Branding consultants' games make asses out of clients

"The spirit of P.T. Barnum lives."

By Salon Staff

Published June 28, 2000 7:45PM (EDT)

Send in the clowns
BY RUTH SHALIT (06/21/00)

The more I know about business, the more it seems as sensible as Amanda's character on "Melrose Place." She strides around in a new business suit proclaiming, "I am a highly paid professional!"

I'm glad to see that snake oil salesmen are alive and well, scamming nitwits out of cash with their absurd and worthless "meeting facilitation" techniques. How remarkable and delightful that adults actually fall for this crap. The spirit of P.T. Barnum lives.

-- M.M. Acosta

What an absurd way to get people to work together. I found the "Bunny" idea to be completely insulting. I think that Gary Hirsch would call me judgmental -- but how is this dehumanization just to make a buck worth it? Hirsch's overuse of superlatives reinforces my beliefs that all these corporate consultants are just cheesy cheerleaders trying to get companies to feel good about pushing not-so-phenomenal products and services. I have had to endure my share of these types of sessions, and I've hated every minute. When will corporations learn that people don't want to be pushed around and made to feel like idiots because they've presumed that we're stubborn, can't work together well and can't make them money? I am sick of having to be challenged on my right to be who I am just to please the corporation.

I think that Kibu would have been a lot better off if they just would have hit the streets to find out what girls liked instead of listening to the garbage that people like Hirsch use to condescend to otherwise normal people who have normal human failings even when they are trying to get along in order to work together efficiently. We don't need any more sermonizing. Just let people do their jobs -- the staff at Kibu seems to have enough worries without having to pretend to be long-eared rodents.

-- Raina Porecha

The most interesting thing about branding consultants is their ability to sell themselves as absolutely necessary to a business for survival. Ten thousand dollars a day to walk people through routines that are performed any night of the week in comedy clubs all over the country? Now THAT is marketing, friends. Throw in some New Age jargon about "connecting" and you've got yourself a gold mine.

What Kibu needs is a great research department and a team of editors. A few interns from their local high schools wouldn't hurt, either. Good news for all you starving comics, though. Now you can get rich in three easy steps:

1) Take your bits to all those companies that employed you in mind-numbing jobs while you pursued comedy.

2) Serve up your act as Branding Expertise.

3) Bill the bejesus out of them.

I'm laughing out loud just thinking about it.

-- Amy Cox

Salon Staff

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