This week, a comrade joined the ranks of the sovereign nation of Stanleystan… Or, Shrimpy hired a marketer. Finally. What’s great is that I now have something to bounce ideas off of other than the echoes of my own baby-voice. He comes to us with years of agency experience in content, advertising, branding, and beyond.
We were on call discussing an advertising opportunity. Being a new Shrimper, he asked some general questions regarding our marketability. He wanted to know whether a reputable institution had ever featured Shrimpy. I invoked the full power of two brain cells to conclude that in fact, never has a reputable cryptocurrency publication featured our brand; and I would’ve needed even fewer brain cells to drum up a publication that managed to merge cryptocurrency and reputability.
David pressed on. “What about any site or column where we paid to have our name placed?” Somewhere, a dark lightbulb switched on. I knew exactly where David was going; he wanted us to write something along the lines of, “Featured on CoolDadCrypto.” With that verbiage among our marketing collateral, potential customers might come to trust us sooner, even if that signal was bought and paid for. In other words, Le Bullshit du Marketing.
I laughed. He laughed. It’s the decisions that flow from moments like these that chart the course of a company’s life. Down one path, we peddle in bullshit, down the other, truth. I came off my laugh when I realized this was one such moment. I told David I wasn’t comfortable in using a paid affiliation as evidence of our renown, but that our CEO could override me in this decision.
David too expressed some hesitation, but then attempted to comfort me by giving this tactic a cute name, one that mitigates its harm far more so than my preferred term of marketing bullshit; he called it, “marketing cheese.” As in, the cheese that lures the mouse.
He continued, “you know, it’s weird but it’s the stuff that works and gets people to check you out.” It does work, doesn’t it? It works like jaywalking works to help you cross the street. It works like evading taxes works to reduce your tax burden. And it works like getting addicted to meth, losing your family and friends in the process, and entering a life of street prostitution to subsidize your drug problem works to get you out of the house more.
Boy have I said this before and I’ll say it ad nauseum: just because something works, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. I told David what I’ve told all you brilliant people many times before: if we want customers to admire our brand, we should have a brand worth admiring.
I don’t believe in faking it, I believe in the truth. And if the truth of your brand is too hideous to bear, take time to improve the truth rather than spending that same time finding the cutest lipstick to slap on your pig.