Unweaving the Rainbow
Tuesday, 16 November 2004 - Chicago, USA
A speech made at the Expo for Marketing and Brand Building: As the mass market vanishes, marketing is entering a brave new world. Where consumers rule. Where emotion delivers. Top brand marketers get a long view of the future beyond brands. Loyalty now lies beyond reason. The challenge is to weave what’s wild and true. To create and perpetuate Lovemarks.
This is a hell of a conference program. Wireless to retail. Events to DM. Tweens to boomers. Cause to culture. It’s all here! If the mass market thinks it’s still alive, it ain’t seen PROMO’s schedule!!
Most marketing executions I see are survivor-driven. They try to build brands, a losing strategy of incremental inches. Not a winning strategy of quantum returns.
Brands, like the mass market they pumped, are behind us. Moving from brands to Lovemarks is the challenge all marketers face.
Last century evolved from products, to trademarks to brands. Now brands are out of juice. Commodification – the erosion of distinctions – and a massive power shift to consumers have removed the life force of brands
Welcome to the Truman Show!! Consumers live in a time-starved world where the snacks are crisp, cars start first time and all beer tastes good.
Life for brands is now too fast, too connected, too demanding, too fragile and too cheap. The people who love and promote a value proposition beyond reason, Inspirational Consumers, will market the future. You’ll find them swarming at www.lovemarks.com.
Why were Toyota Prius fans printing their own promotional leaflet for the car? Because people were stopping them on the street to find out more. Because Inspirational Consumers forever love a brand that loves them back.
Lovemarks accelerates a primary truth. Emotion is an unlimited resource with unlimited power. People don’t park their emotions outside the marketplace. They put them in the driver’s seat. And in today’s pressurized world, put the pedal to the metal.
The game has changed. Consumers have better sight, less time, more choices, greater expectations, deeper convictions, digital veto – and they can time travel. Or simply vanish. One moment of falseness, a second of indifference and consumers turn off. And they’ll tell all their friends when they do.
Science confirms it. Emotion, not reason, drives us.
Brain Scientist Donald Calne puts it brilliantly: “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action, while reason leads to conclusions.” More emotion, more action.
Take it from Einstein, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Including marketing…
- Start with Low Respect , Low Love. Standard commodities. Public Utilities. US airlines. Essential. Zero brand heat.
- Low Respect, High Love. The Fad zone. Hero today. Zero tomorrow. Shaved heads, pink handbags, the South Beach Diet, Martha.
- High Respect, Low Love. Great product and service. All fixed on the “e-r” words. Brighter, stronger, faster… cheaper. The clone zone.
- High Respect, High Love. Seductive attitude, irresistible appeal. Lovemarks.
Lovemarks are super-evolved brands that change people’s lives. They bring new simplicity, new language, new tools, new measures and new realism.
- Lovemarks are built on Respect and Love.
- Lovemarks inspire loyalty beyond reason.
- Lovemarks are owned by the people who love and use them, consumers not companies or marketers.
- Lovemarks turn irreplaceable into irresistible.
- Lovemarks provide a return on involvement
Take a brand away and people find a replacement. Take a Lovemark away and people protest.
- Harley Davidson, definitely. Suzuki not.
- Apple iPod is a Lovemark. Sony, Dell and the brand bandits want to be one.
- Oprah is a Lovemark. Martha is not.
Wherever your channel, whoever your target, whatever your tactic, marketing success is about what you do with three primal currents:
1: The Magic of Mystery
To draw together stories, metaphors, dreams and symbols. The most powerful attention-grabbers are things consumers don’t know. The Toyota Prius runs on secrets. It has up to six months back orders. Mystery has the allure of paradox. The more you strip away, the more you entice.
This is why TV advertising – a $55 billion business – won’t die. For multi-dimensional, emotional story telling, nothing touches it. It has pre-eminent power to share a dream across past, present and future. In PVR paradise, two questions count. Do I want to watch it again? Do I want to tell everyone to watch out for it?
2: The Seduction of Sensuality
We now have metrics that measure emotional purchase. But as Apple’s odyssey shows, it is sense, not science, that seduces. Sight, sound, scent, touch, taste. Portals to the emotions.
The new marketing model will be designed by consumers not marketers. Its launch pad will be Sight, Sound and Motion on a prolific global commons – The Screen. From TV to PC, the pulsing, lit-up, fascinating screen is the ultimate medium for telling a great story.
3: The Involvement of Intimacy
Your customer ROI is not about return on investment. The real rewards come as a return on involvement. Your involvement in their business, in their future, in their fight! How did Branson universalize Virgin’s brand? He took the side of the customer. He became her.
Intimacy is knowing the consumer better than she knows herself. Empathy, commitment, passion. The small touch, the perfect gesture. The connections that win undying loyalty.
Deep emotional connections are message-driven not medium-led. It is the big idea – not the media choice – that busts you through the attention economy. Without amazingly relevant content, the debates around context and contact might as well go fishing.
As you workshop promotion, remember this: whether you deliver your message in a wheelbarrow or in a Rolls Royce, on TV or on-line, this isn’t the issue. The market for small, mind-numbing ideas has closed!!
In the media-on-demand playground, elusive consumers will only follow the ideas with stopping power, with talking power, with the explosive power of emotion.
Big ideas run the media line. Without a big idea, please don’t use the word “holistic” or “integrated”.
Executions without a big idea devalue marketing and bore consumers to tears. Why does P&G have 16 billion dollar brands? Because A.G. Lafley backs huge, high-concept, media fertile ideas. Ideas that inspire love wherever you take them.
Olay loving the skin you’re in. Pampers sees the world through a baby’s eyes.
In the Age of Also, will we see a new mass market? Go back before TV. Before radio. To the medieval market. Catapult that supersensory experience into the future and you’re staring at the answer.
On this side of the screen, the store is the only critical mass with real pulling power. We all know that around 80% of purchase decisions and 50% of brand switching occurs in store.
Today’s Store is an emotional vacuum inside a financial wasteland. In-store radio, lighting and air con should be done for assault. It’s ripe for Extreme Make Over. The opportunity for Lovemarks is gargantuan.
Tomorrow’s heroes will pull the big creative idea on the screen into the cart, down the corridor and through the entire shopping experience. They’ll drip it with mystery, sensuality and intimacy to create emotional theatre.
Marketing is entering a brave new world. The stakes have gone through the roof. Frankie Byrne was right “Respect is love in plain clothes”. Respect will cover your brands’ essentials. It will make you decent. Only love will compel attention. Only love will make your irreplaceable brands irresistible.
Business is the engine of human progress. You drive that engine to market. You lead it out into the world to make a difference. To inspire amazing actions and inclusive outcomes.
Marketing has to look beyond finites like price and quality. In a commodity blizzard, consumers want something infinite, something wild and true. They want to feel truly, madly, deeply loved! And they want to share that world-changing feeling.
Here are five ideas to lift you to Lovemarks:
- Tap into the Dreams of your customers. Harley Davidson revived their fortune on an inspirational dream: the middle-aged still want to rock and roll!! Dreams create action and action inspires dreams. Martin Luther King did not say “I have a marketing plan”.
- Tell your brand Stories. A great story never goes stale. I was a marketing exec for Gillette. Warren Buffet, a Gillette fan, said: “I go to bed happy at night, knowing that hair is growing on millions of male faces.” Here’s a story that takes that a step further.
- Write your big Ideas on the back of your business card. If you can’t, you don’t have one so don’t promote it. In the film The Player, Hollywood mogul Griffin Mill only ever gives hopefuls 25 words to sum up their idea. Alien was famously described as ‘Jaws in Space’. Three words and you have the idea.
- Be Intimate with your customers. Listen to them with your heart. With all five senses on high alert. David Ogilvy was right. The consumer is not a moron. She’s your wife.
- Last and first, stay open to Love. Once you accept the power of Love a whole heap of stuff drops neatly into place – or right out of the picture altogether.