Insights on Today’s Marketing Issues
We all hear the word “Storytelling” in our business. It’s gotten so over used that most people can’t actually tell a story anymore. As marketers, we are all part of the ancient, campfire-born traditions − not Blazing Saddles after a plate of beans, but something more like Dances with Wolves waiting for the buffalo herds to arrive.
We’ve reached a point where brands can no longer, and should no longer, stay silent about broad-reaching social issues. Employees are speaking up to hold their employers accountable to their own missions, and customers are loyal to brands they believe align with their personal values − whether that’s about sustainable practices such as the use of plastic water bottles or livable wages. It’s an exciting time for consumers and employees and is also the right time for brands to be thoughtful.
A recent 20-year study conducted by Dr. Thomas Gilovich at Cornell came to the conclusion: Don’t spend your money on things. The trouble with things is that the happiness they provide fades quickly. 1. We get used to new possessions and tire of them quickly; 2. We keep raising the bar, and are always on the lookout for an even better one; and 3. The Joneses are always lurking nearby, and we are thrilled with our possession until a friend buys a better one − and somebody always has a better one. It’s America after all. I once had a client with a private jet and he loved it until the day he parked it next to a Boeing Business Jet in Vegas, and it wasn’t long before he had one of those.
By now we should all know that people tend to choose brands quickly, using their intuitive brain rather than rationally thinking this through with their deliberative brain. Most purchases in a grocery store for instance are made on instinct and habit. Mom bought Crest, Cheerios and Band Aids for you growing up, and you still use Crest, Cheerios and Band Aids today. Brand choices are driven primarily by emotion, feeling and consistent experiences.
You no doubt saw that Coca-Cola had one commercial associated with the big football game a week ago. And it only ran before the national anthem. Because, in their words, they aimed to bring people together to celebrate their differences. They felt that running it within the game, America’s divisive culture would take over and ruin the moment for their message of Unity and Diversity. It was Coke’s hope that the viewers would come together as a country to sing our national anthem in unison across this great land.
Here in America, we’ve been ingrained that the best costs more. A Morton’s hamburger certainly costs more than a Wendy’ burger. A BMW costs more than a Chevy. A Montage room costs more than an entire Holiday Inn Express. These are easy comparisons. But price compare between a Montage room and a Four Seasons or a Ritz Carlton room along with the resort experience and it gets more grey than black & white.
Vail Resorts is testing a chatbot they call “Emma” to help skiers get information on its multiple ski resorts. Emma can find information about topics including weather, lift status, terrain, parking, traffic, lessons and rentals. She will hand off conversations to a live agent if she can’t answer a question. Emma is 24/7 during the winter season.
In our opinion, the biggest mistake brands now make is neglecting to define their antagonist, their enemy, what they stand against. That’s where the creative and cultural tension comes from. That’s where marketers can make a stand. That’s where brands can break through the clutter of today’s marketing landscape and actually get noticed.
We’re in a constant battle for attention. In today’s “always-on” world, the average human now loses focus within eight seconds, meaning we now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. A gold fish? This translates to faster drop-off rates for everything marketing, storytelling and creating content.
Forbes recently reported that 64% of consumers make a purchase after viewing a branded social video. Other studies agree − video is everywhere and it is a key business driver.