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What’s love got to do with it?

by Hugh De Winton, Dare / May 26, 2013

Note: This blog entry is available in English only.

When was the last time you overheard someone talk about the importance of relationships, love and loyalty and then realised they weren’t talking about their private life but about marketing? If I was to hazard a guess I’d say it’s been very recently.

Now, I haven’t got a problem with pointing out that some people do choose to get a Harley Davidson tattoo or queue all night outside the Apple store for the latest version of the iPad, after all, a level of brand loyalty exists in all markets, though some markets inspire more than others. These people can be a great source of publicity and a useful asset – after all, if they’ll get a tattoo of your brand on their back or camp on a pavement, think of all the other fun things you could ask them to do. Now there’s a brainstorm subject.

The problem is that we often overestimate how much of it there is, how important it is to brand growth and how much more of it we can generate. We see a few thousand ‘engagements’ (the most ambiguous term in marketing) and run with it. Our judgement becomes distorted by the noise of our biggest fans at the cost of the people we actually need to be focussing our efforts on, the ones who don’t care very much and probably don’t want to ‘like’ us because they can’t be bothered or don’t even know who we are.

As hard as it is to stomach, the very large majority of people don’t care much for brands in the way we think they do. As Martin Weigel of W&K pointed out in a recent talk, 50% of the brand knowledge in a category is owned by 20% of the people* – we tend to know that 20% intimately, they’re the ones who talk to us on Facebook or write angry letters questioning why we’ve discontinued a product.

So what about the other 80%? Well, we don’t spend nearly enough time trying to understand them. It may be hard for us that they don’t want a relationship or show us much loyalty but in fact their nonchalance is quite liberating.

Acknowledging people’s real lives and indifference to most of what we do should be inspiring, it should help us raise the bar on what we produce. It should help us make work that provokes something in people. It should help us rid the world of QR codes and copycat ideas.

If there’s one thing to hold onto in this jungle of new ideas, crackpot theories and emerging trends, it should be the truth about what people really think of us. If we can get our heads around that, we might just manage to make work that matters to the 80%.





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