It seems that just a moment ago the very concept of branding and brand ownership belonged to huge corporations who traded in these household identities, the way that politicians make decisions, disconnected from the rest of us.
They drove us and bullied us into substituting their brand names for standard nouns. Hoover and Breeze became more normal than vacuum and washing powder and their job was done. Brainwashed like The Manchurian Candidate, we lived in a Proctor & Gamble world, demanding all those items which those aspiration-driven ad men convinced us would make our lives better.
When did we begin to lose that sense of dreamy better life? When did we replace it with cynical empty humorless ‘likes’ ?
It began, I truly believe, when it all speeded up. Thought at the speed of the internet, war as breaking news, as it happens; Ted Turner’s Bombing of Bagdad. It may have ushered in the era of ‘now’, but it fell sadly short of the romance of Gone with the Wind!
And, in as much as the marketing department may live and prosper under the epithet of “frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” and manage their brands with an abundance of ADD and blur, I still believe in demarcation, even now. Not letting the gravy touch the mash until I’m ready. But when the two combine, the experience is enduring. The sales and the customer loyalty, not to mention the demand become consistent and satisfying. A product or a service should be a truly memorable experience. That humorless ‘like’ button is not part of that equation and being ‘social’ demands a good reason why!
If you live in the reality driven world, you accept the needs and wants of a ravenous society, hopped up on the ‘now’ and the demands which go with it. But in all good conscience, if you feel that a steady diet of Red Bull and the over analysis of what happens next, does not give you that warm fuzzy feeling of confidence in where the long term goals of your product or service are going, then it’s time to ask the obvious questions. “Just how ‘social’ is my product?” “Can anyone remember what we said about ourselves at the last commercial break” and “will they spot us tomorrow in the supermarket?”
The development of a great idea still trumps a fad. It endures, like great art, the test of time. So saying, I don’t hate social media. I just want to utilize it, like the tool it is, not the addiction it can so easily become. Use it to build the culture of a developing product, and not become the product itself.
In an increasingly culture-less world, a little of that may just give the media something to talk about, the marketing department something to fire their interest and the public something they can buy and trust!