After accumulating a following of some 29101 friendz, Chris Brogan unfortunately had the wherewithal, or audacity – e-dacity? - to leverage, or cannibalize, his digital apostles. After many years of development and nurturing, Brogan stunned his digital followers by appearing at the top of Mount SM with his carved tablets of “Trust Agents.”
Many purchased, some abstained. But all took notice. Before the “Bestseller” ink could dry, the calls of betrayal and deceit were already being tossed about in the blogosphere. “Et tu, Brute? Seth Godin wasn’t enough?
I’ve never met Chris Brogan. I’ve never had a digital exchange with him. And I did not purchase or read his book. But I’m one of his biggest fans. Seriously.
To me, the good news is that this sanctimonious event helped define and bring attention to the real currency within the SM space. You.
There are only two reasons why you would have purchased the book. You were one of the 29101 friendz. Or you were influenced by one of the 29101 friendz. The laws of marketing gave way to the laws of inertia; and Brogan became a New York Times Bestseller.
Now, Brogan did his part, for sure. He nurtured and embraced his growing “tribe.” He produced a product with great perceived benefit…rinse and repeat.
Brogan’s efforts also symbolize, to me, the completion of the transition from Marketing 101 to 2.0. His customer base - excuse me, his “tribe” - may not have been completely virtuous…but it was most certainly virtual. If Chris could have pulled this achievement off without physically having the book printed, however, I would have been more impressed.
Now can we all get back to work?
If your goal is to write a book, write it. If you’re the next great band, go for it. But, just as our digital music requires a digital player, a digital-only book still requires a digital reader. Until we all have some sort of wireless processor embedded within our physical selves, or until we mutate into our avatar existence, our digital world will still have to co-exist with (and within) our physical world.
As marketing professionals, we should recognize that Chris Brogan’s efforts represent a small, but significant, marker of the challenges and opportunities our clients face every day.
But what if Brogan was selling washers and dryers? What if it were a new brand of ice cream or laundry detergent? These types of products, represent the diverse channels of dynamic communications that are required to successfully sustain a brand in today’s marketplace. Cross-platform integration isn’t just about corporate efficiencies. The circle of commerce is now complete. And, although it’s certainly about the conversation, it also has to be about implementation.
Thanks to CB, we may do less talking about talking.