9 lessons planking can teach brands

1. Sometimes, there’s just no way of knowing why something becomes a phenomenon. But momentum is addictive – once an idea takes hold, it assumes a life of its own. After a time, it is because it is. The power of an idea is not in actually in the creation, it’s in the radiation and the subsequent take-up.

2. Remember though that a global idea can still be an idea going nowhere. It can be just one more thing to wile away a moment. The numbers can be impressive, but they don’t always point to something meaningful. A million downloads is often a million free clicks. That’s not the basis for a business model.

3. Life is most powerful, and perhaps becomes most alive, when it is visual. Powerful images move us to laugh, share and try. Give people amazing things to look at, and they will literally stop and do so.

4. Posts are the new fingerprints. Give people a simple but fun way to participate in something, especially one they can easily record and share on their social networks, and they will take to the idea with gusto. It’s their chance to put their mark on the world in the moment.

5. In the right setting, weird is a competitive dynamic. People can, and will, seek to outdo each other over the strangest things. One person’s extreme is another person’s starting point. Up the ante, but please, do it responsibly.

6. Andy Warhol was right – and wrong. Everyone will be famous, potentially – but probably for seconds rather than minutes. Shorten the time to get to your story. As the social network continues to expand, I have no doubt that the six degrees of separation will be replaced by six clicks.

7. The thirst for the new can be cynical – people can push the ridiculous just for the sake of it, just to see what happens. Equally, they can promote an opinion or take a swipe, just for the hell of it. Understand your reputation management in that light.

8. Official disapproval is a huge incentive, especially when it’s accompanied by media coverage laced with enticing terms like danger, stupidity and recklessness. Sometimes you want the politicians and the authorities tutting what you do. It might just make you more credible.

9. The search for excitement is unrelenting. Equally, in a word beset by pressures, there can be something unrealistically interesting about the inane. People say they have no time to pay attention to anything, but they are always on the hunt for something interesting to do, however fleeting, that allows them to escape the daily grind. Look for the contrast opportunities.

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