What a 448-year-old Man Can Teach Us About Marketing

Andy Badalamenti, Creative Director, CI-Group

 What a 448-year-old Man Can Teach Us About Marketing

If it were somehow possible to turn the English language into a brand, that brand would be William Shakespeare.

If it were somehow possible to turn the English language into a brand, that brand would be William Shakespeare. Most of us don’t even realize it, but we quote the bard nearly every day, with such phrases as…

“It’s Greek to me.”

Or if something “vanished into thin air.”

Or if you ever found yourself “in a pickle.” Exhausted because you haven’t “slept a wink.” Or if some wacky situation has no “rhyme or reason.”

Yes, they’re all William. Like history’s most powerful brands, he has made his way into our thoughts, emotions and daily lives—without many of us even being conscious of it. He’s credited with introducing over 3,000 words into our language, including such favorites as bump and puke.

Among his word inventions—you’ll love these—advertising (it first appears in his play, Measure for Measure, Act V, Scene I) and marketable (As You Like It, Act I, Scene II).

Shakespeare was a master of plot, language and characters. But most of all, he was a master of communication. His themes and understanding of human nature are still as relevant today as they were in his time. And they always will be.

Which brings us to today’s blog.

Using a few quotes from Mr. Shakespeare’s most famous works, we’ll see firsthand how his wise words are great guideposts for communication and brand building, even in an age of blogs, video and general media bombardment.

“It’s not enough to speak, but to speak true.”

Nothing hurts a brand more than a message that does not ring true. Think about it. If your latest marketing campaign is all about “Caring for our customers,” but your customer surveys are a series of single-digit catastrophes, your brand’s failing will be the subject of many a nasty Facebook, Twitter or water cooler conversation.

For your brand to blossom, it must be truthful, and your customers need to see hard evidence of it every time they deal with you. Or, as William might advise, “Defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life forever.”

“‘Tis best to weigh the enemy more mighty than he seems.”

It doesn’t seem to matter what industry you’re in, competition is getting increasingly cutthroat. What Will is telling us is to never underestimate your rivals. You may know that your competitor is introducing a new product. But, how are they presenting it? What’s their messaging like? What vehicles are they using to get the word out? You can never know your competition well enough. Start today. Create a file of your competitors’ marketing efforts, mark it “mine enemies,” and keep serious tabs. Your future strategies will thank you for it.

 

“Have patience, and endure.”

Branding is a messy business and takes a lot of time to boot. No great brand is built overnight. Along the path, there will be campaigns where response is nil and victories nothing short of glorious. Throughout it all, keep the essence of your brand in mind and find creative ways to express it. Think strategically. Be “long minded.” Because, as William says, “Though this be madness… there is method in it.”

“Do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe?”

What better way to say, have respect for your audience. In all your communications, be sincere and responsive… especially to current and prospective customers. Answer their questions. Put them at ease. They’ll appreciate the respect you have for their time and them.

448 years old. And still fresh as ever.

William Shakespeare wrote 38 plays, 154 sonnets and five other poems, wielding an astonishing vocabulary of nearly 21,000 words. He retired young, accomplished and wealthy. A couple of years later, he was celebrating his 52nd birthday with playwright buddies Ben Jonson and Michael Drayton. The evening reeled with hard drinking and merriment. Within days, William contracted a fever and died a month later. But his impact on the world of English and communication is, and always will be, center stage.

CI-Group, a New Jersey advertising agency, provides digital marketing and advertising consulting to Fortune 2000 companies in a wide range of industries. Founded nearly 30 years ago and based in Whitehouse, N.J., CI-Group is recognized as a top advertising agency specializing in marketing strategies, event marketing, promotions, direct marketing, digital printing, warehousing and fulfillment. Companies seeking an award-winning interactive agency that merges creative strategies with effective tactics should call 908-534-6100 or visit www.ci-group.com.

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