Friday, March 02, 2018

New INC. Magazine Blog Post by 1871 CEO Howard Tullman

Why You Should Never Let Kylie Jenner Endorse Your Product
Authenticity, not hype, is the best way to build your brand.

 CEO, 1871@tullman

I'm sure that it was a major PR and ego blow to the team at Snap -- and apparently to Snap's market cap -- when, to the utter surprise and amazement of the social media morons who breathlessly track and "report" on all this commotion and noise, one member of the hyper-alliterative Kardashian family (does it really matter which one?) abruptly decided to abandon her stupefying Snapchatting in favor of some equally superficial and petulant posturing on Instagram. This news somehow disturbed the social media universe and the stock market at the same time. More importantly, it also confirmed once again that having your product or service in Facebook's sights is never a good place for any young business to be. 

I'd say that you can really begin to believe the end of the world is near when the allegedly rational and arguably analytical stock market reacts instantly, if thoughtlessly, to trivial and wholly manufactured "news" like this and immediately erases a billion dollars of value. True, this is a stock that was and continues to be grossly overvalued. I guess, in that respect, you could say, "no harm, no foul," since this was a business which deserved getting its just rewards. Or maybe the better way to put it is that, if your whole business is built on social media hype and fundamental lies from Day One, then it's entirely fitting that your future fortunes should live or die based on the same artificial factoids and frenzied reliance on the feeble functionaries who make up this make-believe world.  
But the good news is that I think we may finally be coming to the belated realization that the vast majority of the world -- including most of the people who pay attention (engagement, not eyeballs), really buy things (actual revenues), and matter materially to marketplaces (making money, not made-up metrics) -- just don't care about celebrities any more.
Movie stars don't matter much when movie theater attendance is at a 20-year low. Traditional TV is in the toilet, with half the millennials now totally disconnected and cutting the cable so TV "stars" are also toast. And since so many of us no longer believe what we see on the tube anyway, the credibility of our newscasters is colossally low. Amazon is now the most trusted brand in the U.S. and because we all get our news from social media channels -- not TV -- the traditional networks' "brands" are busted -- most people couldn't tell you the actual source of any news they know, but they can typically tell you where they saw it on social media. 
We just don't care what any of these people do or say; their inauthentic product endorsements and touching tributes are increasingly ineffective and not worth the inflated costs of securing them; and as their recent, and massively counter-productive, political involvement convincingly demonstrated, we certainly don't care what they "think," if that's what it can be called. YouTube lost about $300 million learning these new realities a couple of years ago when it tried to launch 100 celebrity-based channels and no one showed up to watch

And when you move downstream from the arguably talented film folks to the cretins that pass for reality-TV celebs, things get even worse. It's hard to imagine that anyone could care about the actions, antics, attitudes and altercations of these C-level, no-talent bozos who are unceasingly foisted upon us by the people who program cable and curate the new digital media channels. If the people in the control booths think that we identify with these idiots (rather than laughing at them), they're even more out of touch than anyone suspected. 
Humiliation TV jumped the shark years ago, but clearly not everyone got the message. The current cast of characters on most of these shows are people we're much more likely to pity than to regard as peers. Ignorance in action is never attractive when we're trying to learn something of value. Interestingly, if you track the evolution of Shark Tank, the shift is very clear. The balance of featured businesses has moved dramatically toward winners and celebrations of success, and no longer do we see anywhere near the number of clueless creators who used to be a big part of the program.

Peer-to-peer programming, people we can relate to and respect, and enhanced mediated connections are where we're headed. There's a very good reason that Netflix, which is totally data-driven and responsive to our demonstrated desires, is now bigger than cable. We're looking for substance, not sparkle. Live streaming media -- whether it's interactive education, practical conversations, or group exercising -- are the models for the future. We want a sense of community, we want shared experiences, we want real and valuable content, and we want authentic communication and sharing. 
The Kardashian krash tells you that most of the media guys still haven't gotten the message. That's why the medium is such a mess.   

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