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© Meme Team Marketing 2019 to Infinity and Beyond

Book Discussion: Brand Leadership by David Aaker

Updated: Apr 4, 2019

TL;DR: Brand building is stuck in the pre-internet era. The nature of media and thus advertising has changed. Advertising still has a role to play, but it needs to be adapted to the Web environment and will rarely be the lead player in brand-building programs. The audience member usually has a goal in mind - seeking information, entertainment, or transactions - and ignores anything that gets in the way. Brands should not simply provide a functional, convenient way to order products but should build a brand through personality, community, content, and entertainment to get more likes and garner more loyalty.

Top two points made:

1. Warner Bros used the surprised Pikachu meme template to build hype around an upcoming movie, Detective Pikachu. The surprised Pikachu template is a prime example of embedding branded content into the memeosphere. At the peak of this templates popularity, Warner Bros released the Detective Pikachu trailer - coincidence? I think not. Warner Bros released a second trailer unsupported by memes and it got 37M fewer views. If it costs around $20k to get 100k views, the meme campaign was worth $7.4M.

2. A prime example of the ability of memes to hold attention is looking through Wendy’s Twitter. We also posted a case study on this. An ad-style post will get 500 likes and a meme-style post will get 60k. If it costs a quarter per click on average, posting a single meme is worth about $14k in clicks for Wendy’s.

More than just scroll through r/dankmemes all day, we here at Meme Team Marketing aim to consistently grow our knowledge base by reading both modern and classic literature relating to branding, consumer psychology, and media theory. This includes a wide variety of topics including branding, advertising, marketing, digital content creation, psychoanalytic theory, futurism, and more.


I was lucky enough to go to the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley (grad 2018) where the original branding movement began in the late 1980s with David Aaker. So, fitting that our first book discussion is, Brand Leadership, one of many books published by Professor Aaker on the topic. “Aaker prepares managers for the next level of the brand revolution - brand leadership.” I would recommend the book to anyone working in marketing, as branding is a critical element in the mix. This nor, any future book reviews are sponsored. But I would like to shout out to Professor David Robinson for giving me this book and to Berkeley-Haas for leading the world in sustainable leadership.


As much as I would love to cover every detail in full, I will not. Instead, since we are an agency focused on building brands for the internet, I will be discussing quotes relating to social media sharing and the general impact of the Web on marketing strategy.


The focus of this book is to transition brand managers from tactical to strategic management with a focus on brand equity instead of on brand image. “This immensely readable book provides the brand management team with the capability to:

  • Create and elaborate brand identities

  • Use the brand relationship spectrum, a powerful tool to harness subbrands and endorsed brands to form brand architectures that create clarity, synergy, and leveraged assets

  • Identify the customer ‘sweet spot’ and the driving idea that will move brand-building efforts beyond advertising to break out of the clutter

  • Use the internet and sponsorship to make brands resources work more effectively (this book was published in 2000)

  • Address the four imperatives of global brand management”



And now let’s begin the discussion.


Page ix “Powerful forces are continuing interest in brands. Overcapacity, vicious price competition, the proliferation of similar products, and powerful retailers are only some factor."

Even more so now, the barriers to entry are decreasing for competition to make similar or copy products. The IP laws in China especially are favorable for this kind of competitive response. A current example is the proliferation of fake AirPods. The AirPod trend caught on through mass meme-ificaiton in late 2018. Soon after, you could get look-a-likes for $16 as opposed to a steep $150 from Apple. When knock-off products appear identical, branding is of the utmost importance. If your brand builds strong, unique, and favorable associations, you have a chance to survive the suitors. Apple is a worldwide leader in brand equity and should be just fine.


Page x “Two vehicles that have been under-analyzed, sponsorships and the internet.”

Still very true twenty years later! The internet has not yet fully come to form. Social media especially is still growing and evolving. The true power of social media advertising has yet to be realized. Most companies are still trying to use tactics designed for TV or print while online. This will not work. The internet has inherent benefits and drawbacks that must be taken into consideration. The biggest change is that all the world (and all your customers) now have a voice and a camera. Brand image is as much built by the internet community as it is by you.


Page 7 “The brand leadership model is strategic and visionary rather than tactical and reactive. He or she takes control of … what [the brand] should stand for in the eyes of the customer … communicating the identity consistently .. and effectively … The brand strategy should reflect the strategic vision and corporate culture.”

The main goal for branding is to build an identity that customers can latch onto. It is much easier for people to remember people as opposed to abstract ideas. Also, branding needs to be effective, and right now memes are the most effective way to communicate any brand goal; its massively cheaper and has a more authentic feel than normal digital advertising. The brand should also communicate the company vision and culture. Gen-Z can be super annoying because - like - they want purpose in life and values to support decisions??? No, but seriously, the next generation will not choose brands based on product alone. When all information is available, they want to know what impact, positive or negative that you are having on both people and the world. If you do not communicate your purpose, values, and culture, Gen-Z will assume you have something to hide.


Page 9 “Brand equity - an asset that can be the basis of competitive advantage and long-term profitability."

Again, building brand equity is the move. If you focus on relationships and not sales, customers will be much more loyal and will potentially trust you through any mishaps that occur. The goal is to appear human.


Page 9 “Internal brand communication was usually ignored.”

Just as important as appearing human externally, is appearing human internally. Think of your employees as your most loyal customers. They literally live your brand (well for 33% of the day). It is your duty as a brand manager to provide meaning for their lives. The internet fuels anxiety and makes most feel small and unimportant. Leaders can counteract this anxiety by providing purpose-driven work. Tesla does an amazing job of this. I went to the Tesla factory in Fremont while at Haas and the tour guide showing us around was absolutely beaming with pride, repping a ‘We’re going to mars shirt.” I struck up a conversation with her, asking how she started working with Tesla and if she liked the job, to which she replied, “I am helping transition the world to sustainable energy and reducing the amount of pollution in the air.” Day in and day out, whenever she questioned why she was doing something, she could fall back on the company mission statement. Musk does an amazing job of inspiring his workers who are often willing to work extra hours to get the job done. External branding is important, but internal branding is arguably more important. When employees don’t question their existence or efforts, they are much more productive.


Page 12 “Media and market fragmentation has made the communication task very difficult … two challenges: how to break out of the box … and how to coordinate messages across media.”

Wow, and this was written in 2000. Media has only continued to fragment. The impact one commercial had in 1965 (80% of 18-49-year-old women) now requires a boat-load more effort. The importance of having a clear purpose is exemplified here. If you have six different teams all producing media, they need to be on the same page or your messaging will be confusing and unclear. Media fragmentation will continue until this wave of technology becomes mature. So, as time goes on, it will only get more important to have a clearly defined purpose. Now, the challenge of breaking out of the box is slightly more intimidating. We designed a process supported by branding research that aims to break you out of this box. The first step is clearly defining a purpose, then comes the anthropomorphism of your brand, and finally mind myth mapping. We mix old psychoanalytic theory and new meme theory to make you into something authentic, attention-grabbing, and memorable.

Page 13 “Brand identity needs to have points of differentiation [from competition]”

Coincidentally, Aaker’s daughter, Jennifer, researches branding as well. At the UCLA School of Management, she published research which found that all brands fall into 5 broad categories: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. As difficult as it might seem to create points of differentiation, there are only so many options - choose one different from your competition. My personal favorite method for developing points of differentiation is through Jung’s collective unconscious archetypes.

Page 15 “Strong brands have been able to resist pressures to compete on price alone … fools compete on price. Winners will find a way to create lasting value in the customer’s mind.”

Again, Apple is able to withstand the pressures of fake AirPods because they have consistently made deposits into brand equity.

Page 17 “Four dimensions of brand equity - awareness, perceived quality, associations, and loyalty.”

Building awareness in the internet community will require new methods as the proliferation of media has flooded the attention market with infinite options - consumers no longer will stand watching advertisements unless it's during the Super Bowl. Perceived quality should be thought of as comprising the whole customer journey which begins online and ends with customer support. Associations are built through your media and online interactions. Loyalty is built by valuing relationships and considering the customer lifetime value.

Page 21 “There was no impact of advertising on stock return except that which was captured by brand equity.” -> EquiTrend Brand Power Ratings

Let me say that again, “there was no impact of advertising on stock return except that which was captured by brand equity.” If you are advertising purely to sell, you're shooting yourself in the foot. All media and communications should be designed with the goal of creating brand equity and not to meet sales goals. Stop convincing and start connecting.

Page 39 “Virgin Atlantic could not compete with British Airways in advertising expenditures, Branson used publicity stunts to create awareness … stunts have turned into windfalls of free publicity.”

Free publicity was much harder to come by in the pre-social media era. During this time, you must compete with massive media makers of worldwide news stations for screen time. Now, when everyone is can be a media maker, it is much easier to get free publicity through news-jacking or meme-jacking. If you are a popular figure, all that is necessary is an attention-grabbing tweet. Donald Trump and Elon Musk can tweet and subsequently watch the world proliferate media on their behalf. This is the pure essence of memes - making content for the content creators to proliferate. Truly skilled meme makes will design a meme template to be later modified and re-posted in many various settings. The success of meme template proliferation is best exemplified by the Detective Pikachu trailers. The surprised Pikachu template is a prime example of embedding branded content into the memeosphere. At the peak of this templates popularity, Warner Bros released the Detective Pikachu trailer - coincidence? I think not. Warner Bros released a second trailer unsupported by memes and it got 37M fewer views. If it costs around $20k to get 100k views, the meme campaign was worth $7.4M

Page 42 “Communication involves all points of contact between the brand and the audience.”

We here at Meme Team Marketing are constantly met with skeptics - memes?? What can silly images do for my brand? Why should we trust you instead of a long-standing advertising firm like Ogilvy? To which I often try to communicate the quote as stated by Aaker here. All points of contact, including memes, are valuable points of communication with your audience. The younger generation is making a new language - memes - both to differentiate themselves and communicate with each other. It’s the ultimate inside joke. Something that parents finally are too distanced from to understand. If your audience communicates in memes, while you instead communicate in ads, your brand will get ignored or worse, scorned. We try to act as the translators between your brand and the internet/meme community. This is especially relevant on Reddit - the social media site with the largest gap between users and brands. Reddit now has more users and far higher engagement than Twitter, yet Twitter makes 2.1B on advertising and Reddit makes around 100M - that’s 21 times more revenue because brands are scared of Reddit.

Page 55 “The goal should be to create a personality and provide emotional and self-expressive benefits that are drawn from and support the ownership of an attribute or functional benefit.”

Creating a personality online can be challenging and being timid only adds stress. There is so much content online that anything lackluster will be forgotten. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO BE CLICK BAIT. Please, for your sake don’t. Click bait is doing to content creators what coupons did to JCPenny - your user base is now a bunch of functioning addicts only loyal to the extent that you are the cheapest (in price or attention). So when a Ron Johnson comes in and tries to rehab, you realize just how shaky your foundation is. There is a healthy way to form sustainable relationships while not being click bait -> have strong opinions, know what you stand for, be loud about it, and communicate in a language the internet understands.

Page 75 “When the business strategy and culture are fuzzy, though, the brand identity creation effort can be agonizingly difficult.”

A contingency of the anxiety fueled by internet information overload is the necessity to be purpose and value driven. Without a clear understanding of why you exist, stress slowly creeps into your mind deteriorates your motivation. This is as true for individuals as it is for brands. If you are working with anyone who uses the internet, it will eventually be necessary to build a purpose into your brand identity. This quote exemplifies that necessity.

Page 83 “So why not attempt to translate verbal core identities into visual metaphors.”

Nice. This one is pretty much telling you directly to use memes to communicate your brand identity. On the flip side, when doing marketing research, we use a collection of meme-style images that interviewees must match with various brands. We use meme images because they hold more emotional meaning that a regular image. The meme community stacks meaning onto images over time with meta-layers. Thus the meme macro is eventually reduced to its core signifier by repetitive adaptation. At this level, the image conveys a single persistent meaning which is great to use when trying to identify how brands reside in the minds of consumers. This method is traditionally called visual positioning if you would like to look more into it.

Page 93 “In order to be communicated effectively, a brand identity needs to be punchy, memorable, focused and motivating.”

I think it was particularly interesting that Aaker used the word ‘punchy’. Implying that the word is abrasive, off-putting, potentially harm inducing and so on. Another struggle we often face here is convincing brands to be punchy or … edgy. So much content that is put out will never be remembered, so why not take a shot, be a little edgy (if it fits the brand communication goals of course).

Page 153 “Underutilized brands are unused assets.”

This is another way of saying that if you don’t actively brand, you are missing out on significant revenue. Branding will always add value to a product.

Page 166 “The highest level of brand building - building deep relationships and core groups of committed customers.”

*bit of a rant here* If this quote is at all shocking, you should really re-evaluate why you’re in business. So, at Berkeley, most people refer to the business students as Haasholes (and will often post snake-related memes). I have also seen similar wordplay at the Ross school at U Mich - Rossholes. And I get it, finance specifically can seem back-stabby and very self-centered and yes it's true that some go into business with the goal of making money at the cost to others. But we here at Meme Team are really trying to shift those connotations. But, just like art does not command the respect math does, branding does not command the respect that finance does. The alphas drool over select few spots at Goldman (2.6-year median tenure) or Amazon (1-year median tenure) and will do whatever is necessary to get that spot, often resulting in backstabbing and generally off-putting behavior. Just like in business, these short term tactics hurt you in the long run. I went to a few on-campus recruiting events and nearly drowned in a sea of suits, resumes, and painted on smiles. I left with the general feeling that these extremely high achieving students felt a prestigious job would solve all their problems. Only to realize that no title can fill the hole inside of them. Status will not bring fulfillment. Fulfillment comes only from being unabashedly yourself. This applies to brands as well as individuals. This system is brutal because if you don’t adapt to the incredibly high demands of the firm, they will replace you with another suit from the horde willing to sacrifice their sleep and well-being for the hope of finding happiness is a name that means nothing more than what power you ascribe to it. The part that kills me is these firms have no incentive to change; they can continuously churn amazingly talented people through a system that beats them to a pulp with no repercussions. What we have yet to realize is that these firms are costing the economic system as a whole. Its tragedy of the commons but for hopes and dreams. These firms overwork employees. By the time the employee realizes it doesn’t have to be this way, they are damn near dead inside. I think it’s absolutely criminal that we can allow such short term ideology to continue on. When will we demand that employers treat employees humanely? 80 hour work weeks are NOT sustainable. Years without time for friends or family is NOT sustainable. The mindset that keeps this alive is thinking - ‘It’ll be different for me. I am not like everyone else who got hired here.’ That kind of mindset results in memes like this. Memes do not often make me sad, but this one sure did. It is quite egotistical to think that you are so different from everyone else who has come before you. So to think that you will be able to infiltrate the finance machine and change it to produce good is noble, yet deadly. So I would love to say that these abusive companies will fall with the rise of the internet, but it does not appear to be so - the only force powerful enough to bring them down is ego death. Until then, we will continue to lose amazing talent to pride fueled labor masochism. Let’s praise companies who can retain employees longest, not ones who pay the most.


Page 206 “Publicity is not only more cost-effective than advertising, it is also more credible.”

I think it's especially helpful to reverberate the definition of publicity here - notice or attention given to someone or something by the media. I love this quote because it might as well have predicted meme marketing. When the masses make media, publicity comes through integrating your brand into the memeosphere. This task does not come easily, as the community hates obviously corporate advertising. Which is why we exist.

Page 228 “The Web represents the convergence of media and commerce in a way that may fundamentally destabilize existing communication channels. - Martin McClanan, Internet guru, Prophet Brand Strategy”

What more do I need to say? 19 years later this is increasingly true. Most massive internet companies are either commerce (Amazon) or media (Facebook) related. What are you doing to prepare for the maturation of the internet? We are just now seeing existing communication channels begin to struggle - especially news providers. I wrote a short blog post about with a funny example of the convergence of media and commerce. In short, a comedy writer made SFW parody porn videos that now pay his rent through PornHub ad revenue.


Page 230 “It is clear that we have entered a digital age, and the strong brands of this era will be those that best utilize the Web as a building tool.”

The massive trends that permeate culture today are all powered by the meme community. Memes are the digital manifestation of changing times. Tech has enabled everybody to be a media producer. Strong brands will either learn how to engage with this community or die trying.

Page 232 *this is a long one but really good* “Most traditional media advertising assumes that the audience members are passive recipients of that message; the brand builder controls not only the content but also the context surrounding it. Using advertising, brands are built in splendid isolation as agencies create pristine, manicured monuments whose brightly lit image is drilled repeatedly into the minds of consumers. In a way, traditional broadcast advertising creates a barrier between the brand and the consumer; because the latter is allowed no role in the experience - it is like viewing a painting or sculpture from behind a museum’s guard rope. Traditionally, the most successful brand builders are those who have maintained a relentless focus on the purity of the brand monument: Marlboro’s brand is solidly planted in its Western imagery because every single communication has been sculpted to perfectly reflect that imagery. Early brand-building efforts on the Web treated it as another advertising medium. Passive banner ads were placed on pages, much as a media plan would schedule a set of television commercials to air on selected programs throughout a week; the key performance measure was the number of eyeball exposures among a target audience. Web sites, for their part, tended to be copies of print ads and catalogs. The results were generally disappointing in terms of (slightly adapted) traditional measures, such as cost per thousand exposures or cost per click-through. In a way, the early popularity of this view is not surprising. From ancient Greece (where early dramas were choreographed performances of songs) to the first television programs (which trained the camera on an announcer speaking into a microphone), the use of new communications channels has always been based first on the traditions of an earlier channel. The lesson, however, has been learned: the Web is a very different medium. Advertising still has a role to play, but it needs to be adapted to the Web environment and will rarely be the lead player in brand-building programs … The audience member usually has a functional goal in mind - seeking information, entertainment, or transactions - and ignores or treats as an annoyance anything that gets in the way … To understand the Web, an experience-based model such as a theme park or retail store is a better metaphor than passively received advertising. The Web is interactive … rich … and able to be personalized.”

Ok, so this was the paragraph is what made me want to start Meme Team Marketing. If I am being quite honest, I feel really silly about the idea sometimes. I have friends who are building rockets and autonomous cars, and here I am currently in a garage, making memes. Once I let the anxiety pass, I am reassured by reading things like this. I know making memes is a cornerstone in the future of advertising and that the theory underpinning memes supports the internet brand building process. Now we just need to convince others of the same.

Page 240 “Web PR involves Web communications not controlled by the brand.”

The age of museum brands is over. Brand building is a communal process. Work with your customers to build a brand. They want to have a voice and make media for you - enable it. Making meme templates out of your pre-existing content, or even better yet making content with the intention of making it into meme templates, is a good start.

Page 240 “Too often customer communication on the Web … is regarded as a nuisance or even a problem instead of an opportunity … an all-too-common mistake is to fail to ask customers for questions and feedback.”

Conducting marketing research prior to the internet was very costly. Now brands have direct access to loyal customers and they rarely utilize it. Community management is a critical tool in digital brand building. Often if consumers love your brand, they will make a community on your behalf, but then you have little to no ability to participate in or shape the conversations. Get involved, see social media as an opportunity. What used to cost thousands of dollars, is now knocking at your door.

Page 242 “A Web site should be easy to use … offer value in terms of information, a transaction, entertainment, or social experience … should strive to be interactive, personalized, and timely.”

The crucial points to take aware here are offer value and should be timely. Users will ignore anything that looks like an ad, so you need to offer them something of value. Memes offer value in the form of entertainment and information if done properly. Also important, memes need to be timely, McDonald's tried to unironically use Bad Luck Brian in an ad six years after he was popular. This might as well be internet suicide - the got absolutely bashed online after and did their best to remove all trace of the campaign. We have a case study on the event on our website.

Page 247 “A role of media could evolve into getting people to the Web site.”

Please stop using ads as a way to sell. This no longer works. The goal of an ad should be to get people to look up your social media accounts and then the website.

Page 248 “One role of publicity is to create news about the brand … by posting production information and teasers on its Web site in a carefully controlled pattern, feeding consumers a steady diet of new information to keep them buzzing right up until the opening weekend.”

As mentioned before, it is very successful to use cross-posting of media to promote. The Pikachu meme example signifies this. The internet will multiply your media, so giving them a steady stream of new information will ‘keep them buzzing’. Interesting that he used buzzing - as to compare media to the buzz you get from alcohol. I think content should be thought of as a chemical stimulant; it's enjoyable, potentially harmful, and unhealthy in high doses. The technological communications revolution will as impactful to the human race as the agricultural, and industrial revolutions. Media fragmentation will continue until the next wave of technology becomes mature, which is no time soon. Being in the first 1% of the time until maturity, we should expect fragmentation to continue. Just how much media can the people handle? Content now is available at any time, in any form visual or auditory, to anyone who has internet access. The big difference is that most kids start ‘buzzing’ at age 10 or younger. This might help to explain why anxiety and depression rates continue to rise. Who’s gonna rehab a whole generation?

Page 248 “The Web site should be a home for the loyal group of people involved with the brand.”

Close but not quite. Most times, the communities are formed on social media. I want to reiterate again, Reddit is an amazing community building platform that is vastly underutilized by brands because they are scared of the site - it that really worth $2B less in ad spend though? If you want to build a sustainable brand, start building an active community of loyal customers online. They want to interact with you!

Page 258 “Brands should not simply provide a functional, convenient way to order products but should build a brand through personality, community, content, and entertainment to create longer visits and loyalty.”

Preach! A prime example of the ability of memes to hold attention is looking through Wendy’s Twitter. We also posted a case study on this. An ad-style post will get 500 likes and a meme-style post will get 60k. If it costs a quarter per click on average, posting a meme is worth about $14k. How much more evidence do you need? Traditional advertising does not fit in the age of user-controlled information. I love how this quote hits all the main points - personality, community, content, and entertainment! Wow, I love it. Again, this was written in 2000 and is still not taken seriously.

Page 258 “The Web … should be viewed … as the driver of the whole branding effort … chief Web officer is rare, but tomorrow it will be essential.”

If you don’t trust me, I hope you will trust the man who started the branding movement 40 years ago. The only thing he got wrong was that content is not hosted on the brands own site, its hosted on social media sites.

Page 262 “The Brand-Building Task - create visibility - build associations and create differentiation - develop deep customer relationships.”

This tri-part guide for building brand equity is also a great summary of the necessary components developing engaging social media content. Using relevant images will keep you visible. The style of content you create should both build points of parity and points of difference. All while maintaining the goal of actively building and managing an online community.

Page 264 “A brand cannot develop deep relationships without a rich and insightful understanding of the customer.”

This should come as no surprise. You exist to serve customers. However, we often forget this fact when posting on social media. Is your content designed for your customer, or is it trying to sell something? Understanding the needs and desires of your loyal customers is pertinent to making content they will like and share.

Page 271 “The cornerstone of most brand-building efforts has been the effective use of media advertising … this is fast becoming obsolete … one in three said that all advertising annoys or irritates.”

The age of advertising is over! Long live memes! Ok, so maybe advertising is not dead yet, but it is certainly dying. And memes are certainly not king yet, but they are on the rise. Let’s move together beyond traditional advertising. You had a great run traditional advertising. You were a very good boy, but now it’s time to sleep.

Page 280 “the driving idea at Disneyland, Starbucks, and Nordstrom is the total functional and emotional experience … guidelines are … to involve the customers actively.”

To be fair, he was referring to physically interacting with the brand - samples, test drives and so on. However, the idea still applies - digitally interacting with your customers on say, Reddit perhaps, would be a fantastic use of time and money. My aunt sends me books every so often and the most recent was titled, The Last Lecture and it had a very relevant story about the power of building relationships. In short, the author visited Disneyland as a kid, bought a salt and pepper shaker for his parents, and dropped it while excitedly running to give it to them. He went back crying to the store clerk and they offered to replace it because they had not done a good enough job wrapping the item. This interaction was so unexpected and impactful that he often shares the story thus creating a massively effective WOM through his media. The chances that a child will become a popular author are slim, but consistently living this brand results in some grand slams and a lot of base hits.

Page 289 “The Tango Story”

Tango is a great example of the beginning of the end of traditional advertising. The brand aimed to gain traction in the already heavily occupied soda market in the 1980s. In order to stand out, they developed an “unexpected, fun, humorous, madcap, ironic, and irreverent with a touch of realism” brand identity. Take a look at some of their ads and tell me these would not be on the trending page of Reddit today. Additionally, they designed campaigns that piggybacked off popular events like the 1998 World Cup in order to take advantage of free media. It is now normal to see brands live tweet during events like the Super Bowl.

Page 295 “A brand needs to surprise and perhaps even shock the consumer in a positive way … unusual promotions can be an effective tool for breaking out of the clutter.”

For you to truly appreciate what can be considered normal today clutter today take a look at r/dankmemes. Now, how the hell is someone supposed to stand out when dank deep fried memes are common content? The first step is to become familiar with the community making shocking content. You can learn from their ways and then adopt some into your content. The more off-the-wall the better. This community is very aware of the absurdity of their sense of humor and will often poke fun at themselves for being so odd. That being said, the numbness to nonsensical content means you can take what you would consider to be bigger risks without phasing the internet community. In general, the less logical sense it makes, the better.

Page 297 “The inclusion of TV personalities in Coca-Cola’s Olympic Torch Rally ensured that the media would be interested in broadcasting the event as news coverage.”

Now when the internet community is the media, you must appeal to them if you want coverage. So next time you are designing a logo, a store, a product, - anything that you would like to be shared online, first consider what the internet shares and how you could design something to catch their interest. The rise in the number of massive drinks sold at bars is due to the fact that they attract so much Instagram attention. What could you do to make your brand Instagram worthy or snapchattable?

Page 298 “Create a brand-building team … one tack would be to develop a relationship with firms that specialize in various approaches, like Web technology … a second would be to monitor new communications technology.”

Nice. So you have two options when branding in the digital age - work with a firm like the one we started, or figure out the internet yourself (we’re making a web-class to teach this, follow us for updates on the release date). Again, I would direct you towards r/deepfriedmemes, r/dankmemes, or literally any meme page on Instagram; if these images confuse or trouble you, its because you don’t understand the meme community. It's ok, they were designed to be this way. If you do not actively participate in the community, the content soon becomes impossible to comprehend.

Page 299 “Traditional advertising agencies … claim the ability to develop and manage … communication programs, they often fail to deliver because they are too committed to [traditional] advertising.”

This legit sounds like a plug for Meme Team Marketing, but I promise it’s not. I was only five when this book was published, so I was much more concerned shoving legos up my nose than selling memes.

Page 329 “ Develop multiple options. The more chances for brilliance, the higher the probability that it will be reached. This may mean involving several communication firms”

There is no doubt that media will continue to fragment, so working with multiple different specialist firms will be necessary if you want to stay relevant on all fronts.


Well, folks, that’s all she wrote. As we close out the first book discussion, I encourage you to read this book and more to build your general knowledge base. Culture and shared information is the only thing that separates us from the animal kingdom. So please try to balance social media entertainment with high-quality long-form informational content.


I would also take some time to think about how your brand will communicate in the digital world. The times never stop changing, so it’s important to change with them. I will end with a few quotes that give me life:

The first comes from the co-founder of 20th Century Fox, Daryl Zanuck:

"Television won't be able to hold onto any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night,"

The second, from former NBC president, Alex Wurtzel:

“The notion that [companies like Netflix] are replacing broadcast TV may not be quite accurate, I think we need a little bit of perspective when we talk about the impact of Netflix and outlets."

And finally, one from the founder of Digital Entertainment Corp (later Compaq), Ken Olsen:

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home,"

These guys did not date well. As digital continues to dramatically change the very nature of our existence, I think the next book we look at should be The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan. He is a Canadian media theorist born in 1911 and often attributed with predicting the internet. If we want to understand just how dramatically electricity will change the way in which we live, McLuhan is a great place to start. Coiner of the phrases: ‘the medium is the message’, ‘hot and cold media’, and ‘the global village.’ McLuhan has a lot of ideas that are still very relevant today. His writings really inspired me as someone who likes to think about the future of media, so I am stoked to break down his text. See you next time friends.


#bookdiscussion #aaker #brandleadership