1,000 Marketing Lessons From “41”

By J.P. Lincoln


Our 41st President, George Bush (the industrial strength “H.W.” version), had many high water marks in his career from a PR perspective. None were more memorable for me than his 1988 RNC nomination acceptance speech when he evoked the imagery of “1,000 points of light.” His description of America’s volunteer organizations “spreading like stars throughout the Nation, doing good” could also apply to an effective PR campaign.

Each story we secure gets our clients closer to a new sale. It’s rarely just one article, segment or “hit” as we call them that’s the tipping point to a sales bonanza, however large.  It’s about stocking up impressions – or points of light. It generally takes at the very least five impressions to translate into a purchase. What’s an impression? An advertisement they see or hear. An article they read online on in print. A feature segment on television. A shelf talker. Product placement on screen. A mention in a blog. Word of mouth from a friend or acquaintance. Repeated occurrences of these events. (see the blog post from our own SVP Bill Hoversten on the topic “Why First Impressions Don’t Matter.”)

We are in the impression business and rather than putting all our eggs into one big “media moment” or event or ad, we think the 1,000 points of light (lots of touch points, everywhere) approach almost always wins in the end.

With all due respect to “Strategery” – a none-too-subtle nod to his son G.W. Bush – trying to convince consumers who you are with your branding loses ground to just listening. It’s not who you say you are; it’s who they say you are.

Again, our 1,000 points of light – generating multiple impressions from MANY points of view – goes a lot farther than an overwrought, carefully worded ad trumpeting your virtues to one specific audience. You can’t be all things to all people anyway, so why not just get your message out there in as many places as you can?

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