Launch Failures = Successful PR Strategy

This week, Elon Musk generated quite a bit of attention for tweeting a SpaceX video of numerous Falcon rocket explosions. Normally, most risk-averse large enterprises – or Fortune 500 companies – would avoid broadcasting a blooper reel of their greatest product failures. Not SpaceX.

Musk’s two minute semi-gratuitous “rocket explosion” video incorporates many of the strategic communication best practices we often discuss with our clients.

Strong Narrative: The subtitles for each failure event show the evolution of the success in launching – and landing – Falcon rockets over the past 5+ years. More importantly, the video itself transforms the narrative of recent Falcon rocket failures into a story of hard-earned triumph.

Sense of Humor:  One accidental explosion is labeled as “a rapid unscheduled disassembly”.

Personal Touch: In one clip, Musk himself is seen in a field inspecting the flaming debris of a rocket that had just exploded.

Discrete and Short: According to Business Insider, the video does not show any explosions that caused multi-million dollar payloads to be lost. The video is also only 2 minutes long (a perfect length for mobile viewing – or coffee breaks).

Humility:  The video leads with 10+ failures before ending with 2 successes. Additionally, the narrative of the video doesn’t dwell on recent successes. The two quick successful rocket landings are presented as just a modest “button” to the many dramatic explosions that precede them.

Bottom Line: Elon Musk is again giving a textbook lesson in strategic communications by demonstrating that fully embracing failures – or faults – is the best strategy for developing a credible and respectable brand while inoculating your company against further criticism.

Crossing the DMZ Chasm – North Korea Has Adopted Cryptocurrencies to Circumvent Sanctions

It’s been an active week for for news about Bitcoin, ICOs, and cryptocurrencies. China grabbed the headlines when it announced a soon-to-be-implemented ban to halt the exchange trading of cryptocurrencies by the end of September; this announcement led to a mid-week crash in Bitcoin valuations.

But China’s rogue neighbor, North Korea, and its unrelenting-rocketeer-Dennis-Rodman-worshiping-dictator, Kim Jung-on, also generated news when Bloomberg reported that North Korea is increasingly securing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a way to subvert the tightening of sanctions.

Bottom Line: Is North Korea’s adoption of cryptocurrencies a “crossing the chasm” indicator or a “jumping the shark” indicator for cryptocurrencies? Will China, the U.S., and other nations begin to regulate cryptocurrencies to a greater extent to thwart dictators and black market transactions?

We Can’t Make This Up: JesusCoin

It started as a joke, and then Bloomberg mentioned the initial JesusCoin offering, and now JesusCoin, with its goal of “decentralizing Jesus”, is an accelerating accidental success in the making.

Bottom line: If we’re smart, we all should be searching GoDaddy for the URLs for “MuhammadCoin”, “KrishnaCoin”, “BuddhaCoin”, and “FútbolCoin” (since soccer is clearly the most popular religion in Argentina and Brazil).

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