Can we talk? Whether you love Joan Rivers or worship the quick sand she walks on, you’ve got to give her credit —she’s a survivor.
I first saw Joan doing stand up at a Boston comedy club about ten years ago. I laughed so hard that by the end of the night my cheeks hurt. While I had a lot of laughs that night, I hadn’t thought much about Joan, until recently, when a friend recommended I watch Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. The documentary captures a year in the life of the comedienne while looking back on the highs and lows of a career that spans four decades.
The film made me realize that Joan is much more than a comedienne. She’s a marketing maven. In fact, Joan can teach us all a thing or two about marketing, perseverance, and the power of laughter. So here goes, the Joan Rivers’ guide to better branding.
Be Unique: Joan has a personality all her own. She says what she wants, when she wants. She’s earned a reputation, for better or worse, as a loose cannon. But that’s what people love about her. She’s one of a kind. How would you describe your brand’s personality? Understanding your brand’s core personality traits will help guide all creative and strategic marketing decisions. It will also help you develop a clear and consistent voice for social networking. If you don’t know your brand’s personality, start surveying your customers, clients or donors.
Target a Specific Audience: Joan loves the gays. “Gays were the first ones who found me, in the Village so I feel very akin to them and very connected,” says Rivers. Today, Joan starts every live show by asking, “Where are my gays? In return, Joan has a gaggle of gays at every show. So what’s the lesson here? Know thy audience. Whether your targeting soccer moms, stock brokers or evangelical ministers is irrelevant. What matters is that you choose an audience and study them like a book. Learn their nuances. What are their common bonds? What inspires them? What keeps them up at night? Learn to speak the native language and spend time wherever they congregate.
Be Ubiquitous: Joan is omnipresent. Recent sightings have included a new TV series for Oxygen, hawking jewelry on the Home Shopping Channel and a Super Bowl spot for Go Daddy. Did I miss anything? The point is, Joan doesn’t rely on one marketing method to reach her audience— and neither should you. Adopt a strategic marketing approach that incorporates multiple touch points. Think PR, social media, word of mouth, print, web advertising and direct mail.
Experiment: Joan Rivers is like an inflatable punching bag. You knock her down and she bounces back up. She’s had her share of success and failure, just like the rest of us. But what’s admirable about Joan is that she’s not afraid to try something new. There is no magic formula to executing a successful marketing/PR campaign. The trick is to take chances and dare to be different. Need some inspiration? Check out this PR pitch from the CEO and COO of CodeWeaver to New York Times technology columnist David Pogue. Pogue said it was one of the best pitches he’s ever received. I think it’s genius.
And last but not least, keep on laughing because as Joan say’s “If you don’t laugh you die.”