Publicity First Doesn’t Work Anymore

Louis CK’s recent direct-to-Internet video success teaches us something that most companies don’t get, or don’t want to get.

It’s not about publicity anymore.

The press release or the advertising campaign shouldn’t be the first thing you think about.  Sure, back in the days of three networks and average products for average people, you could yell loudly enough and everybody would eat your lousy Wonder bread.  Major food factories were able to get us all to swill tasteless light beer and eat non-nutritive white “bread.”

All you needed to do was think up a theme, target it at a particular audience,  dream up a few clever ad campaigns, and buy up air time.  Boom, you had a restaurant chain like Ruby Tuesday, selling fake charm along with lousy industrial food.  Good business, especially because you could just shout down the local–and better–competition.

That’s over. The Internet killed that strategy years ago and is now shoveling the dirt into the grave.  Wanna see?  Check out Ruby Tuesday on Yelp.

The better, and time-tested approach to building your business and your brand hasn’t changed for thousands of years–and that’s what Louis CK did:

  • Have a purpose (start with “why”)
  • Build a tribe/team that believes as you do
  • Do the best you can
  • Sell your goods to people who share your beliefs
  • Say “no” to things that violate your core beliefs
  • Don’t fall into the brand extension trap

Bob Lefsetz has a very similar take on Louis CK’s hard work, by the way.

Once you’ve done all the above, absolutely go out with those press releases and advertising campaigns. You won’t need to shout at people to get their attention.  And many of them will say “I already know.  And I’ve been telling my friends.”  And then, you’ve won.

Oh, the Ruby Tuesday near Centreville?  It was open for many years. Just closed.  Thanks, Internet!

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