Legendary Brands – The Age of Barbarian Marketing

by Thomas MORADPOUR on July 21, 2011 · 3 comments

#whenbloodisspilled

A trending topic this week – as Lionsgate tweeted the bloody first scene from the Conan reboot movie ahead of Comic Con -, #whenbloodisspilled is when legends are made.

One thing can be said about Conan The Barbarian: he has clear points of view. Crush your enemies, have them brought before you, listen to the lamentations of the women.

“THIS IS THE DEAL, PEOPLE”.

That’s how it’s gonna be. Conan is his own compass, he does not let others shape his thoughts, values or actions. You can be with him… or hope to get out of his way.

It does not have to be that radical, but clear-cut points of view make sure everyone knows who you are and what you stand for – as a person or as a brand.

Showing what you believe, where you draw the line, can have a polarizing effect. But being such a barbarian should not be avoided, assuming you do it in an assertive rather than aggressive way. Why? Because it is what others need to see to decide if they will gravitate towards you, or run away from you.

DON’T AIM FOR UNIVERSAL LOVE.

Not everyone will love you, ever. But stick to your guns, and even those who don’t like you will respect you (and those who love you, will love you more).

Steve Jobs won’t let porn touch iDevices, does not want to hear about Flash, and is famous for his blunt email rebuttals of unfounded criticism. This is how he protects the integrity of his platform, and after all, it’s his call.

In the News Of The World scandal, controversial Larry Flint credibly took the moral high ground over Rupert Murdoch because, as distasteful and offensive as it is, Hussler magazine never featured anyone unwillingly in its pages. In his own unique way, he embodies a vision of what freedom of the press means (albeit far from traditional). OK.

And examples abound of what Adam Morgan calls ‘Lighthouse Brands’ (of Eating The Big Fish fame). Icon brands such as Axe, Harley Davidson, Dove, Mini, Virgin… They all have their own view of the world, and project something you can either strongly agree or disagree with. They are on the side of young men who want to land more girls, of women’s real beauty, of men who want to ride free…

All these names may be loved or hated, but they leave no space for indifference.
THAT is the value of being a barbarian, and what makes legendary brands.

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  • http://twitter.com/markdavidson Mark Davidson

    I love the concept of this but in practicality, I’m not sure it’s necessarily the best approach. For better or worse however, this is the approach I’ve always taken. The one thing I can take away from your article is the analogy of branding like Conan the Barbarian. I sorta see myself in a Frazetta painting and quite frankly, I’ve been waiting for someone to provide me with the confirmation bias I’ve been looking for!

  • Anonymous

    Well said! Are you strong, brave, committed and focused? Or are you vanilla-safe?

    One analogy I’ve often used is “watch your sudden hand movements around them, they’re timid”. This gives a new meaning to that. 

    Personally, I like to wield a machete around. 

    Rupert & Larry…I love it!

  • Pingback: Apathy – a brand’s silent, but deadly enemy « The general musings of Andre Santos

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