Stage Flight: The Emergence of the Confident Consumer


Stage FlightThere are many who believe this increasingly connected virtual world is negatively impacting social skills.  People tend to talk lesser to each other all of us have become Phubbers. Kids are replacing time spent playing with other kids with their eyes glued to one of the screens.  Social networking sites alleviate any guilt associated with not keeping in touch with loved ones.

While it is a lead in, this post is not to debate the case merits of the “multi-media world”.  Suffice to say that there are extremely good arguments on both sides.  This post attempts to reveal one such dimension or an insight.

The author believes that despite the virtual world having created these bubbles or silos that we live in, the people today are more willing to let themselves be judged than ever before.

The past decade or slightly more has witnessed the inception and growth of what are termed “reality shows” especially the talent or skill based variety.  What separates one from fame and money (read success) today is not chance or opportunity, but their individual skill or talent.  These shows and the advent of social networking have given wings and fuelled aspirations of millions.  They have given rise to a new breed that does believes there’s a place in the spotlight for them. Whether it is singing, dancing, writing, acting, playing an instrument, cooking or for that matter something as inane as the ability to spit with precision on a target!  There is a platform available to showcase ability. Opportunity today is ubiquitous.

Contests, competitions and pageants have been around a long time so what really has changed? It is the scale.  The connected world has removed the subjectivity of the talent scouts and placed in the hands of the audiences. While it might not be the right way to do it, it has definitely democratized the process of selection.  The opinion of the few is being supplemented with the taste of the masses.   This for whatever its worth has lent itself to the perception of “fair play”.

More and more people are venturing out of their protective cocoons, unafraid what the world will say. In fact, the world is the promise and failure or ridicule, a very small price to pay.  Talent and skill are just exaggerated manifestations of this insight.  The gains need not always be monetary, they can be personal boosters too.  The willingness to be judged is evident in every single act of in the social networking space.  We put up our photographs, air our views, and share our moods all of which are being judged in real time. Likes, +1’s, re-tweets, views, comments, shares are the new determinants of success.

This new found confidence transcends demographics, culture, social strata you name it.  From babies to octogenarians nobody seems to have an issue with stage fright anymore. As an audience what is on view ranges from the amazing to the ridiculous.  There is no such thing as infamy, popular is the bottom line.

You generate the content and put it out, the seekers of the content will gravitate towards it.  The number of home-made or amateur or non-professional efforts that have viraled in the recent past are testament to this.  Bloggers and twitterati with following are an integral part of digital marketing plans. Every day more and more content is put up on sites that give a platform to users.  From e-books to self-produced music videos it’s all there.  Every passing year talent hunts get unprecedented participation and ever increasing social footprint.

 Overnight success is no longer an infrequent occurrence or a fairy tale it is expected.  There are several more Justin Biebers knocking on the doors of fame.

As they say it’s not spreading your wings but courage that makes you fly!

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A Lot Like Love: Branding Your Way to your Consumers Wallet


The best way to a Consumers Wallet..is through his heart! Image

As marketers creating products and communication our biggest challenge is to resist an overload of the rational. Facts and figures as tempting as they seem seldom cut through. Moreover,in todays information age facts are available at the click of a button. So do we really need to be giving more?

Ideally, a brand-consumer interaction should evoke a positive emotion that gets nurtured over time facilitating decisions made by the consumer in favour of the brand. Most agencies argue in favour of an emotional communication and the brand managers are invariably guilty of pushing more fact than necessary. After all, powerful emotions need a powerful loop back to reality. Wrong!

It is true that emotions are invariably in response to a stimulus and that the extent or depth of consumer reaction is a function of the relevance. Brands attempt closure by communicating why the product is relevant to the consumer.  We all know brands are built over several campaigns. While the consumer is not out there connecting the dots, there is a residual impact that is lasting which is where emotions come in. A rational journey almost always requires a brushing up on the other hand we can restart an emotional journey after a pause,no matter how long!

Often, the obvious is so close to us that it escapes notice. Having set an emotional context,I guess the mistake that we make is that instead of building on the relevance of the emotion to consumer we bring in the product features.

One may argue that there’s only that much that can be achieved within 30seconds or 45 or 60 whatever the edit length is. Well, yes and no. Yes, there is a limited timeframe to pack in everything. No, it is not just a TV spot that serves as our communication, we live our life in a continuum, there are other avenues available to build the bridge from the emotional to the rational and from thereon to purchase. I have talked about this in a previous post https://abrandviewstory.com/2013/12/27/somewhere-over-the-rainbow-principles-for-finding-the-pot-of-gold-in-a-digital-world/ even outside the digital world money spent on a “build” is better than a “repeat”.

As a consumer, if the emotion that you evoked was powerful enough, I will try to find out more, I will find that bridge between the emotional and the rational.

Time and effort are better spent sharpening the emotional side of the communication leading upto why that emotion is relevant to the consumer.The greatest dis-service a brand can do itself is to evoke that emotion and leave it un-nurtured. You might as well spend money on your competitors campaign!

So as a brand or as a product communicating in the emotional plane, I should have answers to the following questions which are indicative not exhaustive:
1) The Promise: What am I going to make you feel? Joyous, triumphant, wanted etc.
2) The Method: How am I going to do it? I am a tool, pride of ownership etc.
3) The Reason: Why should you believe me? Endorsement, Trust etc.
4) The Provocation: Why now is the best time? Opportunity, urgency of need, etc
5) The Exclusivity: Why nobody else will do the way I do? Understanding you, knowing you etc

A lot like love isn’t it?

And as food for further thought here’s a recent communication that caught my eye, how many of the above boxes do you think it would tick?