As we chatted about BRAIN EATIN' ZOMBIE BABIES, he told me about a game that he plays: When a new project crosses his desk, he keeps notes about which ones he thinks will win - that is, which would become big successes - and which ones would fail. And he was honest about it: He was often wrong. He's been in the business a long time, so he goes waaaay back:
The Pet Rock - He figured this to be a loser. The creator of the Pet Rock actually made an awful lot of money.
Cabbage Patch Kids - He thought Xavier Roberts was crazy. No one would ever buy these ugly dolls.
He ran down a long list of properties where he'd been wrong. And a long list of properties where he'd been right. It worked out to be about even. Again proving William Goldman's rule: NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING.
So what advice did he give me? With the internet and social networking as they are today, the opportunities for an individual to build a brand have never been better. If you're lucky, it doesn't cost a lot of money and it doesn't take a lot of time. There are a lot of people who create memes, but its accidental, so they don't know what to do with them - or don't have a plan in place until its too late.
Be ready. Work at it. Start small and work to grow it as you would any business.