Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SHIFT - brands that you join, not just buy

Just finished Peter Arnell's book, "SHIFT" and loved it. I had no idea until I finished it and Googled him looking for more that his agency was the one behind the changing of the Tropicana OJ packaging (referred to as a $35M mistake as consumers revolted) but it was still a great book. Great writing style, simple, pithy and compelling.

Throughout the book, and all the examples given, I was reminded about so many creatives who take the notion of "brand" only so far. For some it's about a look/feel or logo. For others it's about "raising awareness" or helping a company become known for what it does. For others it's about sales. So many in this space don't put the thinking energy into taking their brand to the next level and making it something so much more meaningful than just a marketing construct.

Arnell puts it simply - "In consumer branding, we need to not just have customers buy a product but to join a brand. We need to issue an invitation not push for a transaction."

I think he is so right. Every single one of us, including those who make our lives in the vast array of "marketing" pursuits, are customers too. And I bet most of us despise, some even hate, being treated like a transaction and part of an equation on a sales report. So as "Black Friday" looms just a few days away, the most transactional of all shopping days, I'm making it my personal charge to drink in the whole experience and see if I can find any "transactions" that invite me to join, in a sustainable way (beyond the monthly service contract!).

I'm betting there are few, if any. And yet, as a client once told me when we were launching a new destination resort and trying to tell the story, "I'll know it when I see it". For me, it's beyond just seeing, I know great brands when I feel them, and they invite me in to their community. Let's make it our professional charge to do this on every brand we touch. You in?

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