Learn content marketing from Apple, Virgin, The Nazi Party & Kim Kardashian

Apple

Virgin

The Nazi Party

Coca-Cola

Kim Kardashian

Soul Cycle

Thousands of business books, tens of thousands of experts and multitudes of business people, historians and analysts have attempted to define the commonalities between these brands.

Plenty of management terms have been invented, philosophies and methodologies created, and pretenders to the throne have tried to duplicate what they have done.

 Once you move past the design, branding, slogans and philosophy that are seemingly intertwined with these brands, it becomes apparent that physical elements have nothing to do with building something that engages and inspires – or else everyone would do it. In other words, if you could see the reason, it could be copied.

The commonalities within this list of successful brands have nothing to do with the brand at all –  the effectiveness lies in the idea.

Not the brand concept, or the idea behind the business or organisation – but the idea that comes into others people’s minds when they think of them.

The idea they inflict on others.

Importantly, in every organisation, there is always an idea being sold, but most of the time those doing the selling aren’t aware of it, and instead revert to the antiquated notions of features and benefits, pointing out advantages over the competition and tactical positioning to demonstrate value. through understanding the core idea that was being created in other people’s minds, these entities were able to do more than sell a product, they were able to engage sometimes millions of people in a compelling narrative.

Dwight D. Eisenhower said,

 Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

These organisations never sold an idea, or promoted themselves based on features alone. They looked into the minds of their audience,defined an idea, created a story and the rest is history. Before we discuss how they did it, let’s explore some examples.

 Some of these are well-known international brands, one is a New York institution and another is a reality TV star. Let’s start with an example of using an idea with evil intent, to corrupt.

The Nazi Party – The Fixers

Importantly, this is neither an endorsement of an organisation that committed the most heinous crimes in human history, or an edification of the organisation as a whole, but there is no better example of an entity inspiring hearts and minds, than the Nazi party in the 1930s.

During the Nazi rise to power, there were dozens of other competing political parties – many with very similar policies, larger memberships, and far more significant resources. The challenge for Hitler was to bring new members and qualified leaders into the fold, through more than just the promise of a brighter future, and a hatred for racial minorities.

In the 1930’s, Germany was on its knees.  Suffering from the harsh conditions laid down by the Allies after World War I,  the population no longer had moved from a proud monarchy to a confused democracy, the economic conditions were poor, and being German was no longer something to be proud of. Most political parties of the era resorted sensibly to policy and blame in order to paint a picture of a brighter future.

In all forms of communication, there is an idea at the core. Not the one created, but the one received  – the idea that is evoked by the message.

The communists argued that resources needed to be allocated more fairly and that the working people were the backbone of Germany.

The idea at the core –  Life is not fair the way it is, and it’s the rich people’s fault. Together we can fix it.

Other ‘Volkish’  political parties, similar to the Nazis, would argue for effective and incremental change – such as the reviewed allocation of public resources and more infrastructure projects to decrease unemployment and stimulate the economy.

The idea at the core – “Change happens over time, slowly and sensibly.”

The Nazis however, managed to achieve extraordinary results, through having a more compelling idea. Hitler and his cronies used speeches, violence and political gamesmanship to demonstrate their ability to act. They spoke of unfairness and in a tactic that has become standard for extremist politicians since, oversimplified complex problems, claiming to be able to fix them without explaining how.

The idea at the core – “Hitler can fix things – right now.”

When looked at this way, other parties with sensible strategies never stood a chance, this was a battle of ideas –

Struggle for the moment, but we’ll get there    vs    I’ll fix that now.

The result was a disaster for mankind, but telling in terms of the motivators of humans –

We always lean toward the more powerful idea – and we often don’t know why

Next, Apple – Steve Jobs and Selling Different Thought

This is an excerpt from the white paper ‘The Idea Doctrine’ to be advised of it’s release and receive a free copy click here