We’re Hunter Gatherers Who Fish for Our Dinners

Bonehook is the brand messaging specialist for people-positive companies, campaigns, and causes.

When I was growing up, my grandpa and I loved to go fishing together. It turns out, fishing teaches a kid important lessons. The importance of preparation, the need for patience, skill, and respect for all living things—these are all part of the fishing experience.

I used to watch my grandpa, Eldon Burn, pull in one fish after the next, while my line was mostly inactive and often picked clean without my knowledge. I did not relish these moments of not catching, but looking back I can see the lessons.

Abundance was all around us. Fish were everywhere under the boat. But I couldn’t sense them or catch them until I got in touch with the environment, the tackle, the bait (minnow and worms), the boat, the lake, the weather, the fish, my grandpa’s war stories, all of it.

Give your team a fighting chance, consult with the local outfitter and guide.

When brand teams prepare for an expedition into customer waters today, there’s a real need for maps, tidal reports and weather conditions, plus all the right gear, the right bait, the right boat, a trusted captain and a dedicated crew.

Bonehook is the brand messaging outfitter for these customer-seeking teams. Teams who prepare before they head out. In specific terms, we provide the strategic insights, go-to-market plans, and latest tools that clients need to survive and eventually thrive. 

Here, put this worm on.

Worms are nasty and threading a hook through their wormy body is gross. But that’s how you catch fish. Likewise, there are aspects to working in brand marketing that are tough to handle, like hearing from customers and prospective customers that the product or service in question doesn’t live up to the claims being made in the advertising. 

Cognitive dissonance is never good. In marketing communications, it’s an unnatural disaster. A brand’s message can’t just be quirky, or clever, or smart today. The messaging has to make perfect sense in the real world, or whatever claims the company makes will be instantly rejected, or worse, ridiculed by volunteer members of a snarky, social-media empowered public. 

Now cast your line…

When you’re fishing the right spot at the right time of day with the right bait, there will be times when time stands still. Times when it seems that nothing at all is happening. A new level of patience is needed. Fish don’t care about your career or your company’s key performance indicators. Fish care about eating. 

Once you understand that smart marketing is all about placing something of value, something easily consumable, in front of an audience that you care about and understand deeply, the fish will bite. This is where most marketers go wrong…they believe that what the brand wants/needs to say is the valued, consumable thing, a.k.a. the shimmering lure. Wrong! We’re fishing with live bait.  

For sport or for sustenance? 

There are all kinds of anglers in the world. For some, it’s an expensive sport with elaborate gear. For others, it’s a nice way to spend a summer morning along the shore of a river of lake—when the hatchery trout cooperate, all the better. 

Bonehook clients enjoy the pursuit, strategic planning, and the skill that makes fishing fruitful. That’s a bonus because in marketing we either feed ourselves and our tribes, or we go hungry. Therefore, our work with clients is all about creating sustainable fisheries that will feed future generations. You can’t do this with trickery or short cuts.

Brands that are built to last are crafted carefully, hand-to-hand, in the wild.

Give Bonehook a call if that is what you’re after.

Leave a comment