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How hard can it be? May 3, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, marketing.
Tags: , , ,
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I saw a blog recently (I have to start writing this shit down) talking about brands having genuine conversations, people going through stages and relationships with the brands as they move through different phases of their lives and want different things.

It occurred to me that for brands to do this, they have to become human. Some can handle this, others don’t survive the transition. The boon for the latter half is that, for a company like Apple, nobody wants to see them become human anyway.

To survive the ups and downs of modern life, brands are going to need to re-think a few things:

  1. We’re not always right
  2. We don’t have the best ideas every time we have an idea
  3. Some of them are actually quite bad
  4. Hell we don’t even have ideas all the time, occasionally we’re just winging it
  5. We make dumb assumptions about a myriad of things, born entirely from not putting ourselves in the same position you’re in
  6. Subsequently, we don’t know best
  7. We change our minds almost constantly. No we don’t. Yes we do.
  8. We fuck up
  9. No, I mean we really fuck up
  10. When it is warranted, we are genuinely sorry about it

This stuff isn’t rocket science, it’s common sense. Unfortunately common sense isn’t all that common. It’s about being human, making brands and companies human, fallible, instilled with humour, full of life and mistakes. Heinz isn’t an interesting story, the mothers and fathers working on their baby formula are. It’s easy to shoot a company or a brand down when there isn’t a human attached to it.

The second they become human, the moment the brand has a face attached to it not borne from a lucrative sponsorship deal, that’s when the interesting work begins. I think the answer to the question posed in the headline is “Not very hard at all, it just requires honesty.”

Billy Joel sang honesty is hardly ever heard, and mostly what I need from you. As I’ve said before, truths are invariably harder to swallow than we first make them out to be.

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