Written by Grant Meldrum Connect Africa Communications
With February, being the month of Love, I thought I would introduce a concept, which sometimes isn’t associated with business – and that is Love.
The number one job for any marketer these days is competing for attention. Whoever you are. Wherever you are. And once you have captured that attention, you have to show that you deserve it.
The process only has two steps – so why does everyone find it so hard? It’s all because we obsess over the attention part and forget about why we need that attention in the first place: the relationships. Emotional connections with consumers have to be the foundation of all our cool marketing moves and innovative tactics. Viral marketing, guerilla marketing, entertainment marketing, experience marketing – they all seize the attention if they are done right, but once they have it; they have nowhere much to put it.
Nothing to build, nothing to add to, nothing to value or care about,
The great journey from products to trademarks and from trademarks to brands is over. Trademarks are tablestakes, brands are tablestakes. Both are useful in the quest for differentiation and vital to survival, but they aren’t winning game-breakers.
Today the stakes have reached a new high. The social fabric is spread more thinly than ever. People are looking for new, emotional connections. They are looking for what they can love. They are insisting on more choice, they have higher expectations, and they need emotional pull to help them make decisions. And finally, they want more ways to connect with everything in their lives – including brands. Businesses have assumed that people see brands the same way as they do. That is why they get it so-o-o-o wrong.
But some special brands don’t seem to make that mistake. They are so far out in front that they seemed to have evolved into something else.
Plato got it right: “At the touch of LOVE, everyone becomes a poet”. We now need to look at what part Love could mean for businesses. People love people. We love experiences, we love events, we love teams, we love abstract ideas like our country, our city (Grahamstown) or causes. We love art. And we love stuff. The objects that define who we are and where we stand.
We are consumers by nature. For virtually all the world’s citizens , our possessions add meaning to our lives. That’s why we buy, exchange, give, treasure and possess them. The things we have chosen to live with aren’t inert objects. We wrap our imagination around them. We express ourselves through them. We make them into what we care about.
Love is the only way businesses can respond to the rapid shift in control to consumers. Once we get comfortable with saying the “L” word, we delve more deeply into understanding its breadth and relevance to business. We wondered about a way to rank brands or anything else according to the intensity of Love people felt for them. The really great things would be placed near the top with the lesser ones towards the bottom.
Conventional wisdom says that brands are taking over people’s lives. And that this is a bad thing. But maybe it works the other way. Maybe life is taking over brands?
So what does this all mean? The brands, which will become loved by consumers, are those who make genuine emotional connections with communities and networks that they live in. This means that they need to get up close and personal. And no one is going to let you get close enough to touch them unless they respect what you do and who you are.
So in order to be loved, companies and/or brands much like people, need to work on gaining respect as well as getting emotionally connected with people, so the head and the heart starts working in tandem. Businesses need to stop telling consumers what to think by drowning them with all of their product’s facts, USPs etc. hoping for consumers to react. They they need to starting thinking how to become more emotionally attractive to their consumers by doing things that really matter to consumers and, by playing Cupid…