Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Citizen (Yes we) Can

One of the many consequences of Barack Obama's presidency has been the question in marketing circles: what does this mean for brands?
Much has been said of the "remake of America", which calls for people to act as citizens, rather than as consumers. This move from passive consumer to active citizen has also been hailed as the new Zeitgeist when it comes to brands.
Brands are now expected to behave as citizens, too, with the buzz words of today being responsibility, sustainability, transparency, accountability and trustworthiness. Citizens (people and brands) have the emphasis firmly on save, not spend with calls for less consumption and more value. Companies are still looking for profit and growth, but through value rather than volume.
As an overall movement and trend, this is all very worthy super-ego stuff and to be applauded. But we must never forget that not all brands are created equal. Not everyone can be a Lovemark. And this is a good thing. We need brand diversity (to bring in another buzz word) simply because citizens remain human beings. They have moods, modes and moments and they also have an Id (or whatever you care to call that most basic part of our psyche). And sometimes the Id simply must have irresponsible, instant gratification.

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