Legend tells us of a sword named Excalibur. This sword was depicted in the 1963 Disney movie as The Sword in the Stone and brought an air of magic as it inspired us that the underdog could still be destined for greatness.
The 1963 movie was based on the original 1938 novel of the same name, but the legend is much older than that. As the story opens, we learn this sword served as proof of lineage to the rightful leader of Britain. In a land torn apart by war, the one person who should serve as rightful heir to the throne would be able to remove the sword from the stone.
In today’s marketing world, Excalibur exists. It exists as a notion with which many are familiar, but its significance is rarely understood. It’s a notion that, once fully grasped, identifies you as the rightful heir to the throne.
Today in your industry, which is segmented by your competitors, the throne represents brand leadership. Your right to brand leadership does not come in understanding what Excalibur itself signifies, but in understanding the purpose behind Excalibur. Because once your company’s purpose aligns with Excalibur’s purpose, your company demonstrates the right to remove Excalibur from the stone and wield it to lead the Knights of the Round Table into battle against your competitors.
So how does Excalibur exist today? It exists today as Authorship.
Sir Kay Vs. Squire Arthur: Which Are You?
Sir Kay, the primary antagonist in the movie was the son of Sir Ector, who was the foster-father of Squire Arthur. Sir Kay, much like his peers, represents the old school SEO methodology. And the effectiveness of this methodology is further diminished by a faulty marketing mindset. So we have two problems, antiquated SEO methodology and a faulty marketing mindset, both of which Sir Kay represent.
Let’s reflect on Sir Kay to understand the old school SEO Methodology. Once Arthur pulls Excalibur from the stone, he hands the sword to Sir Kay. “This is not my sword…” Sir Kay says as he hands the sword off to someone else. Today, when companies are handed the one thing, such as Excalibur, that will prove successorship, they don’t understand its value. Instead they chase SEO tactic after SEO tactic from past to present and sometimes even revisit old tactics. They don’t want Excalibur; they want to give it back. Instead, they are left to chasing the things that are within their control. For instance, here’s a progression of most companies’ SEO tactics.
Is this list (or this set of lists) exhaustive? Of course not, but the concept holds true. Over time, marketers complete one tactic and then move on to the next one. And when they get to what they think is the bottom of the list, they go back and repeat the process finding a few other things to tweak related to each tactic.
Why don’t marketers move on? Is it the fear of the unknown? Is it ignorance of better tactics? Do they just want to squeeze every last drop out of each tactic’s effectiveness? It doesn’t matter. The effectiveness of these tactics decreases over time. The good news is the list of tactics doesn’t stop where most marketers think or act like it does. Largely ignored, Advanced Content is the gem hidden in plain sight at the bottom of the list. Excalibur designates a threshold most marketers are not willing to cross, so most marketers never reach advanced content.
Sir Kay also represents a faulty marketing mindset when he, along with his peers, tries to remove the sword from the stone to no avail. His mindset is revealed as he and his peers continue trying to remove the sword unsuccessfully.
Similarly, some organizations are far too focused on short-term gains instead of achieving their purpose. These companies say things like “My marketing budget for this quarter needs to demonstrate ROI in this quarter” or “implementation seems too difficult.”, “I don’t know how to do that.”, ”I can’t prove ROI.” These companies have lost sight of their overall purpose and, like Sir Kay, are not able to demonstrate their right to the throne. And the faulty mindset of each company manifests itself through the company’s own actions.
In contrast to Sir Kay is Squire Arthur. Though he appears to be an underdog, he was the true heir to the throne. He is eager to be involved with knighthood by simply being a squire to a knight. He poured passion into every aspect of his squiredom. He was unassuming. He was inquisitive enough to pull Excalibur from a stone in the middle of a churchyard. When others scoffed at the idea that he could be king, he rose to the challenge of demonstrating his right to the throne by removing the sword a second time. Though he did not fully understand the significance of wielding the sword at first, he learned the significance over time.
Are you married to these above-mentioned antiquated SEO methodologies and the faulty marketing mindset? Or do you have the passion and curiosity to demonstrate your company’s right to brand leadership? Which are you, Sir Kay or Squire Arthur?
Excalibur & Its Purpose
If you’re suddenly motivated to stop reading now that Excalibur has been defined as authorship, to you, Sir Kay, I bid you good day. To those of you Squire Arthurs still reading, let me define Excalibur’s purpose. The inscription on Excalibur read, “Whoso Pulleth Out This Sword of this Stone and Anvil is Rightwise King Born of England.” The purpose of Excalibur was to identify the successor who could lead a nation. Similarly, the purpose of authorship is to identify trusted brand authorities who can lead industries.