Monday, December 29, 2008

Hackers and Brand Marketing

Stray thoughts about something not directly related to security...

Some people "get" branding, and some don't.  And some that get branding don't even know that they get it, and certainly wouldn't call it "brand marketing" or heaven forbid, "personal branding"- but they do a better job of establishing and promoting their identity than some marketing professionals do with their products.

If you go to a hacker event- such as DefCon, Shmoocon, Day-Con, etc., you will see a lot of people who exhibit distinctive identities through a variety of means.  Specialized areas of expertise, diverse opinions, unique fashion statements, "interesting" personalities and more make people stand out, even in a crowd of hackers.  Most hackers also have a passion for technology and an eagerness to share information.

Unique identities, passion, sharing information- those are assets which can really "build brands".  Some hackers do these things out of ego, but it seems to come naturally to most.  Now think about how many professionally driven brands could really use some individuality and passion.

That's nice, Jack, but so what?  We often have to sell ourselves and our ideas to achieve our goals (or to simply get our jobs done)- and just like in traditional sales and marketing, if the brand is established and has a good reputation, it is easier to make the sale.  I'm not suggesting resorting to Media Prostitution, but it can't hurt to stop and think about "brand image" occasionally.