Some of you may or may not have heard of Bob Hope principle. Or even the man. Let me enlighten you. He was an American comedian who never wrote a joke in his life. For years he had a successful career and was regarded as one of the finest comedians of his time. How I hear you ask?

Well, whilst he never wrote a joke himself, he had a team of writers who delivered sharply crafted material that he delivered to make him the best within his field of comedy.

So between him and his team of writers, he managed to hone his skills at delivering the first-class sets that made him as a brand; memorable, funny and the best one-liner gag-smith of his time.

Why is this applicable to my brand?

Each of us has a brand that has many strong links and likewise, many weak links to our offerings. Identifying the weakest links allows you to identify opportunities to improve your offering and increase the benefits and values it conveys to your target audience.

Do you want your brand’s offering to be the best?

Here is the crux of this principle in play. If the answer is yes, then identifying the weakest links within your offering will open up the opportunity to fix them and ensure it is the best your offering can be. You’ve basically Bob Hope-d it.

How did Bob achieve this?

He could spot a weak joke and turn it around. After every performance, he would analyse what did and did not work in his set. Identifying the weak joke allowed him to work with his team to turn that weak joke around so that it became almost one of the best jokes in his set. The skill here was knowing how to orchestrate the material to deliver a prize-winning set.

Much like your brand you need to be the conductor of your material to convey the right message to your audience. You do not necessarily have to be the creator of the material, but you do need to have the skills to make it work effectively with your target audience.

So, what is the lesson here?

Well if you consider your brand is your set and what you do has its strengths and weaknesses. Your jokes. Then looking at the weakest offering allows you to concentrate on this and make it better. After all, when customers interact with your brand you are judged by your weakest offering. Not good when you are trying to build value and trust to your existing and potential customers.

How does the Bob Hope principle work?

You might have the best website, the best content and active social media. However, you’re getting little or no traffic to the site and less is converting. How? Well nowadays, you can have the best ingredients but if you do not understand the need to employ elements such as SEO; short for Search Engine Optimisation, then no one will find you on the internet. This is the weak part of your brand and another skill you need to master or at the very least employ a skilled person to improve it for you.

Bob Hope Principle form one of America's greatest comedians
Bob Hope Principle form one of America’s greatest comedians

Can it be applied to my brand?

Put simply, yes. Hopefully, by now you see how the Bob Hope principle can be used to look at your brand and its varying touchpoints in the same way as customers do. Identifying the weakest links and deciding how to improve them, will afford you the benefit of being seen to care for your brand and listen to what customers want. Ultimately, turning these into more strongest links to your brand that resonate with your target audience is the key.

After all, the digital landscape is constantly changing and presuming that what worked last week will work next week, clearly is a plan to fail. Taking into account recessions and the very recent Covid19 pandemic, it is clear to see that brands need to be more agile in their approach and communication with customers. This is the very reason that established brands are prone to collapse compared to new startups. Less agile and too much brand equity to leverage.

What do I apply it to?

Look at each of your touchpoints within your brand and decide which weak links need to be improved first. How do they communicate to your target audience? Which ones work best at getting your marketing message across? How do customers interact with your brand? Answers these and many more questions unique to your sector allows you to continuously test what you know and whether it is still applicable or not.

Look at your competitors and the wider market to ascertain what is and is not working. Understand what differentiates you from your competitors and resonates with your customers and advocates alike.

Taking this dynamic approach to every touchpoint will ensure your vision of being the best within your market sector, is as strong as it can be.


So, be more like Bob Hope when looking at your brand and be honest with yourself when it comes to identifying the weakest links in your brand. Taking this approach on a day by day approach will ensure your offering is the best it can be and therefore, better than your competitor.

Here we simply are paying homage to a man who knew his strengths and weaknesses and used to them to good effect. If you are honest with yourself you’ll know that you cannot do everything, but managing others to do it for you is the best approach and the one that will deliver the quickest results.

Now you have a winning formula to improve your brand. Do not be afraid to take risks and look weak when you know you’re intention is to improve and ultimately, be seen as strong with your offering. Be more like Bob Hope and apply the principle to your business. After all, he had a career that lasted until he was 100 years old.

Want to know more about the Bob Hope Principle?

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