What Marketing Looks Like When Your Brand is Really Boring...And You're At A Party

I went to this great party today, and the best music was played by the NY State Nurses Association and the NY State Comptroller. 

Yeah, I just totally wrote that sentence. What's going on? It's the West Indian parade today, and a lot of brands that people don't typically care very much about--think health insurers, associations, and unions--are doing whatever they can to demonstrate their relationship with this community. 

That guy on the right hand side of the float is Tom Dinapoli, who holds an office that most right-thinking people would characterize as unrelatable. He is the Comptroller of the state of New York, which (for the uninitiated) means that he is essentially the state's CFO. 

He and other less intelligible public figures as well as some health insurers were in good form today, but they were competing along an axis I would not have expected: playing the best music. 

This is the best way to explain the importance of channel awareness in marketing that I can think of. If DiNapoli stood up and gave a soliloquy about the state's retirement fund, the crowd would have started throwing jerk chicken at him. Substance is great, but it needs to arrive in substantial context.

So why is he here if his more substantial points won't land? Simple. People know who he is now, and there's at least a vague feeling that he's one of them...even if only about 1/100 of the people in the crowd could describe the basic function of a comptroller. 

This is "awareness" pure and simple, and it's pretty interesting to watch when both the product and the targeted community are unrelated to you. 

Anyway, Happy labor day!