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May 10th, 2013

What Charles Ramsey can teach your brand.



Once again, Cleveland is the center of the universe…for all the wrong reasons. And once again, we’d like to attempt to spin a negative into a positive—starting with the fact that after a decade in captivity, three courageous women are alive and have been reunited with their families.

And that’s thanks, in part, to the help of struggling-dishwasher-turned-overnight-viral-sensation Charles Ramsey. And while his animated interviews have provided some highly meme-able online entertainment, auto-tuneable amusement, and shameless PR opportunities for the Golden Arches. We believe Charles can provide us with a few invaluable marketing lessons as well:

Be authentic. It’s not easy carving out a unique brand positioning/voice/personality that only your brand can own. We know it takes courage. But you can do it. Or as Charles put it to CNN’s Anderson Cooper (way more uniquely): “You gotta have some cojones, bro. That’s all it’s about. It’s about cojones on this planet.” (So true, Charles.)

Be a great storyteller. The strongest brands in the world are amazing storytellers. (See any of Apple’s brilliantly simple, storytelling ads over the past 30 years.) Charles’s straight-telling, highly-detailed, non-PC interviews are chilling, poignant, sad, comical, empathetic, polarizing, and philosophical. But always memorable.

Be a hero. Even if your past isn’t perfect, when the opportunity presents itself, you can still do the right thing. (See Adidas.) When asked by a reporter what he’s going to do with the FBI reward money offered for the missing women, Charles pulled a pay-stub from his pocket and said, “I got a paycheck, take that reward and give it to the kidnap victims.”

Thanks, Charles, for reminding us all…this should definitely not be about Charles right now. Or trivial marketing lessons.

To make a secure donation to the victims and their families, click here.