Why gentle-businesses prefer blondes but marry brunettes

By Richard Stone

Soccernomics: Worth a read
Given the events of last night it seems almost inevitable that this morning’s post will be about football. However, despite the contentious decisions of yesterday evening’s game in Donetsk, I thought I’d focus on something a bit closer to the world of technical PR

Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski’s book Soccernomics uses data analysis techniques normally found in economics to explode the myths that have grown up around football. One of the things they discovered is particularly relevant to marketers.

Kuper and Szymanski found that football clubs prefer to sign players with blonde hair and are willing to pay more for them, providing the player in question is under the age of 21. Their theory is that after this point, the player builds a reputation which then becomes a more significant factor in the buying clubs decision making than hair colour.

This isn’t to say that hair colour, and probably other non performance related physical characteristics, cease to have bearing after this age, simply that they have less bearing and become statistically insignificant.

I would argue that businesses that don’t have existing reputations can learn from this; metaphorically speaking, having blonde hair is very important. Here’s what that means in practical terms:

-    A strong website that will influence new visitors. The key point is that it needs to be blonde; which is to say highly aesthetically pleasing in its design
-    Lots of effective web content, including Blogs, press releases, articles, white papers and video
-    Lots of effective content on online platforms not owned by you – such as magazine websites and social media sites
-    Lots of editorial in trade magazines

In effect, you are dying your hair blonde and telling the world you have done so.

Businesses with reputations already in place don’t need to be so flamingo about the whole process. Instead, they need to focus on building the reputation that allows the colour of their hair to become a statistically insignificant factor. In practice, this means:

-    Lots of reputation building, thought leadership focussed content on online platforms not owned by you – such as magazine websites and social media sites
-    Lots of reputation building, thought leadership focussed editorial in trade magazines
-    Web content on your site that is focussed on helping the reader form opinions. Again this will take the form of Blogs, press releases, articles, white papers and video but will be angled in a subtlety different way.

So, simple and obvious as all this sounds, there is a subtle distinction and one that many, many small engineering and technical businesses fail to pick up on. You need to be a peacock in your early days – flashy and exciting. As you get older and become more established, you need to be an owl – authoritative and knowledgeable.   

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Richard Stone

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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