Tuesday, October 10, 2006

That's hot.

I'm not a big fan of Paris Hilton, and I'm even less of a fan of the term "hot" and her coining of the phrase "that's hot." Anyway. Rolling Stone's annual Hot List issue is out. I was not mentioned. Again. I'm OK with that, though. I'm not sure hot is a good thing to shoot for. For a brand, a product, an idea. Hot is a temporary state.

Hot, however, is the destination for many brands. "Make me hot." "Make this hot." "We need to be hot." PR is often responsible for perpetuating the heat. Public relations is quickly reduced to media hits and impressions. Publicity. Wham-bam events. Flash bulbs and column inches. The hope is, with the right amount of chatter, correct media placements and favorable buzz, a brand or person will be hot. For a limited time.

And that's what gets my goat. If I had a goat. It actually just ticks me off. But it fuels my belief in the power of building relationships. Hot is a fling. Hot is a high. But heat cools and soon you're left remembering the days when your brand/spokesperson/product was on all the talk shows, caught at a club with Paris and registering huge MySpace profile views.

So, what's the solution? I believe it's a change in strategy and expectation. Move the strategy toward brand sustainability. Companies and individuals rethink brand goals in terms of sustainability and marketers (especially public relations practitioners) begin acting as agents of sustainability. Seek the marriage over the fling. Seek consistency over a cover story.

Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with a media blitz. There's nothing wrong with promotions or a whirlwind awareness campaign. As long as there's a broader strategy that brought a brand to that blitz and will continue to guide it after the late-night shows are booked.

Listening to - Gomez, How We Operate


Anonymous Jeff Risley said...

You're right. And I think what you're suggesting will work for private companies. But in my experience, public companies care about "quarterly sustainability," no matter what else they claim to care about. Until quarterly guidance dies, hot will prevail.

P.S. I wasn't mentioned in the hot issue either. Clearly they didn't come to Kansas City, did they.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

The fun thing about hotness and trends, though, is that you can recycle them when they become "retro." If we didn't get totally sick of something when it's new and subsequently played out, how could we make fun of it, parody it in pop culture, survive several copycats, and then be nostalgic for it later? (See "I Love the '80s/'90s/Last Week)

11:23 AM  

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