada and Mexico, and $275 to all other countries. Periodicals postage paid at Concordville, Pa., andadditional offices. TOM MOORE – Contributing Editor Postmaster: Send address changes to Soundview, P.O. Box 1053, Concordville, PA 19331. Copyright © 2005 by DEBRA A. DEPRINZIO – Senior Graphic DesignerSoundview Executive Book Summaries. Available formats: Summaries are available in print, audio and electronic formats. To subscribe, CHRIS LAUER – Senior Editorcall us at 1-800-SUMMARY (610-558-9495 outside the United States and Canada), or order on the Internet at CHRISTOPHER G. MURRAY – Editor in Multiple-subscription discounts and corporate site licenses are also available. GEORGE Y. CLEMENT – Publisher2 Soundview Executive Book Summaries ®
  3. 3. Brand Hijack — SUMMARYThe ‘No Marketing’ Myth they want to involve themselves more deeply.(continued from page 2) In the end, market involvement brings about a better,bunch of suckers. They don’t devote themselves to brands richer, more sustainable product experience. It garners truebecause they want to provide free marketing for a corpora- loyalty from consumers: an investment on their part to buildtion. They do it because some special brands offer up a a stronger relationship with the brand on an ongoing with which people can identify — one with which At its best, market involvement creates a cultural benefit, offering meaning in an otherwise chaotic modern world. ■ PART TWO: THE HIJACKPublic Property: fostered committed solidarity that was strengthened by repeated shutdown attempts by the record companies.The Serendipitous Hijack ● It had smart leadership. Fanning never intended to Hijacked brands do not necessarily have to be great make money off of his creation. He got out of the wayproducts. It’s all about the killer experience. A serendip- of his own product and allowed it to evolve under theitous hijack is the act of consumers seizing control of a brand leadership of its own community.brand’s ideology, use and persona. It is most often prac- It’s unusual for a brand to get hijacked to the point ofticed by brand fanatics within subcultures and is largely total control by the market, as Napster was. When thisunanticipated by — and independent of — the brand’s happens, the brand essentially becomes public property:marketing department. It’s defined and led by its user community. Ironically, Consider the case of Napster. Shawn Fanning, the this sort of full-throttle hijack is often an accident.founder of Napster, hadn’t been thinking about revolu- Rarely is it the result of initiatives or campaigns comingtionizing the music industry and inventing file sharing out of a marketing department. ■along the way. He simply wanted to know how he could For additional information on brands that have been hijacked,get music off the Web with the least amount of hassle. go to: Fanning was a college freshman frustrated by themany dead links he encountered when scouring the Webfor rare music. In the old days, it was a pain to search formusic in the first place. But imagine hours of searching The Marketer’s Guide to theand then the link you finally discovered would simply Serendipitous Hijackdisappear. So Fanning wrote some code to prove that Fueling the momentum of a brand driven by its commu-you could create a real-time online index. nity is one of the most challenging assignments in market- Then he used those fateful and seductive words when ing. It requires walking that finest of lines between safe-he e-mailed the beta-program to several friends in the guarding the integrity of the brand’s soul and keeping itshacker community: “Do NOT share this with anyone. legitimacy within the market community. Success hingesThis is still in a test phase.” not only on your ability to resist the tremendous urge to So it was that Napster (Fanning’s childhood nick- do “cool marketing,” but also knowing when to turn thename) was born. Within months, hundreds of thousands switch to mainstream marketing and brand investment.of users were forwarded that e-mail and downloaded the Here are three ways to start with the right attitude:software, making Napster one of the fastest growing ● Don’t be afraid of your consumers. Your mosttechnologies ever. passionate users will provide you with critical insights Why was Napster so perfect for a takeover by the into how to evolve your Consider the following five reasons: ● Don’t be afraid of a little controversy. Pushing the ● It provided a blank canvas. It allowed users to usual limits of what’s acceptable will serve as a demon-appropriate a neutral infrastructure and make it their stration of how much confidence you have in yourown. They created a community spirit ripe with hierar- brand. Don’t panic about a bit of controversy taintingchies, coded communication and etiquette. your brand image. You’ve got more to gain from treat- ● It offered a nonmaterial incentive to participate. ing it with a sense of transparency, reality and, aboveNapster’s users had a built-in incentive: The larger the all, humor than from trying to squelch, the more music that was available. ● Develop a sense of humor about your brand — ● It made the community feel needed. Napster’s value especially if the market is hijacking it. Consumers find itdepended on the behavior and visionary ideas of its users. endearing when you show that you can laugh at yourself. ● It fostered a sense of belonging. In fact, Napster (continued on page 4) 3 Soundview Executive Book Summaries ®
  4. 4. Brand Hijack — SUMMARYThe Marketer’s Guide to theSerendipitous Hijack Conventional Brands(continued from page 3) Vs. Hijacked BrandsAdapt Your Marketing Conventional brands position themselves as provid- Figure out why you got hijacked. Too often, brand ing certain benefits to their consumers. The marketingowners try to identify the drivers behind serendipitous relies on the creation of an aspirational image. Thebrand hijacks through focus groups, quantitative studies brand owners try to convince you that using or wearingor expensive trend-hunting reports. But these methods a certain brand will make you seductive or successful.simply do not reveal the real causes. It is better to Hijacked brands, on the other hand, offer consumersresearch the origin of the movement and trace its evolu- something much bigger — meaning within a broad cul-tion by putting together a timeline. Take the time to tural context. As a result, they play a far more inspira-study what the hijacked brand does for its users and tional role in people’s lives.what social factors are driving the brand’s success. A co-created brand like Harley-Davidson signifies aEssentially, you will become a cultural anthropologist. way of life. The Blair Witch Project invented an urban myth. Apple sells an entire worldview. Starbucks For example, the word on the street was that people loved stopped at no less than creating new social norms.Pabst Blue Ribbon because it was retro. But the same couldbe said of several other brands of beer. It seemed clear that is a facilitator. Successful managers enable an ongoingbeing “retro” was only part of the story. Digging into the conversation between an engaged consumer base and abrand’s history revealed many other factors that contributed distinctive brand. This requires finesse, patience and ato PBR’s rise in popularity: Its mention in the film Blue solid understanding of the brand’s purpose.Velvet gave it credibility, its appearance on the speakeasy This is done by leading with purpose. ■revival scene provided visibility, its symbolic value as theanti-microbrew provided meaning, and so on.Educate the Organization Overcoming Conventional Establish a code of conduct to stay true to your con- Marketingsumers and your character. Hijacked brands can become Many corporations tend to be hindered in theirextremely fragile if they stray from the core values and attempts at brand hijacks by the ghosts of conventionalbelief system of their markets. Invest in educating your marketing. They discover that it’s not as easy to commitentire organization about the hijacked brand’s DNA. marketing heresy as they originally thought.What values are most important to your hijackers? Meanwhile, they fall prey to the following mistakes: ● They misinterpret the reasons for success. While Resist the temptation to do marketing. The hijackedbrand manager’s job is to keep the brand neutral so that the the initiative should begin with getting an exclusivemarket can fill it with meaning and enrich it with folklore. early market deep into the brand experience throughIn a sense, serendipitous brands are built through anti-mar- subconscious techniques, the strategy must change overketing. Stay away from pompous campaigns that try too time to draw in the mass market.hard. Stick with the spirit of the original hijack: Grass ● They rely on proven managers. Executing a brandroots. Real. Anti-hype. Transparent yet enigmatic. Even a hijack requires a whole new skill set. It takes facilita-bit imperfect. Truly cool brands should not say, “We are tion, an intuitive sense of the early market, a confidentcool.” The campaign should feel as though a bunch of nor- patience and a light touch — not the skills taught inmal folks got their hands on a marketing budget. ■ business schools or marketing textbooks. ● They measure success by the wrong standards. When launching a new brand, most firms typically look atThe Co-Created Hijack traditional measures such as brand awareness, sales volume A hijack does not have to be serendipitous. It can be and weighted distribution. But these metrics are irrelevantplanned. But it requires the mind-set of allowing the when disseminating a brand idea through early involvement of the market to discover, to engage Letting the market collaborate in the management of yourwith and to help shape a brand’s larger meaning. A co- brand may be counterintuitive, especially to conventionalcreated hijack is the act of inviting subcultures to co- brand managers. But the fact is, it builds stronger brands.create a brand’s ideology, use and personality, and to Instead of communicating — or rather dictating — brandpave the road for adoption by the mainstream. meaning to the market, brand hijacking communes with — Without exception, a hijacking rewrites the job or rather guides — the market to a common understanding.description of a traditional brand manager. The new job (continued on page 5)4 Soundview Executive Book Summaries ®
  5. 5. Brand Hijack — SUMMARYOvercoming Conventional Marketing respected institutions. We each had a clear, predetermined(continued from page 4) identity and role in society that shaped how we lived. But then we rebelled and set ourselves free to choose A brand hijack embraces the consumer as peer rather our own lifestyles and our own identities. With this free-than as “target.” Consumers of hijacked brands are looking dom came a hefty price tag. According to sociologistfor a meaningful connection to the product — a connection Anthony Giddons, we are now threatened by “dilemmasestablished through a common value system rather than a of the self,” like uncertainty, powerlessness and com-common demographic denominator. Hijackers establish modification. We are lost, struggling with a “loomingcommunities around a brand because they believe the brand threat of personal meaninglessness.”believes in them. Marketers therefore need to humanize And that’s where our consumer culture fits in.their targeting efforts. After all, you can’t collaborate with a Branding has crossed the cultural chasm. In the past,statistic. You can’t co-create your brand with a “21- to 35- brands served merely as a form of entertainment. Inyear-old white, suburban, college-educated professional.” today’s consumer culture, brands provide an answer toDon’t define audience members. Create them. ■ our identity crisis. Brands create purpose and give our lives meaning. They help us construct our social world.The Next Marketing Era In other words, in our search for place and purpose in In the days before mass media, heightened superficiality life, consumer culture is replacing tradition. ■and consumerism, our social roles were handed down to For additional information on how to work with your audience, go to: http://my.summary.comus from previous generations in the shape of norms and PART THREE: THE HIJACKERMarketing as a Catalyst for universe ripe with its own values, rituals, vocabulary and hierarchy. Part of the reason for the emergence ofCultural Development tribes can be traced to a radical change in the social fab- It should come as no surprise that while consumers ric. Trust in mass media and religious and political insti-are increasingly looking to the marketplace for mean- tutions has eroded. Traditional structures, from job secu-ing, the job of the marketer is shifting dramatically. rity to marriage, have broken down. Previously rigidMore than ever, marketers have become arbiters of cul- institutions have lost their authority.ture and facilitators in the search for identity. This lack of stability and a diminished level of social Consumers are demonstrating an increasing immunity interaction have revived our ancient tribal instincts. We areto conventional marketing because they distrust marketers seeking ways to reconnect with others. This behavior defiesand they’re suffering from media overkill. They have conventional wisdom, which tells us that people are becom-experienced the decline of trust in tradition. Some of them ing more individualistic. Yes, people are becoming moreare old enough to have lived through Watergate. All of inwardly focused and less concerned with what other peo-them experienced Enron, 9/11, the end of job security and ple think of them. But underneath this veneer of apparenta high likelihood of growing up with divorced parents. individualism lies a strong trend toward convergence.These factors and many others have all but shattered the Brand Tribesmyth of “middle-class security” — a state of mind thatfueled American consumer behavior for decades. Understanding this trend toward tribes as primary social units is crucial for marketers because tribes are Modern marketing has gone through several stages of now forming around brands. Brand tribes select prod-evolution during which the relationship between brand ucts differently than individuals. They seek brands forowner and consumer has completely flipped. their social, not functional, value. They want brands thatThe Consumer Collective can facilitate group rituals and experiences; products Today’s consumer no longer acts alone. Brands are not that establish connections and define the group identity.being hijacked by individuals, but by groups. These Members are constantly on the lookout for symbols andsocial groups form in a manner similar to the way ancient signs that will distinguish them from nonmembers.tribes used to form — except that whereas geography and Brand tribes do not accept brand meaning as dictated bysurvival were the common threads that bonded ancient the brand owner. In fact, they actively seek to reconstructcommunities, modern tribes are bound together by com- and appropriate brands for their own symbolic usage.mon hobbies and value systems. Take Harley-Davidson, for instance. Threatened by Brand tribes are groups of people who share their the invasion of superior Japanese motorbikes in theinterest in a specific brand and create a parallel social (continued on page 6) 5 Soundview Executive Book Summaries ®
  6. 6. Brand Hijack — SUMMARYMarketing as a Catalyst for and inspiring lasting devotion. There are three ways toCultural Development make consumer groups feel passionate about, and(continued from page 5) hijack, your brand. They are: 1. Create a discovery. When people believe they haveearly 1980s, the company survived bankruptcy with discovered a brand on their own, they feel ownershipwhat was, at the time, a technologically inept product. and want to share it with their friends. They are engagedThe brand’s success was propelled by the sheer will and by either being delighted or by being let in on a of its community: the HOG (Harley Owner 2. Create a commentary. Allow your brand toGroup), which now claims 400,000 members in about become either a political or social statement. Once a1,000 chapters. Harley localized the tribe and made it brand achieves iconic status, it obtains a deeper mean-personal. Rides and rallies have become the social glue ing among its users. Generally, the market appropriatesof the community, a tribe in which riders know each the brand for its own statement.other by name and establish real friendships. ■ 3. Create a mission. The strongest way to inspire consumer devotion is to develop a brand religion.Earning Consumer Devotion Brands with clearly defined purposes can develop a Brands with a religious following are not the only cultlike following. And these brand tribes will truly actones capable of enchanting tribes of fanatical believers as if they were on a mission to change the world. ■ PART FOUR: THE BRAND HIJACK ROAD MAPThe Kick-Off: Hijack Ideation able to afford. Red Bull became “speed-in-a-can” for today’s demanding lifestyle. It all starts with an idea that you seed, nurture andgrow over time into a new cultural norm: an idea driven The ideation of hijack-able brands has to be bigger thanby a major social truth. Napster was appropriated by its a consumer insight. It needs to hit the sweet spot betweencommunity as a tool to rebel against the manipulative product performance and social insight. The social truth isrecord industry. Southwest Airlines gave everyday peo- what engages consumers at a higher level and motivatesple the opportunity to go places only the rich had been them to get deeper into the brand experience. Uncovering social truths does not lead to mere prod- New Market Research uct innovation. It leads to market innovation. In other words, brands based on social insights make a major A research discipline that uses in-depth cultural leap that dismantles the status quo and changes the rules analysis to uncover social insights is emerging. This of the marketplace. ■ cultural research goes beyond individual behavior. It studies social trends, emerging values or simply how consumers live and act within tribal groups. It is not Phase I: Tribal Marketing about hiring “cool hunters.” Nor will focus groups Innovators and early adopters will be the first to realize and ethnographic studies serve to unearth the neces- the potential of the brand and help lower the barriers of sary social insights that drive breakthrough brands. adoption for the main market. They will define the brand It’s about diving deep into the cultural context of by incorporating it into the very fabric of their tribe. The your early market to identify stable social trends. It’s early market is often a subculture made up primarily of about projects such as: ✓ Analyzing how cults work in order to apply that unconventional thinkers or opinion leaders. They are moti- knowledge to brand tribes. vated primarily by one of two drivers — a quest for ✓ Researching what values and principles today’s authentic products or a desire to display their social consumers share in order to understand why Pabst knowledge. The following are three specific roles con- Blue Ribbon was chosen as the “anti-brand” badge. sumers and other stakeholders will play in shaping brands: ✓ Creating a personal image of what your target ● Product Developer. You have a virtual army of pas- community looks like by reading the magazines and sionate users ready and waiting to help you optimize books they read and watching the TV shows they watch. your product. And you don’t even have to pay for their Researchers must investigate cultural details and services. Why not harness their creative energy? craft compelling narratives from those nuances. They ● Brand Folklore Creator. Early markets are your must identify the triggers and hooks that help lead best storytellers. They will add meaning to your brand the market to adopt new — and most likely opposi- and help translate its message to a larger, more conserv- tional — social norms. Researchers must become ative market by creating rituals and myths around it. thought-leaders, not mere imitators of pop culture. (continued on page 7)6 Soundview Executive Book Summaries ®
  7. 7. Brand Hijack — SUMMARYPhase I: Tribal Marketing(continued from page 6) Phase II: Co-Creation Once the early market is hooked, it takes ownership of ● Authenticator. Using peer-to-peer networks to dif- the brand’s message. We generally call that buzz: thefuse ideas and brands into the marketplace is extremely byproduct of the skillful seeding of an early market. Buzzpowerful because it’s organic, authentic and sustainable. is a powerful medium that allows the market to discover, There’s a common misconception that early markets engage with and ultimately help shape brand meaning. Itmust be part of a cool subculture. This is, after all, how occurs when brand owners let the market participate asmany guerrilla marketers make their living — by being co-creators voluntarily and enthusiastically, hence persua-gatekeepers to the young, the tragically hip and the sively. Going way beyond word-of-mouth, buzz is thebeautiful. But it’s not that easy. For an idea to take off, sum of all interpersonal interaction related to a must choose an early market that has the skills, Buzz commands our attention because it’s fresh and ittime and tools to appreciate your brand. When evaluat- stands out. Since it works on a subconscious level, we learning whether a subculture is the suitable early market for from buzz without even being conscious of what we’reyour brand, consider the following: doing. And personal recommendations are three times more ● Is the audience you’ve selected a credible innovator credible than messages from traditional media. When theof this brand initiative? Does the main market look to messenger is a friend, not a manufacturer or marketer, thethat audience for innovations? message is received with more respect. The end result is ● Will the seed idea resonate with your subculture? that the market perceives your brand as authentic. ■ ● Are those in the subculture willing to participate;are they able to sway the main market; and are theysocially connected, knowledgeable and articulate? Phase III: Mass Marketing Once an initiative has hit Next Big Thing status, the ● Can the brand gain critical mass — either in the main market is ready to adopt it. Hijack marketing isuser base or cultural influence — for the initiative to not just about stealth. It does not favor person-to-personsucceed within the target audience? ■ interaction over mass media. Instead, it views media sequentially — recognizing the need to use differentThe Art of Seeding tactics throughout the phased go-to-market approach. The idea behind seeding is to find an emotional hook During the seeding phase, a hijack relies on interper-that will pull the early market deep into the brand expe- sonal media to seduce the early market and make therience. The idea should make consumers feel ownership brand digestible for the mass market. But as soon as thefor the brand and encourage them to become shepherds early market’s buzz has reached the mainstream, it isfor the initiative. Seeding is not about mass coercion. crucial to switch back to conventional, above-the-radarIt’s about giving the early market ownership through marketing methods in order to build momentum andsubconscious techniques. The art of seeding is the art of broaden awareness. In other words, it is time for theplaying into the nuances of human nature. brand owner to take back control. The following are four of the major seeding techniques: The mass market is conservative. Rather than being ● Declare a new worldview. Give your initiative revolutionary, it is evolutionary at best and pessimistic atgreater meaning and authenticity by fostering a belief sys- worst. It is skeptical that the Next Big Thing really is thetem, perhaps even visible leadership. IKEA is not just a new standard. While the early market is excited to be thefurniture retailer; it is an ambassador of Swedish values first to use a brand, the main market is content to follow— equality, simplicity and community. the tastemakers. Those in the main market tap into aspi- ● Play hard to get. Make only the early market “in- ration. They are largely influenced by what others think of them, and so they readily adopt status symbols.the-know” with an unusually scarce, deliberate andseductive soft sell. Persuade, don’t sell at this phase. If buzz is the driver of the early market, then momen- ● Create brand folklore. Develop specific customs, tum is the driver of the mass market. When momentum is maintained, it sends a signal to the mainstream thatrituals, vocabulary, relationships and experiences to the initiative is legitimate and a passionate community. Starbucks not only creat-ed a new coffee ritual; it introduced an entirely different Staying True to the Early Marketvocabulary to communicate with its regular customers. Successful brands manage to take back control of the ● Reward insiders. The social currency of the early message while still giving their early adopters specialmarket is being part of the Next Big Thing. Keep it exclu- treatment by building in exclusivity. Opinion leaders aresive. Don’t make it too easy for people to “get in.” ■ — and remain — the lifeblood of the brand. (continued on page 8) Soundview Executive Book Summaries ® 7
  8. 8. Brand Hijack — SUMMARYPhase III: Mass Marketing Holy Grail. It is an objective written into every marketing(continued from page 7) plan. Every major brand is tracked quantitatively by mea- suring frequency of use and amount of brand switching. Mass market participation introduces a new dimension tobrands. Instead of focusing on what the brand is (the func- The problem is that what most marketers think of astional benefit) or what it does (the emotional benefit), we “loyalty” is actually “retention.” Retention is about con-turn to the cultural benefit or what the brand means. This sumer behavior; loyalty is an attitude. True loyalty isspiritual component provides the foundation for the most about something bigger than retention or even the finan-enduring relationships. Conventional brands’ benefits are cially driven “lifetime customer value” concept. It ispersonal, determined by the brand owner after unearthing about authenticity. It is about passion. It leads to ambas-the right product truths (functional) and consumer truths sadorship and activism on behalf of the brand. And ulti-(emotional). A cultural benefit, on the other hand, is public mately, it leads to off-the-charts brand value It’s co-created with the market and based on a Retention tactics are Machiavellian. They temporarilysocial truth. Red Bull, for instance, became “the legal rush.” keep consumers buying the brand, but they do so withouteBay unexpectedly developed into both a trusted communi- developing an up close and personal bond. As soon as aty and socially accepted gambling. better deal appears, consumers will be gone. Building gen- uine loyalty is not about gimmicks. Retention, or “pseudoLowering Resistance loyalty,” is driven by one of the following factors: There are several major tactics brand owners can use to ● Boring old habit. Consumers often choose brandsreduce the barriers to new habit formation. These include: for no reasons other than convenience, laziness or habit. ● Make the new habit appear less disruptive by link- This is something that market leaders strive for, particu-ing it to an existing one. That way, consumers will see it as larly in mature markets. But it is an indefensible posi-a habit replacement rather than a totally new behavior. For tion once a challenger enters the market.instance, eBay provided the necessary link in consumers’ ● Bogus bait. Mileage programs are proven to lock inminds between the virtual flea market and the real world. consumers. But there’s no evidence that they inspire true ● Reduce barriers by easing people into the experi- loyalty to a brand. People are not necessarily loyal toence. Then let the marketplace practice the new habit United or American Airlines; they are loyal to the freefrequently. Again, eBay caught on so quickly because flights, earned perks and increased status. Most frequentbuyers do not have to pay to use the service. flyers are promiscuous — ready to hop into bed with ● Reduce social resistance to the formation of the whichever company offers the best habit. Foster a community to encourage deeper In contrast, flyers demonstrate real loyalty to visionariesengagement with the brand. eBay encourages users to in the airline industry such as Virgin Atlantic, Southwestsolve their own problems with a self-policing policy. and JetBlue. These airlines don’t bribe consumers, but ● Positive reinforcement is a key driver in any rather thrive on delivering a more pleasurable — and lessbehavior modification program. It’s a great way to get expensive — travel experience. They do constant analysispeople to try out new things. Even better, to ensure that of every aspect of their services to ensure that their flyersthey turn a single trial into consistent behavior, delight thoroughly enjoy their flights.your consumers by exceeding their expectations. The eBay ● High exit barriers. Lock-ins are only secure until aexperience has many built-in rewards such as being able to competitor can figure out a way to reduce the exit barrierseasily track down hard-to-find items within seconds. ■ or offer value higher than the perceived cost of switching. The Path to True LoyaltyThe Ultimate Payoff It all starts with you telling a story, but tailoring that A brand hijack attempt doesn’t give the marketer per- story to exactly the audience you have in mind, andmission to cross ethical lines. While marketing itself is introducing the story to audience members at a time andnot evil, some people in the trade have developed bad place where they will be able to remember your story.habits over time. And the current emphasis on nontradi- It’s about telling audience members exactly what theytional media and seduction techniques may tempt mar- want to hear, but don’t know it until they hear it, withoutketers more than ever to cross that fine line. giving away any specifics to allow room for interpretation. Marketing needs to stay bold, brave and surprising. It It’s about making those who hear the story becomeneeds to stay effective not by employing deceptive and your storytellers and allowing them to make up and addunderhanded tactics, but by genuinely earning consumer parts to the story as long as they get the title right anddevotion. the critical elements within the same ballpark. Marketers love to talk about “loyalty.” Loyalty is their It’s a hard job with the ultimate payoff: lasting con- sumer devotion to your brand. ■8 Soundview Executive Book Summaries ®