3 Lessons All Brand Marketers Can Learn From Ed Wood Jr.

plan 9 for brand marketers

Ed Wood Jr. never really achieved the level of fame he sought. His idol was Orson Welles, but his inexperience and poor directing skills among other things, kept him from ever achieving that level of filmmaking recognition. What his films did get him was a cult following and a new kind of immortality through things like Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood” and the TV show “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” Although he never achieved anything on the level of “Citizen Kane” (and, in fact, made what many considered to be the worst movie of all time), he remains an interesting figure in film history, and one that we can still learn a few things from, even us brand marketers. Don’t believe me? Check out the lessons below to help you better equip your small, new or growing brand for the digital world.

Be agile and ready to adapt.

bela plan 9

You never know when something will up and disrupt your project or your flow. Ed Wood only had a few minutes of footage of Bela Lugosi for “Plan 9 From Outer Space” when he died. That didn’t stop him from continuing his film, though, and he enlisted a double to fill in for the scenes he hadn’t been able to film. He wasn’t very successful in finding a proper body double for Bela, but he was able to finish the film. Don’t let hiccups in the process slow you down or throw you off course. Find another way to achieve what you set out to do. It may not be perfect, but it will help you learn how to adapt to other problems when they happen.

Use what’s available to you.

Whether you’re creating content for your blog or social networks, always look to what you have first. What can you use that is already available to you, or easy to get? Ed Wood didn’t have much at his disposal, but what he did have he made sure to take advantage of. Stock footage (like the octopus in the clip above), shared studio props and building exteriors passing as spaceships all found their way into his films to help him save money and give a more complete movie. He didn’t go without — he improvised.

Use your connections.

tor vampira

There were a lot of things Ed Wood didn’t have access to…what he did have access to, though, were TV personalities, a once legendary horror actor and an ex-wrestler. Criswell, Vampira, Bela Lugosi and Tor Johnson and weren’t exactly stars, but they each had their own draw. You probably don’t have connections to major thought leaders in your industry, but you probably have connections to lesser-known thought leaders with a considerable following. Networking and creating those connections will give you a resource to tap when you need them. An extra retweet here, a quote there, it can all add up to great content and word-of-mouth promotion for your brand if you recognize it early on.