The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;
The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.
Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
– George Bernard Shaw
Consumers are unreasonable and therefore all progress depends upon them.
We have two profoundly challenging problems in the world today that we must tackle head on in 2017.
FIRSTLY, THERE IS TOO MUCH TO BUY
Our economic wealth has been built on the back of creating demand.
Capitalism demands endless growth.
And what does endless growth produce?
Christmas scented toilet roll.
Or as per the famous experiment – jam.
And lots of it.
104 to be precise is the total number of jams and marmalades you can buy currently in Tesco.
If you ate jam everyday and averaged 1 jam a week, you would take 2 years before you got back to the beginning and had to double up on stuff.
And we know that when offered such an overwhelming array of stuff, consumers or as I like to call them, ‘people’ do not buy more stuff.
In the famous experiment when shown an array of 24 jams people were more attracted to the display than when there were just 6. However when it came to buying, whilst 30% of the people exposed to the 6 jams bought a jar; only 3 percent of those exposed to the 24 jams did so.
Too much stuff.
THE SECOND PROBLEM IS TECHNOLOGY
Technology isn’t just a bit here, it is all consuming.
Our devices are these little black boxes we can’t be without, we live in a world where the worst thing is not leaving your keys at home but your phone.
The average Briton checks their phone 221 times a day.
We spend on average 8hrs 41minutes a day on all of our screens.
That is more time than sleeping.
The net result?
A feeling of being overwhelmed.
Blocking stuff out.
Who here has heard the phrase content is king?
I’ll tell you who hasn’t, that is consumers.
What they have heard is this:
Too much stuff
Too little time
Too little thought as to it’s purpose.
We are living in an arms race, an un-winnable war of producing the most enormous amount of horse-shit you have ever seen.
And the problem with this content war is that it disguises a bigger problem.
The one that is really going to kill your brand.
THAT PROBLEM? USEFULNESS
You will hear much about the likes of Amazon, Uber, Deliveroo, Casper to name but a few.
Whilst there may be great deliberation as to the merits of the technologies involved, the whizziness of the operations or the lifestyliness of the mattresses there is one thing that is clear.
Despite their techniness, these online brands could not be behaving in a more conventional way if they tried.
They are making products that work.
That make life easier.
That are straightforward.
That require few choices.
That solve a problem.
This is the definition of a brand.
Rather than tech brands changing the world of branding, it is tech brands that are simply applying the rules of branding
The thing that is going to kill your brand, is that whilst you are worrying about content, someone else is revolutionising their product to become something that people actually want to use.
And in a world full of endless stuff is it unreasonable that people don’t want more marketing but simply want products and things that are useful?