There’s an exhibition on at the moment at the British Library entitled Propaganda: Power and Persuasion. A much maligned term these days, thanks to the work of Herr Goebbels & sons (which is presented in all its horror/glory in the exhibition), propaganda also has a less sinister heritage – the term entered common parlance when Edward L Bernays issued his seminal work on influencing public opinion named Propaganda. The book pretty much set the terms for PR practice as we know it today, earning him the title of ‘the father of public relations’.
On Monday I’ll be at the British Library discussing ‘The Art and Business of Persuasion’. Although the landscape has changed vastly since the time of Bernays, in many ways the techniques that defined his thinking hold the same, if not greater relevance today – from the importance of influencing the influencers to the art of using the newspaper front page as a canvas. I’ll be joined by my good friend Trevor Beattie, one of the finest advertising folk of our era who knows more than a little on the art of persuasion; for evidence please see Eva Herzigova in her Wonderbra – “Hello Boys”.
Trevor and I have worked together a few times over the years, a subject I’ll be touching on on Tuesday evening in my show Adventure Capitalism: The 20% Maverick Factor at the Solo Theatre Festival. The show is a magical realist journey into the weird and wonderful world of the Maverick. Featuring a theatre on the back of a bike, runaway taxmen turned circus performers, Hitler’s nephew, a human exhibit in London Zoo, Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando, and a man intent on eating a Cessna jet, I’ll be sharing the stories of some of the larger-than-life characters I’ve encountered in a career surrounded by the eccentric and the brilliant, as well as offering guidance on introducing the maverick factor into your life.
I hope I can twist you to join me for either – or better, both.
The Art and Business of Persuasion
Mon 1 Jul 2013, 18.30-20.00
Conference Centre, British Library
£7.50 / £5 concessions
Adventure Capitalism: The 20% Maverick Factor
Tue 2 Jul 2013, 7.30pm
The Lost Theatre, 208 Wandsworth Road, SW 8 2JU
£11.25 / £9 concessions
Next Tuesday 15th Jan, 8pm, there will be another chance to see my show Adventure Capitalism: The 20% Maverick Factor at the Bristol Old Vic. It’s a rather madcap, whirl wind journey through the wonderful mavericks I’ve worked with in my career and what I’ve learnt from them, featuring a theatre on the back of a bike, runaway taxmen turned circus performers, Hitler’s nephew, a human exhibit in London Zoo, and a man intent on eating an entire bus.
I created the show in response to the needs of a world – and economy – in dramatic flux, drawing on his personal experience of working with some of the most inspiring and innovative thinkers of the last thirty years, and outlining my rules for harnessing the power of the maverick. Adventure Capitalism is a celebration of risk-takers, outliers and artists, and why they might be more essential now than ever before.
It would be wonderful to see friends old and new there, and I’d be delighted to share thoughts over an informal drink in the bar after the show- so if you can make it, please come and say hello!
You can lay your hands on tickets here
This weekend I’m taking part in the Battle of Ideas Festival at the Barbican- a fantastic event that gets 350 illustrious speakers from around the globe and all walks of life together to ‘shape the future through debate’. There’s a highly pertinent strand of the programme focussing on Battle for the Media, that will be attempting to wrangle the challenges of living in a post Leveson world. I’ll be on the panel Taming Tabloid Tittle-Tattle at 5pm on Sunday, going head-to-head with Roy Greenslade of the Evening Standard, journo and commentator Patrick Hayes, journo and former press secretary to Paddy Ashdown Jo Phillips, and broadcast and print journalist Nathalie Rothschild.
With sessions over the weekend including Social Media: Good or Bad?, Capitalism: Kill or Cure?, Who Needs Art Anyway? and the ominous sounding Media-Bashing Live, it’s doubtless going to be a weekend to get the cogs whirling and pulses raising. Do come on down if you can.
Mark will perform a brand new talk on the concept of adventure capitalism- from Kittenger to Ken Dodd, from Pony Express to Startup Billionaires- as part of London’s first festival of Solo Theatre. Joining an illustrious bill of star performers from stage and business alike, Mark will explain and elucidate how to preserve a sense of purpose and suppress the bullshit in the world of extreme entrepreneurialism.
Mark is to speak at Unilever’s forthcoming event, ‘telling stories in a digital world’. Enlisted for his famous- and occasionally infamous- track record of creating stories which inflame public conversation, Mark will be advising and educating global marketing teams on how best to craft brand stories through digital platforms. In the new economy, information arises and alters at an incredible rate. Mark will demonstrate how to form, shape, deliver and respond to these digital stories.
The event will take place on Tuesday 22nd May at 11:20
As part of the Cheltenham Science Festival, Mark will be taking part in a panel discussion, titled ‘Marketing the Apocalypse’ and chaired by comedian and popular commentator Marcus Brigstocke, on the marketing methods of environmental movements. Alongside prominent environmentalist Tony Juniper and Climate Scientist Mark Maslin, Mark will lend his insights on the importance of creative communications strategies in the new economy to this uniquely pertinent and highly controversial debate.
The event will take place On Thursday, June 14th, 2012 at 12:00
This November 22nd, Microsoft will seek to excite and entice key customers with a major, thought-leading conference: Imagine 2011 London, featuring a 40 minute presentation from Mark Borkowski. Microsoft are taking major shifts towards constructing and presenting a clear brand narrative, and Mark will be helping them on their way with a presentation about how true and truthful narratives can boost brands, build profiles and shift units. This will be packaged with insight on the history of storytelling and examples from Mark’s years in the thick of celebrity and the media to deliver a resounding, thought provoking and thoroughly entertaining slice of PR theory.
On 21st November, Mark will feature as an expert speaker at Handpicked Media Gets Social, Handpicked Media’s largest blogging event to date, at RIBA in London. Mark will be helping hordes of top bloggers grow their profiles- and their readership- with an innovative and entertaining presentation on the power of the brand narrative. Mark will provide the perspective of a seasoned PR professional and current industry thought leader to drive the ambition and understanding of these talented writers to new heights.
On November 10th, Mark will be delivering a Key Note speech at this year’s ‘Marketing, the Art Of’ conference in Gateshead, where he’ll be unleashing a powerful address on the true, transparent brand narrative. The conference this year focuses on the rise of digital marketing. Mark will argue that, with the rise of social media and other online forums, everyone is now a commentator. As such, it has never been more important to co-ordinate communications strategies into the kind of coherent, flexible, responsive narrative that PRs understand better than anyone. Illustrated with examples from the arts, and backed up with publicity achievements from John the Baptist to Jedward, Mark will deliver the definitive summary of the power of narrative in the digital world