Brand Heritage and Marketing the Unmarketable
The Kind of Films the Internet Likes

Recombinant Branding

To paraphrase one of the comments on the tube: this is recombinant awesomeness in its purest form

Ben asked Mike, Bud and I what the implications of recombinant culture are for branding.

Mike's been having a think about it, and Ben has added his thoughts in the comments.

I touch on it in my thesis, and build on it in my piece for the first Age of Conversation and across lots of posts here.

In AOC one I point out while people are primed to pass on ideas, they are primed more heavily to pass on their own ideas:

[There are compelling anthropological reasons for this - to create more minds like your own, because there is strength in numbers.]

[I think I'm allowed to publish a chunk of this now the second one has come out]

Today, brands can’t stick to a single song sheet. People have wrestled back control of brands because each of us has a voice now and we can make ourselves heard – online everyone is equal. If we choose to all sing a different song, the brand’s solo will be drowned out.

Propagation planning is a model for communications that takes this into account. People are our partners in communication. Not a target audience and not just nodes for further transmission, but partners in the production, modulation, development and distribution of brand ideas.

In order to give people ownership of brand ideas, and therefore give them a reason to propagate them, we need to provide tools and assets, give them permission to remix and re-imagine the ideas we create and realise that the more people play with our ideas, the further they spread, the more meaning they accrue, the stronger our brands become.

So...let's do a list like Ben does:

  1. People like to share ideas - or spread stuff - for their own reasons, social and phatic

  2. We would like people to spread our ideas

  3. If we let people mess with our ideas, they become partially their idea, and they are therefore more invested in their propagation

  4. This means lots of additional 'impressions' as different forms of the idea / content spread through different networks

  5. Remixing is a cultural trope and digital behavior that is increasingly prevalent, as media production technologies facilitate easier and easier mashups [and really complex ones like the Thundercats thing above] - kids naturally understand that deploying pre-used symbols is an easier way to make their own things, remix is the nature of the digital and so on

  6. Certain kinds of films are more likely to be remixed than others. Mostly when we make ads we don't make the kind of films that Internet wants to play with. [It's not just films that can be remixed though]

  7. Remixing can be encouraged, prompted, suggested but not controlled

  8. But we don't need to control the conversation for it to be of value [A la Jenkins] 

  9. Brands are aspects of culture and adoption by remix culture is an indication of cultural resonance

  10. Reappropriation, parody, response is all good too

Content and the manipulation and distortion and remixing thereof is a medium - conversations made from content.