Year after year, I find myself trapped in the same argument. It always unfolds the same way, too: I present my case, the opposition presents theirs, we spar and dance in our annual routine, but regular as clockwork, the fighting peters out—and no clear victor emerges.
But now, after 30 years of arguing and debating all around the world, mankind can sleep easy knowing that Die Hard is, in fact, a Christmas movie.
Ever since its release in 1988, the Bruce Willis action classic has been the center of a contentious cinematic debate over its credentials as a Christmas film. To mark the film’s 30th anniversary, 20th Century Fox released a recut trailer, labeling it as “the greatest Christmas story ever told.” And putting the matter to rest for good.
There’s a lot that marketers can learn from this (aside from how to climb on top of an elevator car). For starters, knowing your brand identity is essential. It’s a representation of everything it embodies, including your teammates. By embracing that culture and morphing it in with what your brand delivers, you’re well on your way to having a solid brand identity in place.
Another important lesson: Brand identity shouldn’t be dictated for you. Consumers may form opinions about your brand that don’t align with your message, and if that’s the case, it’s time to rethink your strategy and make it abundantly clear what your identity entails. 20th Century Fox made it clear and so should you with your brand.
I’m sure there are some people in this world that, with this new information, are experiencing a form of cognitive dissonance. So be it. Thanks to the definitive stance taken by the studio, there can never be anymore doubt as to Die Hard’s Christmas credentials. Can you say the same for your brand?
Reflecting on the life and legacy of the late President George HW Bush, there are valuable lessons to be learned from his understated communication style. A man of high integrity and quiet resolve, Bush famously advocated during his presidency for a “kinder, gentler nation.” While some perceived his kindness as weakness, his actions revealed a daring, courageous person who led by example. Here are five PR lessons from President George HW Bush.
Service over self. After the bombing at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Bush tried to enlist in the Navy but had to wait until his 18th birthday. He postponed college to serve as likely the Navy’s youngest fighter pilot, nearly losing his life after being shot down while on a bombing run off the island of Chi Chi Jima. A distinguished World War II veteran earning the highest honors, he devoted his entire life to service. During his presidency, he encouraged each and every American to be “Points of Light” by volunteering to help others.
It’s not about you! “Don’t use the word ‘I’ in my speeches,” President Bush told his then speechwriter Curt Smith. True to his upbringing and his mother’s admonition not to brag, Bush favored speaking plainly using simple words that everyone could understand. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Bush famously declined to visit Germany to celebrate. Though he helped end the Cold War and achieve German reunification, he refused to take a victory lap.
The art of the handwritten letter. President Bush knew the power of the pen, sending hundreds of handwritten letters to people over the years. Now treasured keepsakes, he would often send a note of gratitude or congratulations, even a note of encouragement to his successor, Bill Clinton. In the letter, Bush said, “…. I wish you well. I wish your family well. Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you. Good luck, George.”
Make friends with your adversaries. Speaking of Clinton, Bush didn’t stop with that letter. The pair developed a close friendship, with Bush often referring to Clinton as his “brother from another mother.” Together, they traveled the world to raise funds to aid victims of natural disasters. “In George Bush’s America, there are no political enemies, merely adversaries who may disagree with you on one day and yet be with you on the next roll call,” the late President Gerald Ford once said.
Keep your sense of humor. President Bush appreciated, and often told, a good joke, though his son, George W. Bush said during his father’s eulogy that he could never remember the punchline. Bush appeared on Saturday Night Live with his impersonator Dana Carvey and Bush invited Carvey to the White House to perform for the staff. The two developed an unlikely friendship. “What I remember about those years is how hard we laughed,” Carvey said. Bush also had a penchant for wearing bold, colorful socks, his way of making the best of his limited mobility after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Bush gave one of his most emotional speeches on December 7, 1991, the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Curt Smith, who wrote the speech, said Bush kept his composure until the last line: “God bless America,” he said, to which he added in tears “…the most wondrous land on earth.”