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Let’s say you have a really great brand, a super-loyal fan base and a desire to make yourself look really dumb. Here are three quick and easy steps to tarnish your brand and boost your sales:
1. Lament over how victims of history never had the chance to meet you. Take a page from Justin Bieber, who recently visited the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam and wrote in the guest book, “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”
Not only did he get his name in countless blogs and news outlets, he also had a rabbi and Anne Frank expert, get his back, saying “She was very modern and she could very likely be his fan and on Twitter.” Now, one could argue that Anne Frank would’ve been more into that nice masculine Jewish boy Adam Levine, but score one for the Bieb for successfully exploiting an international symbol of persecution for his own ends.
2. Try to keep your brand top of mind during a natural disaster. Take for example the Gap, who tweeted in the lead up to Hurricane Sandy, one of the worst natural disasters in recent memory to hit the Northeast, “All impacted by #Sandy, stay safe! We’ll be doing lots of shopping today. How about you?” Gap apparently apologized for the tweet later, but should have only if they weren’t having a hurricane relief khaki sale.
This is a perfect example of the maxim “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
3. Inject your personal politics into your brand. The nation is as politically polarized as it has ever been, so why not take advantage? If you’re currently attracting only 30% of the buying public, alienating 1/2 of the population in order to garner loyalty from the other half makes a lot of sense. Witness Papa John’s assertion that, because of Obamacare, he was going to have to raise the price of his pizzas by $0.14 and cut his employee’s hours to avoid as many full time employees as possible. Add to this that Papa John Schnatter lives in a starter castle and gives away millions of free pizzas every year, and he instantly became reviled by half of the country and a hero to the other half. And he wisely chose to align his company with the half with the money.
Now, purchasing slightly sweet pizza is a political statement. That’ll show ’em!
The take-away from all this is that you don’t have to be “ethical” or “sensitive” or even “nice” to be successful. Of course, those things help while building your brand, they are not necessary once you are established. Really all you need is a burning desire to succeed and an indifference to your public persona.
If, however, you would like to build and maintain your brand positively, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.

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Photo of Current360 Associate Creative Director Robert Womack

Rob Womack

If there’s anyone who can honestly say, “Been there, done that,” it’s Rob. After traveling the world for seven years in his 20’s, Rob went to LA and started working in film production. Then it was off to New York, where he learned how to program, which eventually brought him back home to Louisville to build websites. At Current360, Rob heads up our in-house production studio, creating all things digital for our clients — videos, commercials, radio spots, and a lot more. 

When he’s at home, Rob likes to create things like homemade kombucha and music.