Is your brand a dad dancer?

It's not bad to be old. It's just bad to be old and pretend you're young.
32st March 2018

by | Apr 1, 2018 | Branding, Change, Opinion, Uncategorised

Photo by chester wade on Unsplash
The classic cry from poet Gil Scott-Heron is as punchy now as it was in 1970:

The revolution will not be televised.

We’ve all heard it, we all get it. What fewer people know is the rest of the monologue. If you haven’t heard it all, it’s worth your time.

But here’s the part that resonates with me:

“The first revolution is when you change your mind about how you look at things, and see there might be another way to look at it that you have not been shown. What you see later on is the results of that, but that revolution, that change that takes place will not be televised.”

The first revolution. The revolution in the mind. That’s already happened.

The greatest gift of the internet is access to unlimited ideas about other ways to shop, bank, watch, learn, listen and share. The old companies who made money from the old ways to do those things controlled access even to ideas about how we could do them.

The first revolution has already happened and we’re all in our own personal driving seats.

The second revolution is when companies and governments try desperately to understand and be part of the first revolution. First they try to be hip and down with the kids. It doesn’t work, because the kids don’t want the flabby old dude who used to tell them to tidy their room hanging around with them. Companies who used to tell them to listen to shitty music and wear terrible clothes aren’t welcome at that party.

They’re not unwelcome because they’re necessarily uncool. It’s perfectly possible to be old and be very, very cool. Ask these folks:

These people are cool because they’re being themselves. The old companies are not welcome because they’re not authentic. They’re trying to be something and someone they’re not. They’re putting on the young people’s clothes and trying to use their language and it’s just a bit *cringe*. No one wants to see that old guy in tight jeans.

Old brands need to embrace their own coolness instead of trying to adopt other people’s.

Time to stop being “disruptive” and “challenging”. That’s a young brand’s game. Be experienced. Be laid back. Be successful. Be generous, because when you’re old and cool and successful you can afford to be. Don’t try to stop the wild young things from being disruptive and challenging, help them go the right way and avoid the mistakes you made when you were the wild ones. You remember that right? Let the young ones yell and rage and in time they’ll calm down and realise you weren’t wrong about everything.

The revolution wasn’t televised. But the results are being seen all over the world.