Strategy and Sausages:
A British Strategic Planner in Germany
Friday, 18 March 2016
Life isn't seamless
Hot on the heels of my last post about our smoothie society, I would like to unpick a few seams and see what I find. There is an obsession amongst marketing folk these days with the word 'seamless', and I notice it creeping into general usage, too. Recently, a fashion company promised me a dress which would take me 'seamlessly from Spring into Summer', and I don't think they were talking about the garment's construction.
Typical of the 'seamless' obsession is this article by Margaret Hung, SVP Consumer Dynamics, Solutions and Strategy at Millward Brown. It's called Unifying the Journey. It starts off: Marketers have long embraced the concept of creating seamless and rewarding brand experiences along the consumer journey.
The main point of the article is that digitalisation means that sales channels and media channels no longer have a divide between them, and concludes that: The solution is consumer journey mapping, which helps facilitate an integrated sales and media planning process by revealing which sales and media touchpoints play a role in the consumer decision-making process and how they work together to influence which product and brand is ultimately purchased. No. This isn't the solution. Or at least, let's unpick that 'seamless' word and see what we are actually talking about here. If we're talking about 'a seamless customer journey' (if we have to) - in other words, the way that people find and buy brands through their smartphones, stores, advertising, word of mouth (maybe) - then, I would say in this day and age that this should be as easy as possible as a hygiene factor, if you like. And a brilliant technical team who are skilled in the nuts and bolts (or whatever they have these days) of making that happen should be able to sort that out. But 'a seamless brand experience'? I'm not sure. Seamless to me starts to imply a few other things. Bland. Mediocre. Uniform. Dull. Predictable. What about surprise? Richness? Mystery? Charm? Discovery? Curiosity? Surely these belong, too, in a 'brand experience?' As Jung said: The unexpected and the incredible belong in this world. Only then is life whole. Which would you prefer for your 'brand experience', metaphorically? The beautiful patchwork quilt by Lucy Boston? Or a seamless robe?
When I was little, I wanted to be a spy. I got off to a good start, studying Psychology at Trinity College, Cambridge but somehow got side-tracked into the wonderful world of advertising and marketing.
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