Brand on the Run – Rides Again – Review.

Brand on the Run – under pressure?

The insanely popular Brand on the Run ® networking event, on this occasion themed with David Bowie and Queen, was so over subscribed it left many ‘people on the streets’. (Boom, bah, bah, beh… etc.)

The event certainly lived up to its reputation as the creative alternative to the more traditional ‘Death by PowerPoint’ B2B marketing meet-ups. No name tags, no handouts, just two things that every frustrated B2B marketing professional needs – beer and rock ‘n roll.

The lucky few attending this ‘Intimate Evening with Peter Hince’, were treated to some fascinating backstage insights from one of David Bowie’s early roadies. Peter’s reflections ranged from the music, lyrics and behaviour that made Bowie such an enigma, all the way to the bespoke, green, platform boots that Peter had made by Bowie’s own bootmaker. “Even the roadies had to look the part…”

During an era when few (if any) bands were concerned with their ‘brand’, Bowie was a master of keeping his personal brand relevant, fresh and fashionable. Peter illustrated the futuristic way his one-time boss established and evolved his brand using costume, character, video and other remarkable new technologies like… Velcro.

“While his peers were content to trot out another song and behave in the manner of the time, Bowie was constantly striving to innovate.”

Peter’s own musical journey began by being in the right place at right time. As a 17 year old in the ’70s, he knew a little about guitars and amps. That was it. His cousin, however, happened to know a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, producer, actor and challenger of gender norms who needed someone to help shift some kit…

Bowie could do it all. From one O level (art), through his chameleon-like ability to reinvent himself, Bowie became a visionary. Always breaking new ground, always challenging the perceived norm. But while his peers were content to trot out another song and behave in the predetermined manner of the time, Peter described how Bowie was constantly striving to innovate.

In a number of strikingly creative applications, brand Bowie kept his music simple, authentic and alive. He focused on ‘the image’. Abstract and intellectual lyrics, both universal and street-smart, allowed the musician to transcend decades and generations. “Put on your red shoes and dance the blues.” Genius from a man whose words were both beautiful and uplifting; whose timeless best lines will keep him mortal long after he is gone.

As the evening drew to a close, suited B2B marketing executives stumbled around in 6-inch platform heels clutching a beer in one hand and Freddie Mercury’s microphone in the other, dreaming about what could have been. It may be too late to rescue your singing career, but we might still be able to breathe life into your B2B professional one. Just be sure to sign up for the next Brand on the Run.