Breaking the Rules

Breaking the Rules

Everyday, wherever we turn, there are more and more rules about what we should do, how we should do it, and when doing it is appropriate. The government makes rules. Corporations make rules. Professions create standards (rules).

We are told there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. And, since most of us are law-abiding types, we live our lives trying to play by the rules, follow the standards, accept the generally accepted norms.

So I’m curious. Who are the “they” who set the standards? And what makes them the repository for what is “right”?

It is the rule-breakers who change paradigms, which alter our entire way of viewing the world. It is the rule-breakers who create revolutionary products, changing the way we live. It is the rule-breakers who find faster, more efficient ways of doing things.

It is the rule-breakers who are the creators. It is the play-by-the-rules enforcers who guard and maintain the status quo.

And this is as true for marketing as it is for anything else.

So the next time someone tells you there is a “right” way to create a strategy, design a message, brand a product, organize a campaign, implement tactics, or anything else, ask them how they know.

Certainly there are wrong ways to do things. Experience has shown that time and time again. But a “right” way?

The mission of marketing is to make our products and services stand above the crowd. You can’t do that by doing what everyone else is doing. That is the crowd. Perhaps the key rule for marketing should be: Break the rules.

5 thoughts on “Breaking the Rules

  1. I couldnt agree more with your sentiment of ‘The mission of marketing is to make our products and services stand above the crowd. You can’t do that by doing what everyone else is doing. That is the crowd. Perhaps the key rule for marketing should be: Break the rules.’

    However I would add to it and say ‘What rules?’. In the past decade there has been a lemming style quality to most large corporations and I include large Agencies to standardise and create rules more marketing…..that’s just nonesense…..and the result is uninspiring, unengaging marketing…….you only need to look at the companies who do things differently to see there are no rules and it is easy to get noticed. Look at ‘dollar shaving club’ and look at ‘Disney’ 40 years ago……these are companies (people) who know how to entertain people with the idea of excitement, dreams…whatever it s but they dont rely on a 50 page planning presentation from an Agency to then rationalise why they should shortlist some concepts to then be decided by a committee who will invariably say ‘lets make our brand name a bit bigger’. C’mon guys, lets get back to basics. Marketing is nothing more than being clever and creative about how you talk to the people you want to want your product/service.

  2. Keep up the fantastic piece of work, I read few blog posts on this web site and I think that your blog is really interesting and has got lots of wonderful information.

  3. Following the rules produces what the rules were set in place to produce, or control. But does following the rules make you happy?

    Going outside the rules can either bring you great trouble, or great rewards.

    Of course, things are much more difficult when going outside the rules, because not only are they there to keep you under control, but the scrutiny and belittling of malevolent ‘rule-abiding’ peers is sometimes far worse than the ‘rule-enforcers’ or rules themselves.

    Look deep into yourself and decide what sits most comfortably with you. If it’s outside the rules, live by your choice and deal with the repercussions of ‘outsideness’. You’ll be much happier in the long run.

    • Well, if you follow the rules slavishly, particularly in marketing, then you will stand foresquare in the middle of the crowd. Some people like that position. It is certainly safer. Personnally, I’ve never seen conformity as a great asset to society. It certainly makes things easier to manage. But does it yield innovation? Social change? New inventions?

  4. PS: Great post! Thanks so much for bringing this topic into the light – this is not something that’s widely discussed or considered, but should be.

    Twitter: @maverick_CEO

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