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Give before you get. Side Projects as Calling Cards are not just important. They are essential.

I’m no good at selling. I don’t like it. I don’t want to persuade people to buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have. I’m OK helping people understand why ‘this’ is better than ‘that’, though. But only if I am being interesting, different, entertaining, funny,  generous and genuine (the offer must be wonderful). I can’t be arsed schmoozing with ordinary thinkers, selling ordinary things.

This brings me to something that, I realised, I’ve recommended to every single client of mine – for years. It’s ‘have a side project as a calling card’.

A digital book.

A library of essays.

A blog (that you actually bloody write!)

‘How to’ factsheets.

Etc.

Playing the numbers game, DMing strangers and treating them as prospects before anything else is boring, lazy and bad manners. We should be better far, far better than that.

Give before you get. Side Projects as Calling Cards are not just important. They are essential.

Someone I now know quite well, wrote something inside my trousers about 20 years before I met him. I sometimes recall what he wrote, and the brand he and his wife created, when sat on the toilet.

The reason I mention this, is to illustrate something important about my business and yours… If you want your business to be remembered, do something memorable.*

Howies was created in 1995 by Clare and David Hieatt. I bought their jeans. And written inside the back of the waistline, upside down (I think) was, “When did you last change your underpants?”

In a world of so much choice, please remember it’s better to be different than it is to be better. If you want to stand out, that is. So if you want your business to be remembered, do something memorable. Like writing inside their trousers. When nobody else is.

*This neat sentence is easy to read. But very hard to do consistently and well. Read it again and ask yourself if you could do loads more to make your business more memorable.**

**The answer is ‘yes’.

“Bloody typical!”

It’s one of the biggest compliments you can get.

As a marketer, I mean.

It’s a compliment because almost all marketing you see could be from any brand in the entire category. Anyone could say it. Nobody owns the message. So it’s not typical of, well, anybody or anything.

Great brands do only what they can do. And great brands say what only what can say.

“Bloody typical!”

As a marketer, it’s one of the biggest compliments you can get.

UPDATED: Oops. The link at the bottom was missing. It’s there now. Thank you for letting me know.

I see no reason why the way we communicate in business should not at least attempt to be as intense and emotional as the way the best music or art communicates.

Marketing, I think, should be artistry.

Most marketers are utterly boring. As is most marketing. As are most businesses. That’s why we miss the work, and the message.

Please find 20 minutes to sit and watch the video below. Clutching your favourite coffee.

Please try. There’s a lot to unpack. And it’s just one person listening to one song. But see the effect.

It’s is things like this that should remind us how desperately short we are falling as marketers, creatively, whenever the work ‘create’ is so damn samey, formulaic, tick-box, thrown together and dull.

It is not just thought and effort that is missing from almost all of the marketing communications I see.

It’s artistry, too.

Link: https://youtu.be/J_yZJTmGZxM?si=9oqgjAbrL1A61iXe.

I was asked this question this week:

How can you build brand equity in the fashion industry?

Here’s what I said.

I think that, first, we need to remember this. The world does not need another clothing brand. Not one.

So first, forget clothing completely. Identify the change you want to make as a business person. Something good. Then create something wonderful that is an unambiguous expression of that change. And if that happens to be clothing – so be it. It’s as simple as that at base level.

I built and ran a fashion brand for 7 years. Always Wear Red. (As an Associate Brand Director, it’s good to test yourself by building your own brands).

It’s hard though. Conceptualising a unique and expressive brand, then making and selling it. But I’m glad I did. And the messaging around why I did what I did was solid.

But as I say, if you want to tread the same path, you really do need to remember this. The world does not need another clothing brand. Not one.

So first, forget clothing completely. Identify the change you want to make as a business person. Something good. Then create something wonderful that is an unambiguous expression of that change. And if that happens to be clothing – so be it.