Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Intelligently market yourself for influence beyond your actual numbers - lessons from the Klan, Dan Harper, Tank Man, and Nicole Palmer

A triumph of marketing.

The activities of one group in North Carolina have received attention from all of the media, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the Trump people, and all of us.

When the day of the parade comes, protesters and media will swarm to the place to cover the story, and it will be emblazoned all over the news that evening.

But think about it.

A Klan group in California came out to Anaheim earlier this year and got a similar amount of attention - for a protest with only a half dozen Klansmen.

A half dozen.

The North Carolina victory parade will be lucky if it gets more than 100 participants. The media (much less the protesters) will probably outnumber actual Klansmen.

This phenomenon, where a group's influence is disproportionate to their actual numbers, is not limited to the alt-right, the alt-left, or other fringes. Take this protest against Russian bombing in Syria, in which the Telegraph dutifully reported the activities of the protestors - uh, protestor.

In this case, I can't blame for not finding the incident to be newsworthy.

There are numerous examples of viral reactions to limited civil disobedience - the one man facing a tank in China, various Buddhist monks who were on fire for their cause, and others. Some, such as Rosa Parks, were backed by organizations, while others went out on their own.

But why do these people have such influence?

It's not just the marketing - I could put out a press release loudly proclaiming that Brian Eno is Slim Whitman's secret son, and no one would give a hoot. But when the protest elicits emotional reactions - especially emotional reactions when the Klan, Putin, or other hot-button figures are involved - news of the protest will spread far and wide.

Despite their deplorable image, the Klan are no dummies. They knew very well that a simple announcement of a public rally, even without accompanying details, would get the Klan a lot of free publicity. And as that publicity ricocheted around the world, perhaps that would be enough to motivate a guy somewhere to think, "Hey, the Klan really speaks for me."

In fact, the (remote) possibility exists that my writing about this may persuade someone to join the Klan. And even if I were to rightly interject the message that the Klan is a bad thing, this might not make any difference - some people may be MORE attracted to the Klan because of its enemies, including the President-elect, the major political parties, and Empoprises. In fact, here's a fake interview:

Once I saw that Empoprises opposed the Klan, I knew that the Klan had to have something worthwhile to offer me. I mean, Empoprises writes about Brian Eno - a foreigner. The Redcoats are almost as bad as the Yankees, in my opinion.

Obviously, things are much better if you intelligently market yourself for (in my opinion) positive purposes. Take Nicole Palmer:

If someone had told me two years ago that I would have cared for over 30 children while working and raising a daughter on my own, I wouldn’t have believed them, but that has been my life since becoming a foster carer....

The first child that arrived at my door came for a five week stay while her long term carer was away. It was a wonderful experience for us and helped me understand what was involved. Pretty quickly I asked to follow this up by providing some emergency care. After this I felt ready to provide short term care, which is classified as six months or less....

Foster care does come with its challenges and I’ve learned a lot about myself. In one instance I cared for a little girl that couldn’t speak English, but we worked through it together. It was so satisfying to find a way to communicate with her and make a connection. Sometimes I think the biggest challenges have the biggest rewards.
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