It is a very simple fact of life that the thing that most people are interested in is other people. Just look at the mass obsession over Princess Diana or Jade Goody. And as marketeers we can take advantage of this interest to get our messages communicated more easily to the people we want to reach.
I know about this because I have done it a number of times. At Imagine in Liverpool with David Lawson, Mark Butler, John Gibson and Ian Weatherburn. But most of all with Eugene Evans, who even got invited to No 10 Downing Street to meet Margaret Thatcher. Then at Codemasters with the Darling brothers, who got to meet the Queen as a result and with the Oliver twins. It is interesting that the Darling boys were in business with their father Jim for 20 years, but I didn’t make him famous. When the government came to hand out honours the boys both got CBEs and Jim got nothing.
The master of building and using fame in the British game industry is Peter Molyneux (he has an OBE, can you begin to see the connection here?) who has been relentless at self promotion for a long time. It has made him a lot of money and sold a lot of games so you can’t knock him for it.
The thing about being famous is that you transcend the industry so you reach a whole level of new and different media. Also you become a respected voice and your name appears in the strangest of places. Just as Jade Goody’s has in this article.
So here are some tools:
- Press releases. Just about every press release has a quote in, Rob Uncle is delighted with the deal: “We are going to make a lot of money here”. This will not work to make him famous. To make him famous he needs to say something startling: “This game will cause the rotation of the world to stop at 9AM GMT tomorrow”. Or, and this is much better, the press release needs to be about him: “Ace programmer George Eek simulates Kylie Minogue with artificial intelligence breakthrough”. If you keep your ear to the ground in your organisation and keep your creativity switched on you will soon come up with suitable stories.
- Interviews. These are great for lazy journalists and excellent for getting your messages over. Hence the eternal popularity of the TV chat show. In our industry we are always dealing with secrets so people love to read interviews to see if they can get enough information to double guess such stuff. So it is worth promoting people for being interviewed all the time, everyone wins.
- Articles. Perfection, your would be famous person gets their message over in their own words. And each time they do it they accumulate more fame. This humble little blog you are reading has brought me more fame than 30 years of working in home computers and video games in fairly high profile positions.
- Public speaking. A lot of people are shy of doing this. No need, treat it as if you are talking to one person, but revel in the power of getting your message over in the most immediate and personal way to key audiences. GDC and E3 are typical events where you can become famous in half an hour. Look at how the arch marketeer, Steve Jobs, uses public speaking as one of his main marketing tools. And look at how Microsoft use it in breadth and depth in their organisation to get their messages over.
- Videos. I cannot begin to over emphasise just how important videos have become in marketing. And most marketeers are well behind the curve of what is happening in the real world. Videos become a lot more interesting when you put people in them, so once again you can build fame. Any marketeer in an international publisher should have no problem in getting literally millions of views for a video. That is a lot of influence.
- Publicist. Max Clifford in the UK is perhaps the most well known, but there are plenty more. These people use their press contacts to carefully build and manage your fame. They know what can and what can’t be done. And the best of them are brilliant at their job.
In all this don’t forget the message. It has to be interesting enough to catch and hold people’s attention whilst at the same time getting your key marketing messages across. Most importantly, go and do it. Our industry is lagging well behind in creating our own celebrities to represent what we do. If we did more of this we would be taken a lot more seriously in the world. And it is one of the easiest forms of marketing to do.