6 Things Brands Can Learn from the Rebirth of Russell Brand

Take Notes.

SXSW opened with a film from award-winning documentary maker, Ondi Timoner about the life and times of Russell Brand. In case you've been face-down under a rock for the past few years, Russell has been on a transformational journey from self-destruction to self-realization. While the once drug abusing, sex addicted, rock and roll comic has not lost his talent or flair for the jokes, he's now taken to inciting thought-provoking riot of the minds about society and the world. Here's how we've translated the Brand story to a… brand story.

1. Get a Little Wild and Crazy. You’ll be OK.

Now we're not saying it's wise to pull your pants off in the middle of the street while standing on a news van. In fact, please don't do that. But every once in a while, it helps to loosen up your creative reins.

There's always that one crazy shoulda-woulda-coulda idea that's lurking in the corner, waiting to come out and flash the world. Guess what? People will either be amazed by your chutzpa or deeply offended that you would do such a thing. Or both. And if the latter, they will most likely soon forget anyway. But if you don't take the risk and aim for the moonshot idea, then you'll never know what might have happened.

2. Know Where You Come From.

The infancy of any business is often fraught with a few painful bumps and bruises, both physical and emotional, but as long as we're not dead, there is a chance to evolve along the way. Let the humble beginnings be a reminder of your passion, perseverance, and creative inspiration. Foster this idea in your teams and your partners, and tell them the story of how you got to be where you are.

3. Own Your Awesome.

Regardless of his sobriety level, Brand's message to fans, naysayers, and peers has remained consistent: "I'm the best. And I know what I'm talking about when I say that." In a society that gives trophies to losing little league teams, and where Kanye just might snatch your son's perfect attendance certificate, there are many theories out there about the loss of competitive edge. Don't lose yours. Own your awesome, and be sure to tell the world about it, in cool, fun, and creative ways. That said, don't forget to actually be awesome.

4. Turn the Cameras On.

Let people in. Be transparent. Consumers want the unfiltered, honest, truth. Even if the truth isn't pretty, it's what today's information-overloaded generations of consumers have grown to expect, and they will appreciate your story even more, when told in its entirety. Plus, pulling back the curtain a little bit will probably help you clean up any problem areas that have been ignored for a while.

5. Grow up and Show Up.

We live in a world where people have real needs. They can only be entertained for so long before life kicks them in the knees again tomorrow. Once you have people's attention, it's time to find a way to be useful and meaningful in their lives. Create marketing experiences that, when coupled with your messaging, plant an immovable stake in the things you say you believe in. If you can entertain, and be of service to even one person, then you've got a customer for life.

6. Laters for You Haters.

Let's face it, you can't win 'em all. Not everyone will believe you or believe in you. Not everyone will buy your product or service. Stand by the ones who will. Continue to reward, thank, support, talk to, and engage with those who support you with their hard earned dollars. Surprise them and delight them. Wow them. Inspire them. They'll thank you for it, and in the process, a few haters might even convert.

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