Marc Ecko recently released a new book called Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out.Oddly enough, while it's full of awesome Marc Ecko stories, its organizing concept of the Authenticity Formula seems totally inauthentic. But it's definitely a book anybody interested in building their brand or marketing their products, including music, would find worth reading. A fun bit in the book called "Ten Rules For Building A Swag Bomb" caught my eye and while I think you'll find it practical for thinking about individually targetted promo mailings, it's also a reminder that real brands are ultimately built on hard work, not publicity stunts.
Since I was entrenched in hip hop blogging, much of it business-related, during the previous decade, Marc Ecko was a figure I followed though not as closely as others more directly connected with music. He came out of the graffiti scene, worked his way into fashion off t-shirts and built a major fashion brand and business.
Ecko's had his ups and downs but he's accomplished quite a bit, worked with numerous musicians along the way and becoming someone worth listening to. And the best part of Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out are Ecko's stories about the business behind the scenes, the major challenges he faced and the psychological turmoil that fast growth can cause for a successful entrepreneur.
The part that doesn't work so well is the design, the conceptual framework called the Authenticity Formula and the meta-chatter introducing each chapter. It all feels a bit forced and even, for me, a bit cheesey. It's the stories that are worth the read, not the packaging designed to make this a good sale to corporate accounts.
And swag bombs. Let's not forget the power of swag bombs. After seeing the 10 rules in the book, I checked on the web and found that Ecko had included them in a guest post on Tim Ferris's blog:
Marc Ecko's 10 Rules For Building A Swag Bomb
1. Never Send Directly to Someone’s Home
2. Never Expect Your Intended Audience to Even See It
3. Never Send Just the Stock Shit
4. Never Have Expectations, as It’s Just a Gift
5. Never Handwrite Your Marketing Materials
6. Never Use Second-Hand Packaging Materials
7. Never Stalk
8. Never Forget to Include Your Name, Email, and Phone Number
9. Never Send a Picture of Yourself Fan-Boying Out
10. Never Gush
Great thoughts on promoting yourself via free giveaways to targetted individuals. Note that at least two reference not stalking and two reference a need to avoid fawning over your target. Wonder how much of that Ecko learned from experience?
- Mixergy Interview: How An Uncool Kid Built A Billion Dollar Urban Fashion Brand
- Behind The Hustle: 10 Business Tips From Marc Ecko
- Rap Genius: Ecko's Annotations for Unlabel Excerpts
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.