Branding and social media lessons from Muhammed

We live in a sandstorm of information.   Blogs, tweets, status updates, emails, sms and everything raining down on us.  In such a desert 1500 years ago a man worked as a merchant meeting various people of the region and listening to them carefully.  He gathered data. And then what did he do?  Inbound marketing!   He went to his cave and developed a religion.  (Through revelation for those that believe this religion, no offence taken I hope !)   In this desert storm of information, make your own oasis.   Provide good information, food for thought, entertainment for all of us tired from crossing the barren wilderness.   Design an environment where we can relax.

And once you have the people in your oasis?  The Prophet eventually went out to preach of course!   His wife converted to his religion. Impressive!  I doubt my wife would be the first convert of anything I came up with!  His family followed.   He built a circle of followers around him, like a well seeded Facebook group.   He left Mecca when things got tough, just like a brand might drop an approach that doesn’t work.   Rebranded himself as he landed in Medina and turned to diplomacy.   Like a company looking for synergies with other partners.   Like finding “friends” in social media, early adopters in technology, allies in the politics of entrepreneurship.

And then, before it got too stale, full scale attack!  The rate of growth of Muhammed’s doctrine is still impressive all these years later. Like a viral YouTube video, his beautiful poetry conquered.   What the verse didn’t do, his sword finished off. One simple message, one doctrine in one language.   Accepting other faiths as long as they had “a book” and paid taxes.   Like letting people post on your wall.  On one common platform for everyone like Facebook or Twitter.

Perhaps most impressive was that the rate of expansion accelerated after he died.  A few decades after Jerusalem fell to the Arabs and the Romans lost to them.   Will Apple keep up there success rate when Steve Jobs dies? The Prophet set up a system which conquered even Persia (not conquered by the Romans or anyone else…ever!), reaching Spain and setting up massive empires.   And a cultural legacy which still affects the world in a big way.

One man.  One brand.   One product which is in fact a simple idea.   But so many tweaks along the way…

(Blog post inspired by a truly terrible pseudo viral campaign by Nestle in Greece for Fitness products.)

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