Why CEOs shouldn’t trust any brand or marketing expert EVER


We, the experts, are not at all interested in your success. We are interested only in our OWN success. We want power, we want fame, we want fat clients and even fatter client lists. It’s our job to persuade you that you are doing things wrong, this is how we create our market. We feed off your fear and off your blind ambition. You created us and now we are your addiction.


So I have been in the brand creating/consulting and marketing business for some time now. Not a long time, but some time now and yesterday I read the most mind-boggling article involving Microsoft, Apple and Samsung. The article is based on a report from Forrester Research stating that Microsoft now has bigger consumer mind share than Apple and Samsung. Looks like what was previously perceived as Microsoft’s Achilles heel is now the main vehicle behind the largest mind share in the tech industry.

Excuse me, but WHAT NOW!?

After years and years listening to marketing and brand experts saying that Microsoft is too heavy, stale and uncool, suddenly it’s at the top of the list! I must tell you, there is a Quasimodo inside of me and he is ringing those bells sounding an urgent alarm. Not that Microsoft should or should not be at the top or at the bottom of any list. Microsoft hasn’t moved a single finger, or rather moved a finger when experts said it should have moved all its body. They basically advised a sex change and yet here we are today with a research saying that Microsoft has the most mind share in the tech industry.

Somebody MUST be wrong here. It might be the experts that did this research or it might be the experts that advised that sex change. Unmistakably, whichever way you turn, the ones who are wrong here are US, the ones who like to call themselves EXPERTS. It is US, the same guys companies go to to get help from. Now, whilst Microsoft has to thank all its “uncool” customers, the ones like your mother who keeps installing IE toolbars on her every other click, I think it’s time for us to reassess our roles. And not just our roles, but our whole existence as such. I seriously start to question the credibility of any marketing and branding expert here in this text, and out there in the world. Turns out you can just chill there for ages, have one of the worst CEOs as your captain (or so he is perceived, don’t trust experts!), being constantly attacked by press and have US tell you that you are grinding against that iceberg sinking, when actually you are good as you are, docked somewhere on an exotic island, having a nice deck waxing. Life can be good indeed.

Now, to really and truly reassess my role and whole existence in this market driven market which seeks other markets to sell untapped markets to markets, I take a deep breath and a need for reality has arisen, clarity if you will. It is time to have a good look at ourselves and recognize our true colors. (hope you don’t sue Cyndi) It’s time to see ourselves as the kind of people we really are. Sitting still, investigating my professional role to play in this market, out from the depths of consciousness I had a realization that we very much resemble other professionals (and things) in everyday life. Allow me to illuminate:

1. THE COOK

We, the self-announced experts are perceived as superb cooks when in fact we can only truly cook one meal well, and that meal is our personal brand. That is the only thing we are actually truly good at, and this is the only product that actually has any value for the market. The rest of what we, the experts do, is handing out recipes. Recipes from other cook books, recipes learnt from other cooks, or what the more successful of us do – create custom-made creative cuisine. The kind for which you pay $500 for a single course only to go to the next fast food joint to satisfy your hunger. Oh là là, for $80 000 zis research of 2 000 pages must saste very good, no? Magnifique!


2. THE PSYCHIATRIST

You can also observe brand and marketing experts as psychiatrists. We are always there to help ease your agoraphobic paranoia of being out there in the open market. (agora – market, get it?) When you feel freaked out, in the middle of the noisy crowd of competitors and when you start loosing some of the marbles you were selling, you call us and we prescribe you a medicine in a form of analysis or a strategy. We explain the good and the side effects of the given remedy. There is an opportunity here, there is a risk there…  and we whisper to your ear:  “I’m beside you. You’re not alone. We’ll go trough this together. Shhhh…” *pets CEOs head


3. THE MIND-CONTROLLING PARASITE

It is also our job to make you feel unwell. In fact, someday we might waltz in your office with our independently ran research and tell you: “Look, we looked at your competitors and things aren’t looking good. You are missing out on opportunities and you might be in trouble. I’m sorry to say this, but you are just… not the best.” This is our job. First we use our fancy research to make you feel weak and then slowly we infiltrate your systems trough your weakened ego. Every step taken from our 100 step strategy is a step closer to full control over your company. Soon you won’t be able to manage it by yourself. We will be with you forever! You are our puppet! Boy does it feel goood! Mmmmwahaha!


4. THE BOUNCER

So, not only do we have mind control abilities, but with the help of our magical methodologies we also create lists of best companies, best brands and best CEOs of the year, decade and even the century. This means that if I don’t see you on my list, I won’t let you brag about it to your friends. Like, if you are not on this list, you don’t even exist, OK!? Oh, what’s that? You want to get in? Then you better hire some good consultants bro. Somebody like us. We got statistics, OK? We know our research. Our stuff is proven and it is scientific you dig? We know our shit. Who better to help you to get in this list then US bro?

And at last, but not at all the least…


5. THE DAIRY FARMER

The dairy farmer is the person who knows all of this, and yet milks you to the last drop. The diary farmer knows it is all about tapping into that fear, uncertainty, weakness and egoic megalomania. He knows which are the things that make your mammary glands going . This makes your udder swell until it starts to hurt. Once he sees you’re in a lot of pain, he quietly approaches you and you can’t wait for his magic relieving touch. First just a small squeeze, and then another, and another until you reach full ecstasy. Oooohh yeeeaah *inserts a smooth soul track

Today the diary farmer has gotten so sophisticated that he doesn’t even bother to milk you himself. He can now milk you with only a few best-selling words printed on a book, or if you really want the taste of the magic experience, you get to go to his travelling roadshow diary farm. There is even this guy who wrote a book “The purple cow”. I haven’t read it, it’s still on my shelf, but man I believe him without even touching the stuff! He’s a genius! He must be! And listen… he not only milks out CEOs, but he also manages to milk out his fellow colleagues. We, the experts, admire these kind of people. They are our idols. Ney! They are our gurus!

———–

Do you see it now? Do you get it? We are not at all interested in your success. We are interested only in our OWN success. We want power, we want fame, we want fat clients and even fatter client lists. It’s our job to persuade you that you are doing things wrong, this is how we create our market. We feed off your fear and off your blind ambition. You created us and now we are your addiction. 

But… (dramatic pause) have you ever met those people that made a miraculous recovery after their substance abuse? When their addiction actually shined a guiding light towards a more wholesome human being? I wonder what will happen if consultants started saying: “You are a capable entrepreneur and leader. You’ve gotten thus far, you have nothing to worry about. Whatever problems you think you have now are actually not that grave. If you let things settle, they might even go away by themselves. If there is a real need to act, trust your gut. If you fail, you will get up again. But, if you don’t get up, remember that all companies have a lifespan.  If the company happens to die, I assure you, you won’t die with it. Accept this and don’t worry about it. Let it go and enjoy this groovy ride of a company you created for yourself.”

I wonder…

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