Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Myth Of Cocooning And Throwing The Spear!

How many people know the answer to this question…

How does the story end that features the caterpillar, the cocoon and the butterfly?

Oh, I already know what many of you said. That caterpillar goes and spins a cocoon, hibernates and emerges as a beautiful butterfly.

Am I right?

I’ll admit that some of those butterflies do ultimately emerge out of those cocoons, but not all of them do… and in a moment, I will share with you the rest of the story.

But first, why am I talking about caterpillars and cocoons on a blog about building brand strategy to achieve brand success?

Last year was not a nice year for anyone in business. Market categories shrank, companies went out of business and lots of folks lost jobs.

And the loss of jobs took place out their on the “assembly line” as well as “up there in the office tower.”

Shoot, even if you survived the cuts, you still can’t sleep because you wonder if you are the next in line!

Well here we are 30 days into the year 2010 and what is taking place is becoming more and more common and amplified.

Those that survived the cuts and those that made them are all cocooning!

The walls around the business are getting higher and higher and thicker and thicker. Any thoughts or ideas that might be considered new, novel and different are scorned.

Sources outside of the organization and their historical alignments are considered too high risk.

The ads that are running feature headlines and bullet points that reinforce who the company is, not translate their product or service offering into what it means to you.

There is no question what those CEOs are preaching… It’s the time now to cocoon.

What’s the rest of the story?

It is true the caterpillars that survive cocooning do emerge as charming butterflies. They have glowing wings and they fly and flutter adding color to the landscape.

But… nearly all die in just a few days. That’s right. Dead.

This past week I highlighted examples of television ads that moved beyond communicating rational benefits and embraced the emotional chords of the brand relationship in one of my class lectures.

One of those spots was the Apple Mac ad that ran only once during the broadcast of the 1984 Super Bowl.

The business climate leading up to the year 1984 wasn’t dramatically different than the business climate today.

During that recession, many companies were cocooning, shielding themselves from change and paying homage to the past mantras of the brands.

The star of that ad was a person brave enough to throw a spear right into the heart of the cocoon.

And when she did, there was a tsunami wave of innovation that tore down the walls of protective conventional thought.

Whether you use an Apple computer or not, you cannot deny the fact that Apple has changed the history of how we all communicate, process information and access entertainment.

The Apple ad illustrates what needs to happen today with companies both large and small.

I’m brave enough to throw the spear…anyone want to join me?