Learning to market your business by studying the big brands

is like learning to surf in a duck pond

by practicing

in the Atlantic.

You’re tempted to look at Nike, at Apple, at Lego or Vans or Marvel Studios and ask, “How are they marketing?”

You’re tempted to think that if Red Bull’s killing it on some platform, you’ll kill it on that platform too. You want to study all the biggest companies and think, “They’re that big for a reason. I’ll do like they do.”

But that’s like practicing in the Atlantic Ocean so you can go surfing in a duck pond.

You’ll learn something.

What you learn won’t necessarily help your business.

Because size does matter. Oceans have waves; ponds do not. Big businesses have different opportunities from small ones. They have different problems, too. Big businesses care lots about PR and brand recognition; they might even care about likes and shares on their social media.

Those things are waves. They matter to the ocean.

Not to you. You don’t care, first and foremost, about brand engagement. You don’t care about your likes and shares. Not in and of themselves.

The thing you care about is sales. Your business needs to do some business.


And while it’s fun to take a look at the world’s biggest, most familiar brands – what matters is what works for you. In your organization. In a small and local business, if that’s what you’re running. In a space where making waves and catching waves is maybe not as crucial as just



to swim.

What works in a duck pond?

[Follow me on Twitter, where I say the same things in entirely different ways.]