Every few years I pick up the Bill Bernbach Book and re-read quotes from the inspirational founder of Doyle Dane Bernbach. For over 40 years Bill’s ideas have rung true and stayed relevant. In fact, take his exact thoughts, word for word and apply them to questions about Twitter, and they not only make perfect sense, they enlighten us with wisdom. Here then is an imaginary interview with Bill Bernbach. His words are exactly that. His words. Verbatim.
C_U: We’re not only seeing Twitter used by brands, as they try and become more human, we’re seeing it used by individuals trying to become brands. Do you have any advice for all the folks trying to build their personal brands on Twitter?
Bill: To succeed, a brand (or a person or product, for that matter) must establish its own unique personality, or it will never be noticed.”
C_U: So then, it’s what a person says in his 140-characters that will define his unique personality?
Bill: “It’s not what you say that stirs people, it’s the way that you say it.”
C-U: Does that mean you’re suggesting that to be noticed and remembered you have to focus as much on the “way” as the “what?”
Bill: The only difference between the forgettable and the enduring is artistry.
C-U: Artistry is great, but given the speed at which users post messages and ideas, along with the volume of tweets, don’t users also have to post frequently?
Bill: Nobody remember the number of ads you run, they just remember the impressions you make.
C_U: Why do you think that much of what we are seeing in the new social media are old media ideas: brands broadcasting, announcing offers, pushing out messages rather than inventing new creative experiences? Is it because more folks in the creative community have yet to actually start using social media like Twitter?
Bill: To keep your ads fresh, you’ve got to keep yourself fresh. Live in the current idiom and you will create in it. If you follow and enjoy and are excited by the new trails in art, in writing, in industry, in personal relationships, whatever you do will naturally be of today.
C_U: I recently posted a piece showing a campaign used to launch Evil Minds, a Discovery Network show that looks inside the mind of a murderer. Did you see it? Any thoughts?
Bill: All of us professionals who use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.”
C_U: Are you saying that we shouldn’t express strong points of view?
Bill: If you stand for something, you will always find some people for you and some against you. If you stand for nothing, you will find nobody against you and nobody for you.
C_U: What about people who tweet all their personal little actions?
Bill: There is practically nothing that is not capable of boring us.
C_U: Finally, any recommendations on who to follow on Twitter?
Bill: The real giants have always been poets, men who jumped from facts into the realm of imagination and ideas.