These days people call it viral marketing, contaigon theory – whatever.
In the past it was called mythology, wisdom, old wives tales, etc.
As I mentioned, I am in New Orleans. I promised my daughter I would get her a photo of The House of the Rising Sun (her casio keyboard has a demo of The Animals song in the songbank). However…
Nobody in New Orleans has ever heard of the song
Nobody seems to know if the House ever existed
Nobody knows whether it was a jailhouse, a bar, a slave station, a brothel – or something else?
Most historians seem to think it is an English folk song taken to the USA in the 18th Century and eventually grafted to the New Orleans setting.
When I think about the brands I wonder how much fact there is in the history. I also wonder whether it matters.
My highlight of the AMA – a showcase of some of the best marketing in the USA – was a case study by Niels Schillewaert on the Consumer Consulting Board. It showcases the power consumers have in guiding business – classic C2B marketing that places a value on the consumer – an example of the consumer shaping the direction of a business and being rewarded for their proactivity.
A single powerful insight can transform a brand, spread an idea, shape the future – the rise in digital means this can happen every day more quickly. It also makes it harder for the idea or insight to spread.
Which circles back to the beginning … the good wives tales that have a root in a brand or product truth will last the test of time – even if we can’t trace the root.
Coca Cola is the same … 2 billion mouths a day, nobody knows where the name came from, a secret, perfect recipe – but the brand mythology is a critical part of the identity.
Muddled thinking, fuzzy logic – it demonstrates that marketing is still an art. Even in this age of data science the artistry is essential – just as it was in the days of Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino and The Animals.