I’ve been thinking about how dated traditional marketing worldviews have become — particularly the notions of brand building.
Twentieth century economic growth provided a hothouse for the dogma of brand building. The increasing presence of one-way broadcast mediums, coupled with the industrial revolution and later on the spread of consumption-led economies provided the perfect storm for brand-think. Whether in the guise of ad-agency, consultant or marketing manager, brand shamans shouted their b-invectives to willing minions — brand imagery, brand awareness, brand positioning, brand building, brand equity — brand, brand brand.
Fast forward to 2011. The rise of community-led dialogues, a wary cynicism associated with big businesses, a re-mix-culture and desire for collaborative creativity are providing yet another perfect storm. And this perfect storm is less about the power of brands to win people over through imagery and incessant one-way messaging. This perfect storm is about the power of people — with brands as potentially helpful tools and props.
I don’t mean to be disparaging when calling brands tools and props. Tools provide a useful function. Props provide support. Both terms imply doing things for people. In other words, welcome to the era when brands and the products they represent should market themselves by doing more for people (and in the process losing the brand-message monologue). That could be the foundation for a great relationship.