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The hidden face of BRW (How ‘remarkable’)

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We’ve historically given BRW a hard time at Anthill Magazine.

Of course, BRW has always been the incumbent leader in the business magazine space. And it’s in our nature to never let the status quo get too comfortable (not simply because we’re jealous). 😉

That’s why I was particularly impressed by a short and sharp speech given my BRW’s editor of ‘The Business End’, Leo D’Angelo Fisher, at the launch of Ben Angel‘s new book last Thursday night.

The book itself is a cheeky number, provocatively titled ‘Sleeping Your Way to the Top – The Ultimate Guide to Attracting & Seducing More Customers ‘, and the evening was filled with fun innuendo and sexy take-homes.

I personally never expected to see the BRW editor – a senior business writer at The Bulletin, no less, and author of  ‘Rethink: The Story of Edward de Bono in Australia’ – exchanging racy quips among the pink balloons and condom giveaways.

I have included some excerpts from his congratulatory speech to Ben:

“Having read the book it seems almost unnatural to see so many successful people in an upright position.”

“I actually heard about Ben before I ever had dealings with him. One of my PR contacts told me that he’d just seen this great public speaker in action and that he was laying them in the aisles…. Now I realise what he meant!”

“[Ben’s book,  Sleeping your Way to the Top] certainly motivated me. I’m thinking of writing another book – the working title is ‘Sleeping Around for the Hell of it’.”

If this is the hidden face of BRW, I’d like to take a photo and frame it.

I also held a brief spot at the podium to congratulate the author – a good friend and regular Anthill contributor – and struggled a little with the right balance (strange indeed, as someone most comfortable at the borders of appropriate).

So, why write this column congratulating an instrument of the competition?

Because, like in Ben Angel’s book, sometimes the greatest marketing achievements can be gained by breaking our ‘guessing machines’ (our brains, which are geared to make assumptions based on past experience and the facts at hand).

I personally had expected a dry speech because that is what my bias toward BRW had lead me to believe – a bias that last Thursday’s event has left me feeling perhaps a tad unfair.

By embracing the outlandish theme of the night, D’Angelo Fisher defied my assumptions to create something ‘remarkable’ that has changed my perception of the BRW brand.

Of course, I’m using this word ‘remarkable’ as marketing doyen Seth Godin would have intended and this post is the evidence. I felt compelled to ‘remark’ on the experience.

Aside from the condoms and goodie-bags, there was one less tangible ‘take-home’ from this event that I’d like to share.

Ben Angels’ book is largely about standing out and making an impression. It is loaded with pop references and personal stories from the author that make it compelling reading. But it also explores this concept of being ‘remarkable’, often by defying convention and occasionally taking risks (because if you try to please everyone all the time… you know the rest).

On this evening, I saw these principles applied in front of my eyes, not orchestrated by Angel’s crew (despite their success staging a rip-roaring event), but by an agent provocateur that I never saw coming. D’Angelo Fisher did more to test my assumptions about the BRW brand than any expensive, well-crafted marketing campaign could ever have achieved.

And there is a lesson in this that even the most polished piece in either of our publications could barely do justice to.

Actions create impressions and perceptions. Impressions and perceptions are the foundations of branding.

And this is the future of successful marketing.

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