In the ever-evolving world of business and branding, the conventional wisdom often takes a back seat to the truly unique and unexpected. This notion is beautifully encapsulated in a compelling anecdote from Steven from the Dragons Den, the host of "The Diary of a CEO" podcast and author of the forthcoming book, "The 33 Laws of Business and Life," which delves deep into the psychology and behavioural science behind success.
Steven's story about his £13,000 blue slide purchase for his office at the tender age of 21 might sound like madness at first glance. Yet, as he reflects upon it, this seemingly absurd investment turned out to be one of his best decisions. Why? Because it embodies a profound principle: "The most absurd and useless thing about your business says the most about it."
This concept of highlighting the quirky, unconventional aspects of your brand to tell a deeper story resonates with several other examples across different industries.
1. The 100-Foot Climbing Wall at the Gym: Steven shared a personal experience when his girlfriend joined a gym with a 100-foot climbing wall. While she might not use it regularly, it became the centerpiece of her gym story. When he recommends the gym to friends, what does he mention first? The climbing wall. In this case, the gym's most absurd and seemingly impractical feature does the heavy lifting in marketing.
2. Virgin's Extreme Stunts: Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is a prime example of this principle in action. Branson went to great lengths to promote his brand, often through bizarre and daring stunts. Whether it was drifting hot air balloons across the ocean or narrowly escaping death, these audacious acts defined Virgin as a disruptor and innovator. Branson's personal adventures became synonymous with the brand itself.
3. Red Bull's Adventurous Content: Red Bull, the energy drink giant, takes a similar approach. If you visit their Instagram page, you won't find countless product advertisements. Instead, you'll be treated to a series of absurd stunts and extreme sports events. Red Bull focuses on exhilarating experiences, aligning itself with a lifestyle of adventure and daring, just like Richard Branson and his Virgin brand.
Steven's insight highlights a critical difference between founders deeply rooted in their brand's values and conventional CFOs focused on a return on investment. While CFOs may question the immediate financial gain of such ventures, founders understand that the most absurd activities often embody the essence of their brand, engaging customers on a deeper level.
In essence, these examples serve as a reminder that sometimes, the most unconventional and seemingly impractical aspects of your business can be your most powerful marketing tools. They convey a story, evoke emotions, and create memorable connections with your audience.
So, when you're building your business or brand, consider embracing the absurd, the unconventional, and the seemingly useless. It might just be the key to making your brand stand out in a crowded market and leaving a lasting impression on your customers. After all, as Steven puts it, "The most absurd thing you do will say the most about you and do most of the marketing work."
I often get asked, "Why do I have a pink gorilla in our logo at Gorilla Street Media?" The very fact that someone asks this question to me is that exact reason why we have a pink gorilla. Using the concept of the absurd, it's highly memorable, and you are certainly not going to forget our pink gorilla. In a world filled with ordinary logos and predictable branding, our pink gorilla stands out like a beacon of the unexpected, embodying the essence of our brand – disruptive, unforgettable, and unapologetically unique. Just as Steven's blue slide, the 100-foot climbing wall, Richard Branson's daring stunts, and Red Bull's extreme adventures have become synonymous with their respective brands, our pink gorilla symbolises our audacious spirit. So, when you see that pink gorilla, remember that the most absurd and unforgettable elements often tell the most compelling stories about a brand.