The Ultimate Marketing Guru: The Rhino

By • on October 28, 2009

Tough times call for tough role models. And in the jungle, they don’t come any tougher than the rhino. The rhino may seem like an unlikely marketing guru in a recessionary environment, but take a second look. The rhino is actually one of nature’s master communicators. He uses an elaborate combination of grunts, growls, and puffs to get his message across. And when the rhino speaks, everyone in the jungle listens. His message is always targeted directly to his audience, whether that audience is predator, prey or a romantic interest.

In a downturn, it’s easy for companies to say, “Times are tough. Of course we expect slower sales.” But companies with a rhino-like mind-set never take that attitude. Strategically minded companies with aggressive marketing thrive during recessionary periods. That’s because their competitors, who had been free riders when the economy was strong, tend to fold their tents when the economy sours, leaving the field wide open. Is your business charging intently and fearlessly with its marketing? Or is it pacing inside a cage, waiting for times to get better?

Let’s look at three qualities that comprise Rhino Marketing—and three companies that have leveraged these qualities to their advantage.

1. The rhino knows that when it comes to marketing, he must have a take-no-prisoners, no-holds-barred approach. He ignores the doomsayers and creates products and services unique and attractive enough to turn them from “What’s that?” to “Must have!”

Apple launched its revised and updated iPhone 3G at a time when gas prices were nudging toward $5 a gallon, the housing market was in its biggest slump in decades and the general mood in the country was getting grim. Apple could have said, “Let’s hold off. This economy will never support a new, expensive phone.” But Apple didn’t; it charged like a rhino. Apple eschews traditional marketing approaches like focus groups and consumer studies. Instead, it invents a category, like the iPhone, the iPod or iTunes, and then it turns just about everybody into people who either are possessors of these things or wish they were. Like a rhino, Apple gets what it wants pretty much every time.

2. The rhino has a need for speed. When his competitors are slowing down and cutting back, the rhino charges forward, taking risks and accelerating growth.

• These days the shortest distance between two points is Southwest Airlines. According to Forbes, Southwest last year posted its 35th consecutive year of profitability, was the most punctual, lost the fewest bags and garnered the least complaints from its passengers. What made the difference? Southwest communicated the fact that while other airlines were cutting back on amenities and charging for services like checking bags, Southwest was actually offering more services, like Wi-Fi on its flights. In an era of zero consumer loyalty and enormous amounts of information available to all thanks to the Internet, can you possibly afford to give your customers less?

3. Practically no animal in the jungle has a tougher skin than the rhino. Rhinos are sometimes called living tanks because the bumps and grooves in their skin create the illusion that they are armor-plated. If you’re going to survive and thrive in tough times, you’d better be just as thick-skinned as the rhino.

• The Trump Network has just begun making its impact felt in the home-based arena with a commitment to providing those looking for financial change with a real chance to opt of the recession. With the current criticism surrounding the state of our economy today, the Trump Network has stepped away from the masses creating a company that is setting the pace for all future companies of its type to follow. Go to Facebook, the social networking Web site, and you can see the tremendous impact that the Trump Network is making on average, everyday individuals. Go to YouTube and you’ll find video clips of Donald J. Trump talking about his commitment to deliver the finest opportunity to the masses. While most companies are feeling the economic crunch, the Trump Network understands the big difference between opportunity and success and that tough times never last but tough people do.

Put it all together and you’ve got three top companies—Apple, Southwest and the Trump Network—all emulating various aspects of the rhino. They’re communicating their messages loudly and boldly, they’re offering speed and more services, and they’re taking a tough-skinned approach to criticism. Who knew that the ultimate marketing symbol of the age was a great big animal with one horn in the middle of his forehead? It’s time to put the power of the rhino to work in your marketing.


By Cathy on October 28th, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Very inspiring. In these times you must certainly develop a Rhino mentality and emotionally. Thanks for the leadership!

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