The toxic world of bro marketing

Lucy Beddall sipping margarita with a macbook pro being a bro.
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I’ve noticed a lot of bro marketing on my social media feeds recently. Especially on my much-loved LinkedIn.

It’s brazen, often misleading, and can be quite aggressive.

For those unfamiliar with bro marketing, it tempts you with promises of a brand new life with an eight-figure salary, all starting with an e-book that hooks you into a subscription ‘club’ or some very pricey coaching sessions.

So, what’s bro marketing all about?

It reminds me of pyramid selling or multi-level marketing. The similarities are there. Remember about ten years ago, when people you’d known for ages started acting as if they’d joined a robotic cult, trying to recruit you to their ‘team’ and promising a life of lazy luxury? Most people came back down to earth when they realised that the big earners were just a select few at the top.

Not very ethical.

Bro marketing is increasingly prevalent in our digital world.

It’s funny until it isn’t because it often targets the vulnerable or those who have low self belief.

Bro marketers are ‘crushing it’

Bro marketers with their Canva-designed images and long-winded posts are packed with words like ‘Crushing it’, ‘Killer’, ‘Dominate’, ‘Disrupt’, and ‘Smashed it’. They love big, bold fonts, neon colours and pictures of swanky cars and beach holidays. This includes numerous photos of themselves, (utilising the very helpful background remover in Canva) looking smug and rich.

They promise success, riches and a lifestyle to envy, but the reality often falls short.

Their profiles feature multiple photos that show them lounging by the pool, sipping margaritas, and casually typing on their MacBook Pro – a visual spectacle of success accompanied by captions like ‘I’ve made millions whilst you losers were asleep.’ I exaggerate slightly, but you get the gist.

In stark contrast, the rest of us are sleepwalking to work, cramming almond croissants into our mouths, and facing the daunting task of sifting through a mountain of emails that have piled up overnight.

The dark side of bro marketing

There’s a dark side to bro marketing. It lures people with the promise of luxurious success, like a Waitrose carrot dangled just out of reach, only to deepen feelings of FOMO, inadequacy, and a sense of falling short.

I’ve always been about straightforward and authentic marketing, and bro marketing just doesn’t fit my ethos.

It’s the not-so-great sibling of influencer marketing.

They might send you messages out of the blue, pressuring you to buy into their services or products with a sense of urgency. Their posts are full of so-called motivational quotes that imply you’re not reaching your full potential if you’re not with them. And in the comments? They’ll steer the conversation towards how great they are doing.

Oh, and aren’t you lucky, they have one more place on their exclusive invite-only coaching course.

Lucy Beddall being photographed for this bro marketing blog

The standard bro marketing catchphrases

They’re looking to reel you into their courses or coaching, promising you’ll make loads of money. They’re selling their books or courses, claiming their unique secret sauce made them successful and can do the same for you. They’re also focused on growing their networks, ready to sell or recruit more down the line.

Typical bro marketing catchphrases:

“Want to know how I made six figures in six months? DM me for my secret formula!”

“Join my webinar where I reveal the disruptive strategies that will 10X your revenue!”

“Most people won’t take action and stay in their 9-5 grind. Are you one of the few who will act and become a boss?”

And then there’s the business of engagement pods on LinkedIn, where bro marketers band together to amplify each other’s messages, regardless of the value or truth of the content. It’s a secret room where everyone is shouting about how great they are and sharing their post links so they can all slap each other on the back and click LIKE.

Authentic marketing

I’m always going to stand up for authenticity and transparent marketing. And for the majority (yes, I know there are exceptions) real growth doesn’t come from these pumped-up tactics. It comes from proper connections, offering genuine value and lots of hard work.

Let’s stay focussed. Let’s support each other. And most importantly, let’s champion authenticity. Don’t feel inadequate – unfollow, unfriend, block. Life’s too short.

P.S. Who’s up for a margarita by the pool?

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