“Law 25: Re-create yourself.”
Recreating yourself—and your currency or authority—is vital. As times change, your customers’ needs change, and thus, your approach to meeting their needs. In order to meet their needs, marketers need to create clear messages and experiences that resonate. This is the essence of marketing: Immediate, present and unmistakable (if subtle).
Consider re-branding and website redesigns: Whether they work or not, the power of these initiatives evokes strong reactions. If people hate your new logo or love your improved website architecture, they will have a strong impression regardless, which means you are memorable, which is almost always preferable to being ignored in the world of marketing.
For this law, Robert Greene talks about incorporating dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions. By recreating your business’ identity, you in fact give dramatic life to your brand. By doing the unexpected—announcing a giveaway, initiating a new product/service, creating an unexpected partnership, simply being bold—marketers can delight.
Consider the lesson he draws from Roman emperor Julius Caesar:
“Like [Julius Caesar], you must learn to enlarge your actions through … surprise, suspense, the creation of sympathy, and symbolic identification. Also, like him, you must be constantly aware of your audience—of what will please them, and what will bore them. You must arrange to place yourself at the center, to command attention, and never to be upstaged at any cost.”
Let’s start with enlarging your actions: A fundamental job of marketing is to capture attention, which is increasingly challenging in today’s hyper-connected world. The first step toward creating a customer is to get their attention. Being small isn’t going to cut it. What will get noticed? What is going to captivate? Big action (an extension of the previous law I examined, action over argument). Maybe it’s an event, an encounter, or a hard copy mailed along with a digital file … the personal touch of a handwritten note. Whatever is going to make your business stand out from the competition is going to require an outsized presence. In a sense, the one with the biggest megaphone wins, and what might be the most exciting reality for today’s marketers is the self-publishing milieu that gives all businesses their own megaphones.
Once you have someone’s attention, you can mesmerize further by sympathizing with their needs or desires. As for constantly being aware of what pleases/bores your audience, what is the practice of content marketing if not getting into the head (placing yourself at the center) of the buyer and dazzling with your knowledge, information and/or entertainment? Is this not the essence of understanding the buyer journey … the marketing phrase du jour? Whatever you do, don’t bore your customers! By giving the buyer what is needed and building a self-directed route to satisfied customer status, you set the stage for purchase and increase the likelihood of a transaction and long-term loyalty.
“Fortune favors the bold” is an old Latin proverb. Given the significance (and dominance) of the Roman Empire and its mythology, this Latin origin should come as no surprise. In fact, a whole other law of power (28) is devoted to boldness. Boldness, by definition, defies the ordinary. It demands attention, and is often rewarded with recognition, if not appreciation. The act of recreating is in itself an act of Protean boldness, or even an act of art, as Greene argues. Marketers can celebrate the drama of reinvention by shaping a new brand promise; alternatively, they can breathe new life into an old one. By renewing old customers’ passion or creating new fans out of Internet clay, we can wield the same shapeshifting power of the ancient Greek sea god.
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 MattysFlicks via Flickr.