Pirates: A Branding Success Story.


I write quite a bit about the modern “pirate” as it relates to New Media.  AdRants has highlights from a talk given by Brian Collins about branding and the original pirates:

“Back in 1748, if you had the misfortune of being a single bobbing ship at sea when a tattered vessel with a skull and crossbones crossed your path, you knew instantly what to expect.

“You’re fucked.” (Collins, verbatim.)

“As you sail closer,” he continued, “the brand promise is reinforced by everything you see.”

A cannon fires, shots go off: the brand promise becomes brand immersion. In three hours, maybe less, the brand delivers everything it promised: death, pillage, and maybe a not-so-promising hostage situation.

The fulfillment of the skull-and-crossbones “brand promise” remained so consistent over fifty-plus years that, by the 1800s, pirates didn’t even need to waste gunpowder. They had only to raise the black flag to yield the desired results (surrender, animal fear, free doubloons and maybe some teabags).

Pirates (TM!) succeeded because they connected brand promise to performance.”

This is a great demonstration of what a brand is and how it becomes “trusted.”  The whole post is worth a read!


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