Commentary

Let It Go

  • by October 14, 2007
Laura Desmond, CEO of The Americas, a Starcom MediaVest Group, spoke about letting go. In addressing the methods marketers can use to reach the ad averse and those who will listen to ads if you make them relevant, she said marketers must give up control. "Let consumers incorporate your brand in their behavior."

There's a fine line between letting go and running amok, she said. But what she calls "easy advocacy," which provides a way for consumers to feedback and gives them sharing mechanisms, has benefited such brands as Jones Soda and Red Bull, for example.

I always find the fear of letting go or giving up control fascinating on a couple of levels. First, as a journalist, it never ceased to amaze me that public officials would try to hide information from the public. I'm talking about town health officials that would approve septic systems for favored developers but we all know the extent to which this kind of behavior can harm not only the officials themselves but, more importantly, society.

Next, one of my previous employers spent a great deal of time trying to manage information that would be available to the public. Of course, a local newspaper columnist was ever trying to dig into whatever it was we were trying to cover up. In all cases, there was no foul play involved. Nobody died. Yet, the few times when the college would provide interested journalists with enough information always led to better understanding of a situation that was more complex than the reporter knew. And, inevitably, the story, if reported, was far less intriguing to the general public.

Personally, as a mother of two teenage girls, I've found that the less I try to control their behavior, the more they control their own. This is pretty much a 180 from my own puberty, which was less than stellar.

Now, I watch brand marketers who try to guard marketing information so as to "keep it from competitors" get less publicity than those who love to share. Sharing information makes journalists and a public more interested and less inclined to wonder what is being left out. On Monday, Marketing Daily is running a great story on a new Ford Lincoln campaign. It is filled with details that make it a rich, engaging story that I'm sure other marketers will want to read.

There is also a brand story that you won't see in Marketing Daily on Monday because either the company sent out a release with a contact who "doesn't work on Friday -- really!) or because the company would not talk about its marketing plans for fear that a competitor would steal them.

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