A lesson (from Banksy) in how to attract attention

Love or hate him/her, engineered or not, Banksy is a first class marketer – and Dismaland is a shining example of how to apply creativity to attract attention.

Marketing lesson number 1 – Start a conversation
As humans we love nothing more than being let in to ‘the secret’. If someone says, “it’s a secret”, we’re hard-wired to want to discover what the big secret is. Banksy knows this.

The Tropicana has been under wraps, shrouded in mystery, gaining attention and getting everyone guessing as to what might be going on inside. Heads turned as the disused lido became the talk of the town and people watched, listened, speculated and discussed the possible plans for the site.

Without uttering a word, Banksy started a conversation, then shaped the conversation by posting clues (or rather misdirections) around the Tropicana.

When starting a conversation, you don’t have to introduce your company or product straight away. In fact it’s a sure-fire way to turn people off. Start a related conversation, get people talking, then join in appropriately.


Marketing lesson number 2 – Tell Stories
Tell stories that connect to us as human beings and tap into our emotions – however positive or negative our response might be.

We switch off to sales pitches, we switch onto information that ultimately entertains us – we want our experiences to be memorable. And whatever the critics write – Dismaland is most certainly memorable in its subversion of the ‘fairy tales’ we were told as children.

Remember that even in B2B situations, you’re communicating with people. Businesses do not have emotion and neither do products – but humans do. And we all love a great story.


Marketing lesson number 3 – Find your Fans
Banksy keeps coming back to the South West, returning to his Bristol underground scene roots. His/her/their works appear all over the world and have attracted an international fan base – but homegrown followers continue to be rewarded with exhibitions that help to boost the local economy.

It takes a lot of time and effort to build a fan base, particularly in B2B situations. Businesses need to find creative ways to keep followers engaged, convince them to become fans, reward their loyalty, and ultimately turn them into brand advocates.


Marketing lesson number 4 – Create Scarcity
Create scarcity – and play on our natural fear of missing out (FOMO) syndrome. Generally we hate the thought of missing out on something, particularly that ‘something’ everyone else is raving about.

Dismaland is a temporary art project. High demand for the exhibition has caused the ticket website to crash repeatedly (deemed by some to be a deliberate ploy to heighten the irony of the Dismaland experience).

Whilst it’s not a wise idea to have a communication channel to your business that crashes repeatedly – there are plenty of creative ways you can create scarcity in your lead generation activity to encourage people to engage quickly.


Marketing lesson number 5Engage and Excite
Engage and excite people and not only will they remember you but they’ll tell their companions about you too. Dismaland is a case in point.

Unfortunately B2B marketing has earned a reputation for being ‘dull’. But it really doesn’t have to be. (I recently saw Scot McKee talk eloquently on this very subject at the Online Influence (Oi’15) conference in Cardiff – his presentation is definitely worth a look.)

We can all learn from Banksy’s gutsy, creative approach in how to grab attention and avoid a land of dismal marketing… #verypunny #seewhatididthere!

I’m off to try and get my ticket (my youngest daughter already has hers!), having tried over the last few days to get through the flock of seagulls… to no avail!

I’m still not giving up – and that’s the power of great marketing.


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