Friday, 25 October 2013

My brand, right or wrong!

Every now and then, I come across a presentation or a blog post that's a refreshing antidote to the usual marketing and advertising hubris blah-blah where toilet cleaner brands are regularly raised to the status of demi-gods.

This time it's a presentation from Martin Weigel of Wieden & Kennedy entitled How to (not) Fail, and he's blogged about it in a post entitled A tale of humility and indifference.

Well worth reading to take you down to earth, Martin stresses the over reliance of marketeers on metaphor and specifically that metaphor of relationships with brands reflecting human relationships. And when he's taken you down to earth, he inspires you again by showing exactly how important stunning creativity is to overcome indifference.

One of the words in the marketing vocabulary that most gets my goat is one of the older ones: loyalty. The use of this word in describing the relationship between a person and a brand (or even a company) has always made me queasy. Loyalty is defined, usually, as "true, faithful to duty, love or obligation (to a person)" or possibly "faithful in allegiance to sovereign, mother country".

Now, one of the reasons that all that "King and Country" stuff has gone out of the window in the last century is that people have realised that you don't get much back for your investment of your love, duty or even life. And it's the same with brands. They cannot return or reward this "faithfulness" except with a  few Airmiles or a 25% discount when you've collected twenty five stickers on that annoying card cluttering up your wallet with zillions of others.

I've heard marketers getting quite huffy when talking about their "unloyal (sic) customers", as if they'd committed some ghastly act of betrayal. But seriously, what are you going to do if your customers decide to try another brand? Shoot them? Track down their new flame and peel its brand onion with a rusty knife?

At the end of it, "your" customers are usually someone else's, too.

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