Hitting the target

We recognize that many, many people are disturbed by America’s gun culture. But still…Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun by Paul Barrett contains some instructive lessons in marketing.

Ironically, “America’s Gun” was the brainchild of a quirky old Austrian guy, Gaston Glock,  who perfected the gun at night and on weekends while working out of his garage.  He made headway in the US market by targeting key influencers – specifically, police departments.

The company also used some marketing jujitsu and turned very negative media coverage to its advantage.  When the notorious Muammar Gaddafi allegedly tried to purchase large numbers of Glocks, it actually ended up buttressing the notion that Glock was the gun for you if you were a seriously bad dude.

Barrett describes some of the consumer-centric “events” that helped to create a strong brand community, especially among the ranks of law enforcement. The Glock headquarters near Atlanta became kind of a playground for visiting police department officials.

This isn’t a corporate culture anyone would want to emulate.  Glock himself is…ummm…let’s say “eccentric.”  And he filled his upper management ranks with more than a few unsavory characters.  But the company has thrived despite all the dysfunction.

Here is a New York Times review of the book from January.