|Jeff, I don't think we're that far apart. I think you read into my discussion of marketing more than was intended.|
1. I don't think the clunky term "Objectivism" is decisive to the difficulties of spreading it in the world. I believe it is simply an added impediment. There are better terms, more evocative ones that also position Rand's views as part of (I'd call the climax of) the American Enlightenment legacy. Derivations of "individualism," in my opinion, would have helped communicate the core American outlook of her philosophy far better. Surveys that TOC did at one time found that "Objectivism" was a turnoff even for many Objectivists, and especially women. (In that, Laure's reaction to it in post #35 is very typical.)
So why pick a term that has such built-in disadvantages, when other terms more usefully convey your viewpoint, but don't create a negative impression at the outset, closing minds rather than opening them?
I of course agree that Rand's ideas challenge the status quo, and are inherently a tough sell. I simply ask why we need to add to the persuasive challenges we face by adding rhetorical and connotative impediments as well.
2. I entirely agree with your following remarks, which eloquently summarize a point I've made on many public occasions:
The other issue, not sure how significant but certainly not trivial, is this: there are so few examples (in the public eye) of successful, happy, decent individuals who are Objectivists that those unfamiliar with the philosophy have little opportunity to see in reality to what adherence to those ideas leads. The fiction is enormously useful in providing theoretical examples, but in the absence of very well known real ones there are few spokesmodels available. (And it doesn't help when some get on Fox News and behave like complete lunatics and are held up as representatives, eh?)Amen.
3. Regarding your examples. Apple had lousy marketing except for that fabulous "1984" commercial that everyone remembers. That was exactly what I mean by good marketing: a memorable, symbolic, even mythic series of images that "positioned" the Mac against the PC as the computer for independent nonconformists. It was hugely effective. If only they had continued that individualism theme throughout all their ads, using images of cowboys, lumberjacks, novelists, James Bond, etc., all using Macs. They would have buried IBM. But their advertising was so inconsistent that it never really jelled in the "public mind."
You say that "people often know value when they are shown it clearly." But you see, that's exactly what I'm talking about with effective marketing: showing them clearly. To do that, you must keep in mind the "crow epistemology" issue: you can't shower busy people with a million nuanced details. It's not that people are stupid; it's that they are busy, and in their daily lives they are bombarded with hundreds of messages, each clamoring for their eyes and ears. To arrest their attention and stand out in the din, your message needs to be unique, distinctive, colorful, emotionally evocative and use a few intelligently chosen concretes rather than mountains of forbidding abstractions.
Once you've intrigued them and gotten their attention, that's when you can add in the details and abstractions. But in discussing things like a name for a philosophy or group, we're talking about that first stage of communication -- the attention-generating stage, not the in-depth educational stage.
As for the other examples you cite, I exhort you to go out and pick up some of the marketing books by Trout and Ries, especially Positioning. They are loaded with countless examples of what I'm talking about. I'm convinced they'll convince you of the significance of this much-maligned field.