Picture Scott Stratten as a cross between a hipster and a revival preacher. Bearded and tattooed, he paces the stage for companies like PepsiCo, Adobe and the Red Cross, Hard Rock Cafe, and Cirque du Soleil, to evangelize for engagement. With a mission to promote the authentic over the affected, Stratten is creator and chief proponent of what he calls, “Un-Marketing,” the trick and the talent of positioning yourself or your company as a trusted expert in front of your target market, so “when they have the need, they choose you.”
“The authentic is the truth,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “That’s why people will trust review sites, and they’ll trust strangers on these review sites 100 times more than they’ll ever trust a brand statement. That’s what we look for. When I go to eat somewhere when I’m traveling, I’ll use Yelp. I’m listening to 100% strangers and their opinions because it’s a collective authentic opinion versus what a brand is trying to say.”
A love for the authentic has also led Stratten to inveigh against “freebooting,” a growing form of digital piracy. “Freebooting is the practice of taking a video already proven to be viral. You steal the source video file, then you natively upload it to your own Facebook page. You already know it’s going viral. You already know it’s popular. There is no link back to the original video, there’s no credit given, and now your page becomes the source of that video. So when it gets shared and spread on Facebook, you’re the one, you’re the originator of the content.
“I have a fundamental moral issue with this, especially when it’s a business doing it,” Stratten declares. “Somebody said, ‘What’s your problem with this? It’s just a video.’ Well, no, because businesses are benefiting from this, because they’re using a Facebook platform to sell. They’re using it for commerce in one way or another, which means they are directly or indirectly profiting from copyright infringement. And that’s a huge problem to me.”
Scott Stratten is author of four bestselling business books, with the latest, Unselling, named Sales Book of the Year for 2014 by 1-800-CEOREAD; on Twitter, he has 178,000 followers and almost as many tweets. With his wife, Allison Kramer, he hosts, “Unpodcast.”