Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Review of Accidental Branding by David Vinajamun

I have been asked to review the book Accidental Branding by David Vinajamun.
It was a well written and enjoyable book about how "accidental marketers" break the conventional rules of marketing to create very successful companies. Some of the entrepreneurs interviewed were from companies like: Burt's Bees, Clif Bar and J. Peterson & Company (a successful catalog company who tried a different, more personalized approach to marketing).

Vinajamun's 6 rules of accidental branding/marketing are:
1. Sweat the Small Stuff--pay attention to details
2. Pick a Fight--take a stand against the existing brand
3. Be your own customer--keep your initial customer instincts
4. Be Unnaturally Persistent--this is probably the hardest part of the game
5. Build a myth--tell a story that appeals to some basic instinct of the target consumer
6. Be Faithful--keep in view your faithful fans and followers even when you become famous

As the author interviews different entrepreneurs, he realizes that many of them starting the product because they were trying to solve their own problems--they were all personally involved with the creation of the brand and they continued to keep the ability to think like real consumers.

He applied three test to create a definition of an Accidental Brand:
1. An Individual who is not trained in marketing must create the brand
2. This individual must experince the problem that the brand solves
3. The individual must control the brand for at least 10 years.

The author also does not discount the influence that luck and timing also had on these brands and gives many examples. One of the examples he gives to illustrate the trait of perfectionist is at Disney World. "You'll see horses in the parades at Disney World, but you will never see any horse droppings. Why? Because Disney realizes that they are creating a fantasy world and that horses doent make a mess in a fantasy world. A lot of work goes into getting these small details right. Disney has networks of tunnels running under all of its properties to the guy with the shovel can inconspicuosly dieappear afer he has--ahem--made the mess go away."

The book gives many real life examples and tries to point out the lessons learned if you want to be an "Accidental Marketer". In this world of new rules for Marketing---there may be lessons in this book for all Marketers.