viking longships

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Top 10 Dark Matter Matters posts of 2009


Benjamin sez you all deserve some props!

Ah, late December. The time when bloggers get lazy and start reposting their old crap rather than writing new material. We here at Dark Matter Matters are no exception. For the Dark Matter Matters top 10 posts of 2009, I’ve split the list into two categories. First we have 5 posts that were popular with readers, followed by 5 posts that were popular with, well, me.

Five posts popular with readers:

  1. Brand positioning tip #1: points of parity and points of difference: Perhaps it’s the combination of analyzing Mexican food and brand positioning, but this post, the first in a series of tips that I wrote starting in June, is the most read post I’ve done yet on the blog.
  2. Tom Sawyer, whitewashing fences, and building communities online:  Written in September, this post was the first in a series about community-building where I talk about the difference between creating communities to do your work for you and being a humble member of a community larger than just you.
  3. Brand positioning tip #3: the brand mantra: A short post explaining Scott Bedbury’s concept of a brand mantra.
  4. Maslow’s hierarchy of (community) needs: Comparing a company’s community motivations to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, introduces the Iain Gray hierarchy of community needs.
  5. The top 10 books behind Dark Matter Matters: Exactly what it says it is. Books that inspire me.

Five posts that hardly anyone read. Give them a chance, people:

  1. Tom Sawyer Part 2: where can your company pitch in?: As usual, the sequel isn’t as good as the original, but I still like this post, which has really helped me focus some of my ideas on corporate humility.
  2. How to conduct a symphony of communications: Compares the role of a 21st century communications professional to a conductor in a symphony.
  3. Sharing your brand story (and here’s ours): Introduced the Red Hat Story book (including a downloadable copy).
  4. Why did I just write a post about Viking longships: Compares the job of brand manager to the guy at the front of a Viking longship. Yeah, I wouldn’t read it from that bobo article title either, but this is the kind of post that makes me happy.
  5. Markepoetry Part 2: It turns out I have needs: Talking about making (only) myself happy, no list of the Dark Matter Matters posts that no one reads would be complete without including one of my pieces of markepoetry– the language of marketing, made beautiful. Basically, I take real statements that I find in marketing copy and transform them from ugly marketing-ese into poetry. I thought this one was nice.

So as we close out 2009, I just want to say thanks for everything.

I’m approaching one one year of writing this blog, and it sure has been a lot of fun. I still can’t believe I’ve written over 100 posts. What has made it the most fun for me is getting to meet lots of new people, while also becoming closer to people I already know.

I’m looking forward to 2010. I’m sure we’ll have lots to talk about.

Why did I just write a post about Viking Longships?


vikingshipA great brand can seem from the outside to be an awesome speedboat, like the kind they rode around on Miami Vice… Just grab the wheel, hit the throttle, and send it screaming through the water to wherever you want to go. He who controls the brand has all of the power to steer and go wherever he wants… right?

I’ve always envied those brand managers (kind of…) who have a marketing budget of millions and can go out and “buy” an image for their brand using advertising. They are driving the speedboats. If they want, they can associate their brand with skydivers and bungee jumping (Do the Dew, man!) or whatever they choose.

But the reality is that a brand like Red Hat is more like a Viking longship. Here’s what Wikipedia says about how longships moved:

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