Friday 9 August 2013

Avaricious Brands

When I first started in this game, the military metaphor was de rigueur when it came to talking about marketing. If you couldn't quote Von Clausewitz, you weren't anyone. And of course, old habits die hard. Although Sport metaphors made a brief appearance in the 90s, these have been more quickly consigned to the cliche bin than the more aggressive military terms. After all, why team up with someone or coach them when you can just shoot them instead?

Wars are usually fought with an aim - to gain something, such as power or territory. Or, ideally, both. And brands (or the people that speak for them) do tend to be rather avaricious.

Not content with owning the market, or a sizeable share of it, brands covet all sorts of weird and wonderful things, from the High Ground (whatever that may be) or the Heart and Mind of The Consumer (no one is terribly interested in bladders or bowels) to bizarre notions such as "family rituals" or "me-time" to the frankly absurd - Love, Happiness and Freedom.

The thing is, most of these things are not material, and no-one, let alone a brand, can own them. In the same way, you can "love" a brand all you like, but it can never reciprocate that love. It just can't. It's not human.

Even if all this ownership stuff is just a figure of speech, it is all about power, control and competition.

In the new spirit of generosity and cooperation, it would be refreshing to see brands (or the people who speak for them) giving something back, instead of pontificating about ownership.

Or maybe our brand could "own" generosity?

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