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November 05, 2008


In a mass communications world, you may be right.

In a micro communications world, I think you're wrong.

Brands are not people. That's why they have to work so hard at their communication -- because without it being really good (connective, emotive, sticky, exciting, shocking, etc.), we don't care.

But people can be bad in communication and, because of our connection to them, it doesn't matter.

My mom is a terrible storyteller. But I listen because she's my mom. My friends take mediocre photos but I watch their slideshows because I know them. The connections between us trump the quality of the communication.

In contrast, if Nike is a terrible storyteller, I'm gone. No matter how many pairs of their Supernovas I've bought.

That's perhaps what he's getting at when he says that everything should be crowdsourced -- that everything should be geared to be transmissable from person to person, at a human scale.

True, I agree, however the catch is your mom's story isn't scalable, to 10 people let alone 10 million, because it is based purely on your individual relationship and personal bond. Same with your friends terrible photos. I'm sure they are great people, but please don't share the photos with me ;-). And you are right, brands are not people, but people can be brands. And brands are a creation of the people behind them. Great brands tend to have great people behind them, it is generally a manifestation of themselves. In many cases the brand and the person is indistinguishable - take Apple and Steve Jobs, or Avril Lavigne the person versuse Avril Lavigne the performer.

I have to challenge you on the mass versus micro world notion. This is a difference that only exists in the heads of marketers. A micro story/relationship if it strikes a chord can become mass, as in becomes massively popular, very easily. Conversely, a mass story, such as Obama's brand of hope, works easily at a micro level. But absolutely it has to be good. Nobody gives a rats behind about crap at a macro or micro level. Though we may politely sit through it...

One thing I didn't mention in the post is that crowd sourced material lives side by side with artist created material. The artist still leads the way but the crowd source material lives side by side at the same level. For instance two of the top three t-shirt sales at an Avril concert will usually be crowd sourced for each venue with the third being designed by the artist with professional designers for the tour. I thought that was really cool and a neat example of mass/micro coexisting side by side rather than either or.

the word is "jibe", not "jive". I got a bit lost in your discussion concerning Terry McBride, etc., but the thing that makes a record happen is more specific to the record industry than other sorts of marketing, so I'm not sure your philosophy is applicable.

In any event, how frequent is this interesting vancouver event occurring, and how are the individuals participating in that event chosen? Thank you for any info.

how "frequently"; sorry. Should re-read my comments before pressing "post". :)

Bonnie, Interesting Vancouver is an annual event taking place each fall. Terry wasn't part of Interesting Vancouver, he came by my agency for a chat.

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