Is Your Brand a Selfish, Manipulative Dictator?
Charismatic brands are introduced and perpetuated via word of mouth and the relationship between the brand and its audience is reinforced by frequency and reach via traditional media channels.
Defining marketing as a method by which brands have relationships with their audiences and media as the channel through which that relationship is initiated, cultivated, and maintained, and word-of-mouth as an uncontrollable medium, how then can a brand effectively exploit its charisma in order to control its relationship with its fans, who are mostly introduced to the brand’s charisma via word-of-mouth?
It is charisma that hooks the fan into the relationship. Thus, the charismatic brand must also direct the means by which its fans introduce others to their favorite brands, be it via a fan’s own form of a mass medium or a one-to-one dialogue with the people in their social networks. (Hence the “share with friends” feature on nearly every piece of content online today.)
Could one argue that without an intermediary relationship a consumer could still be prompted to interact with a charismatic brand? No, unless the consumer stumbled across the brand accidentally.
The amount of time a fan commits to this relationship means that fan has to let alone any other activity that demands their attention. Thus, not only is a charismatic brand selfish, it commands tribute of that most precious resource — our time. And it does it all intentionally, with purpose, so a fan forgets anything else they were previously engaged with and finds it hard imagining doing anything else. In fact, it takes a major life occurrence — i.e. finding a new love, a tragedy, or significant upheaval — to prevent that fan from committing time to their relationship with that charismatic brand.
In Preparation for When the Media Establishment’s Entire Business Model Will Change
What does this mean to the media establishment if any charismatic Tom, Dick, and Samberg can record themselves talking trash (or throwing it), put it online on their own personal blog, get it linked to a thousand other blogs, which get picked up by search engines, and they start selling some space at $100k-a-pop because their audience for that nugget of content reaches 4 million people in a week, all done entirely bypassing the establishment altogether?
And what would happen if Samberg and his buddies knew how to duplicate this effort consistently and perhaps coincidentally, all had Ivy League business degrees? Understanding charisma and how to be a charismatic brand can theoretically remove the impact of subjectivity from the creative product evaluation, assuring any marketer can assemble an audience immediately on demand, without the investments typical of compiling and promoting content.
In other words, charisma can change the entire business model of the media establishment, from the way content gets made to the way it gets distributed to the way we can make money from it. And it’s happening now. Are you prepared?