It is an undeniable fact that the way we live our lives is changing
apace. It is also an undeniable fact that because of this, today’s
consumer is complex. Noisy society is a different beast from the one we
have faced in yesteryear. Worryingly, it is not an undeniable fact that
the way we market our brands in this new world, against this new target,
Consumers, capable of instantly dissecting a strategy and interrogating
the message for a credible and motivating rationale, are not merely wise
to marketing. They have also had to become wise to life. And with this
come new levels of expectation and, in terms of what impresses them, new
Forces far more compelling than marketing challenge consumers daily.
Their safety-nets have been eroded as yesterday’s conventions
While this manifested itself in the early 90s in gloom, today’s
consumers have made a virtue out of their situation and are empowered by
choice, control and freedom.
Our ambition must always be to gain an advantage over the competition
and then build consumer awareness of this. Within this, there are two
key challenges. First, getting noticed. Second - a more difficult
challenge - achieving credibility.
But against these challenges - and the emergence of the marketing-savvy
consumer - we are seeing the emergence of a different force: the
consumer-savvy marketer. To stay abreast of change, he or she has
usually completed mountains of research to understand consumers better.
But the result, if not used bravely, is not worth the effort.
Clued-up consumers tell marketers what they expect from a brand. Armed
with this knowledge, the marketer might skilfully execute exactly what
the consumer expects. But in settling for the expected we develop a safe
strategy and fail to meet consumers’ higher judgment criteria.
We ask consumers to be excited by our brands but hope to achieve this by
showing them what they expect. The marketing story works at a certain
level but becomes unremarkable in the real world because, while it is
logical and well researched, it is already yesterday’s news.
It is the responsibility of any brand to understand how it can become
more memorable. The brand must blend three elements. Honesty, or the
ability to tell the truth about what it can offer. Pride, or the ability
to demonstrate commitment and enthusiasm for what it does. And
inspiration, or the ability to provoke a response above and beyond the
The last element is becoming more vital because we are failing to inject
an interim process whereby we take the known, make it remarkable, and
inject the energy the brand needs to compete in today’s world.
The better brands have always achieved this. Until Apple told the
consumer that computers were not about conforming but about creating,
the market felt ’anoraky’ and establishment. Thus for Apple, the role
for branding has been to target and own the future, a strategy that has
won extraordinary consumer respect.