Thursday, November 29, 2012

we are the mods #momentum

Thick as Thieves is a new book, that explores the story of The Jam ('the best band in the f****** world') through the collective stories of the fans, and associates of the group.

Authors Stuart Deabill and Ian Snowball describe their work as being 'produced by the fans for the fans'

For me also, the story of the Jam is pretty much the story of growing up in a provincial outpost in the 1970's.

My thanks go to Petar who pointed me to the above 25 minute promo documentary which gives a bit of a flavour of the content of the book, as various fans recount their take on the Jam phenomenon in their own youth.

There's also a couple of pointers/reminders for us from a marketing perspective on how people may come together around an idea.

In 2012 in agency land we still receive the challenge from brand marketers asking us to help 'build a community' around their brand.

My answer is still the same as it was in 2007.

'How about building your brand around communities?' How does the brand fit in people's lives? What role does it play? If any?

About 7 minutes in, journo and 78/79 era mod, Garry Bushell talks about the pivotal moment in 1978 when the Jam headlined at the 11,000 capacity Wembley Arena.

This was a major leap in venue size for bands of the broadly 'punk' era.

'Although there had been mods around since '76, in little individual pockets, even as late as 1978 they didn't realise that each other existed.

So by the time we had the Great British Music Festival [in November 1978]...that's the first time that all these Mods, who were consciously calling themselves Mods...that's the first time they realised that there was more than just them...then it really began to crystalise as a movement'

Because - and here's the thing - movements aren’t driven by so-called (or self-anointed) ‘influencers’, but can be sparked by a mass of individuals who influence each other and copy each other.

The key point of this being that when they can see each other, so they can copy each other.

That's how we get momentum and scale.

The Jam didn't invent the movement but they became the focal point that then acted to unify the disparate groups.

In 1978 it was harder for the mods to see each other. It took two years to get from the Marquee club or pubs in Fulham to Wembley Arena (and scale).

Today this can happen in an instant.

So, brands, where are the disparate groups out there that you can serve?

Can you make it so they can see each other?

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