Creative genius and revered adman George Lois’ book “Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!)” has been making its rounds at the Bradford Group office. You may have even seen our wonderful intern Amber’s blog on the book. As an unabashedly unashamed bandwagoner, I jumped at the chance to read a quick and inspiring book for some extra cash (see: The Best of Better Book Club).
A dolla makes me holla honey boo boo!
Let me tell you, these Groupies are on to something. From the first page of the book, I was hooked. 10/10, would recommend. The book is full of tips and ideas that will get your wheels spinning, but one, in particular, stood out to me:
Why be a Creative Thinker — when you can be a Cultural Provocateur!
Great graphic and verbal communication depends on understanding and adapting to the culture, anticipating the culture, criticizing changes in the culture, and helping to change the culture. Any entrepreneur, inventor, artist, graphic designer, adman, fashion designer, architect, editor, doctor, lawyer, politician — anyone who instinctively feels the way to go is against a conservative, indoctrinated society and bucks the trend, and who understands the zeitgeist of the time — has the passion and capability to become a cultural provocateur. So if you’re a young person with an entrepreneurial spirit who aspires to succeed, not only in business, but in your life, your mission is not to sedate, but to awake, to disturb, to communicate, to command, to instigate and even to provoke.
This is a big idea, and I only have so many words to address it, so I’m going to discuss it as it relates specifically to pop culture (my favorite thing) and social media (my other favorite thing). As a self-described pop culture vulture, I find so much value in this idea, and have never understood people that don’t keep up with and/or aren’t fascinated with pop culture’s inner workings. Being out of touch is obviously never a good thing, but it can be a death sentence for your business’ social media presence.
In 2012, CelebBoutique.com, an online retailer based in the U.K., noticed that #Aurora was trending on Twitter. Without checking the hashtag, they took the opportunity to use the trending topic to promote the “Aurora” dress on their website.
Big mistake. #Aurora was trending because of the horrific mass shooting that took place that day at a movie theater in Aurora, Co. CelebBoutique.com’s tweet was spotted and screenshots were taken before they could delete it or apologize for their huge mishap. This mistake is a prime example of the importance of being cognizant of what’s going on around you before blasting things off into cyber space.
On the other (happier) side of things, incorporating pop culture into your social media strategy can invoke conversations and provide engaging, relevant content. This can be anything from using slang to posting an industry-related meme to referencing pop culture as it relates to your business.
I’m not suggesting your Twitter should be enveloped with so much pop culture or slang that even the hippest millennial struggles to comprehend. A tech company, for example, could spark conversation by posting about the digitally morphing makeup donned by Lady Gaga during her tribute to David Bowie at the 2016 Grammy’s. With a little creative thinking, you can tie pop culture into your strategy and you’ll be, as they say on social media, #goals in no time.