Jan 22, 2008

Eight for '08

>> Karl Carter - adage.com
Despite all the changes ahead this year, there are some tried-and-true rules that should be followed to make sure that the culture picks up on what it is you're doing and runs with it. This is about true adoption. Based on 17 years of hard lessons in subculture, here are my eight rules on how to do it right in 08 and beyond.

  1. Commit to the culture. This is the first rule. Everything has to be grounded in a commitment to the culture you are targeting. That culture is already shaped and in place -- and will ultimately drive the adoption process
  2. Make yourself useful. You have to begin with quality product, and one that actually fills a need. Take your time, get it right and then go to market. If it's crap throw it back (because the customer certainly will). Remember: You can't buy relevance, it has to be earned.
  3. Don't be afraid to lead. Even if you're not a mainstream success every time, those that are thought-leaders will see you doing something cool, creative and different and respect THAT. In a sea of copycats, only the strong survive.
  4. The Street's are watching. Who you align with, what you support and how you communicate are all as important as what you have to say.
  5. Respect the scene. In every city around this world, there is an undercurrent of coolness going on that can be tapped into by working with the right partners. These are people that have earned the trust of the scene they represent because they have stayed committed to their craft when others fell off.
  6. Trust is earned, not bought. Only after you innovate, fall, get up and do it again do you start to earn the trust of your peers.
  7. Realize that you are not the audience. If it takes you out of your comfort zone, great. That means that you're starting to learn something. Better yet, make a real effort to diversify your team with people who have a non-traditional background. They can help massively.
  8. GIVE BACK. The last (but not least) rule. It's as simple as brand Karma. Brands cannot continue to take and never give anything back to the communities they tap to purchase. Support organizations that are doing work to better the world and the reward will be tenfold. People in these grassroots organizations are their own subculture and are a massive force in this country.


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