Despite government unwillingness to confirm or deny the existence of this elite, special forces unit, high level sources who’ve asked not to be identified have told us that the division known as Brand Team Six has been operating since about 2009, from domestic US bases, and is deployed on high value missions, exclusively behind the lines (so to speak). One spokesman who used a creative word-play from the “War on Terror” declaimed, “they are the spearhead for the ‘War on Terrible–‘ crusaders against those forces of big agency and bureaucratic branding who promote the kind of hollow message nonsense that threatens the primacy of the Great American Brand–one of the last areas of leadership our nation has left.”
When a call goes out– from a business adrift, or just some beleaguered CEO who can’t understand why the unique selling idea that has differentiated his brand for decades has been supplanted by TV commercials that feature two dogs trying to jump-start a rabbit, and a tagline like “A Passion to Perform,” the Team will deploy. They are trained to insert by Parachute, Submarine or Reception Desk, secure the #1 brand asset and restore a set-apart brand idea–the kind Madison Avenue used to know how to do– in about one meeting, maybe two. Then they extract undetected through the bar or The Capital Grille, whichever takes American Express.
Sources confirm that while sightings are extremely brief, “you know when they’ve been there.” There are no reliable figures on the size or membership of Brand Team Six. We will keep reporting as information becomes available.
They said they didn’t want leaders, a brand, a message, anything organized because those were the cynical tools of the corporations. Their reasoning frustrated me a little (Okay, enough to shout back at the TV) — because if they did have a cause that was important enough to camp out in the park for, presumably it would be good to make more people aware of it, and to enlist more people to support it. The tools of leadership they were rejecting were also the tools of Jesus, Lincoln, Roosevelt, King– whose success in creating coherent messages and advancing causes the Occupiers might admire.
Well, if they hadn’t noticed, the Occupy Wall Streeters stumbled on some great branding elements anyway. They’ve added two superb Micro-Scripts to the lexicon that are going global, helping millions of people focus on a big idea: “We are the 99%” is one. The flipside Micro-Script is just as effective: The bad guys who’ve gamed the whole system are the 1%. Whether you agree with their math or not, it lays out the problem starkly, smacks of a real fact, and has been picked up everywhere in the media, the blogosphere and private conversations world wide because it’s so simple and repeatable. It’s viral man. The tool couldn’t be any slicker if it was created at Saatchi and Saatchi.
Just goes to show that branding is never optional. Because humans do it unconsciously and instantly whether you want them to or not. When you Micro-Script your message so succinctly and effectively into little story bites that people want to repeat– create true Micro-Scripts– they get picked and used by millions of people who you’ve helped to think and say the same thing. That’s what branding is–whether its for a noble cause or the forces of evil. The Occupy Wall Street people acted naive and silly when they said they didn’t want to put out a coherent message. But they managed to do it anyway–with a few Micro-Scripts for an idea whose time had come.
We just got a make-your-day kind of email from a distinguished man of marketing named Arik Abel, Head of Digital Services at an Agency called French, West, Vaughn in NC. Arik who does a lot of PR work along with everything else, decided to create a Micro-Script “quick start” guide to put up on the wall in his office, so folks could reference the keys to Micro-Scripting in a marketing communications emergency–just like they post on the backroom wall at restaurants for how to perform CPR. He called it the Micro-Script Cheat-Sheet. You can download the actual one at Arik’s blog. or see below. It’s a super distillation of “carry-on” wisdom to remember when you need it. I’m going to print it out and put it on my wall. Just like an airline pilot who looks at the same checklist every time he lands, great communicators need to remind themselves–talk to themselves even–to heed the great fundamentals every day, every time they communicate. A boat captain says to himself silently, every time he enters the ship channel, “Red Right Returning.” A little mantra, a little script that aligns everything in one action. Communicators must remember mantras like “Specific is terrific” and “Find the Headline in the Copy” and the “Simple Message Wins” and think of the basic constructions that make sound bites into “Story Bites–” Micro-Scripts that is. Thanks Arik.
Here’s the link to Cheat-Sheet .pdf. Bill