WTF?! Cirque du Soleil and Reinvention
Late in August, I’ll teach my brand management class for executive MBA students.
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I jotted down a few notes as I was reading it that I will share and riff on to flesh out my thinking today.
“Become a brand”
Cultique and the dismissal of research
“Don’t meet a lot of first-time Cirque attendees”
Gen Z and “Why don’t they love Cirque’s brand?”
“Part of the brand that doesn’t have to show relevance.”
Becoming a brand:
One of the fun things I’ve looked at recently was the proclamation that the rebranding of the Commanders football team where the team in charge of creating the new brand picked Commanders because it would be easiest for them to create brand extensions from.
That’s putting the cart before the horse.
If a brand doesn’t have any brand equity, you can’t create brand extensions or brand partnerships. There has to be substance to the brand for any of these things to stand up.
In the case of Cirque du Soleil, you build a brand. You don’t become a brand.
To me, they have a brand, but it is one that needs to be refreshed not rebuilt.
One of the big misconceptions about Steve Jobs and Apple is that people seem to believe that Apple and Steve Jobs never did any form of market research.
They did tons of it.
The lawsuit between Apple and Samsung lawsuit uncovered the reality that Apple had tons of market research.
Where I agree with the Cultique team is that when you are creating something entirely new, you have to make a leap of faith.
The research will only get you so far.
Roger Martin wrote about strategic thinking recently and his advice was to consume information constantly.
I agree with that.
You can make a leap if you are always in touch with the world around you. You don’t create leaps in a vacuum.
You need to be of the world, but independent of the way things have always been.
The challenge of operating in a vacuum is summed up in the idea that one of the executives tells the writer that they don’t see a lot of first-time Cirque attendees.
That’s a symbol of a lack of market orientation and the challenge of sucking on your own exhaust.
Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
That’s a problem.
You can’t be everything to everyone.
What’s cool to me isn’t necessarily cool to you.
“Cool” is an adjective that is really meaningless and can’t be defined so it is an easy out if something doesn’t work.
“People just didn’t understand it.”
“Why Doesn’t Gen Z love Cirque’s Brand?”
First, Gen Z is a big diverse thing and selling ideas based on demographics is one of the real sleight of hand BS moves that marketers use when they don’t know what they are talking about.
Second, “Gen Z” or anyone doesn’t love Cirque’s brand because it isn’t relevant to their decision making process.
Why is that happening?
Lack of awareness
The list could go on. (Give me your thoughts in the comments.)
It isn’t your customer’s job to figure out how to love you, in fact, the idea of “brand love” is ridiculous anyway. In my years of working on and with brands, brand love maybe happens with the sports teams you follow and the schools you attended.
Other than that, there are rare exceptions that prove this rule.
Which brings us to the last note about relevance.
Cirque du Soleil and Cultique are on a mission to find an area where the brand doesn’t show relevance?
Relevance is a brand’s currency.
Without relevance, you have nothing.
You have navel gazing.
You have BS.
If you aren’t relevant to your market, you are wasting time, money, and energy.
What do y’all think?
I’m going to toy with this a bit more and probably look at it through the entertainment lens at some point.