“For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others.”
–Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power
First, I should state that the full Law 34 from Greene reads Be royal in your own fashion: Act like a king to be treated like one. (I shortened it in the title for the sake of clarity.)
I find this law extremely inspiring because it conveys a message of self-confidence and belief in one’s abilities. Thus, it applies to marketers in two basic senses: First, marketers who believe in themselves and their organizations are going to fare better than those who don’t (obvious, right?). Second, and more interestingly, the organization or brand that is “royal in its own fashion,” i.e., properly differentiates itself and celebrates that difference, is destined to be embraced by loyal customers.
Much has already been written in other places about the importance of value propositions, but what this law suggests to marketers is something greater than communicating a unique offering. The idea that your customers will react to the input you give them seems straightforward, but upon deeper examination is quite powerful. The company that aspires for greatness (as reflected in its marketing) will in turn attract those that desire greatness … and inspire their loyalty. The company that acquires and develops rich culture and character will find that same character reflected in its ideal customers.
Consider the current popular idea that what distinguishes the best companies are talent and a shared belief in excellence of some sort. Products and services can be easily copied (in general), but individual people and their unifying ethos cannot. This tenet of leadership that you create in others what you aspire to yourself—or, business-wise, when you demand excellence in your own approach and offerings, customers will reward you for it with their dollars—represents an empowering marketing philosophy.
By affecting the aura of a king, marketers can command respect for the organizations they represent. Through following particular modes of communication and presentation, marketers can offer an ideal vision that elicits fear, loyalty or love. Affecting any one of those emotions trumps ignorance, indifference or contempt. Foster customer allegiance by acting in accordance with shared values (or fantasies), and you the marketer, too, can be royal in your own fashion.
This post is part of a series in which I explore in-depth how some of Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power relate to marketing.
Photo courtesy of Jen Goellnitz via Flickr.