Havas Media released a study with the result that should shock every brand owner. After this report everyone who has anything to do with advertising or brand management should rethink their approach.
Let me share with you the most important conclusion from Havas Media report:
Most people would not care if 74% of brands disappeared and less than 28% of brands improve our quality of life and wellbeing [source: Havas Media]. These figures have remained stable over the last 5 years, showing that in many developed countries the disconnect between brands and people has become the new norm.
Let me emphasize the conclusion: if we wake up tomorrow, and 74% of top 500 brands disappear nothing will happen. For many people this situation will be absolutely meaningless. Today your brand exists, tomorrow it doesn’t and for many young people this fact means nothing.
Are you really surprised? I am not.
There is research that shows some outstanding info – up to the moment a person is 18 years old that person will receive 21 million marketing messages. Over 1 600 000 messages yearly. Approx. 3196 messages daily.
In omnichannel. On various devices in different applications, services and websites. In a programmatic way obviously, because today brand love, is to spend money in a programmatic way and if you are not that young that TV could not exist for you, also in these old school media.
What you get in in return? Very often a big reach of nothing. So much nothing, that 74% of top 500 brands would disappear tomorrow and this fact will be meaningless for people.
What’s more, many people say that they don’t care at all (maybe they only say, but…):
– that your brand was build 180 years go; which means for many that your company is old, which is not necessarily a big value
– that you have unique formula; which gives zero advantage to the consumer because almost all brand claim that they have something unique which results with millions of brands with unique value which is not so unique
– that you love your product – which is very funny, because why would you want to sell something that you love? Will you sell your wife as well? C’mon.
– that you are experts; which is also a little bit funny. You know who is an expert? Someone who made all possible mistakes in his/her respective industry ?
– that you are no 1 in your industry – today, but tomorrow you can disappear and you can feel as one of the other 74%
– that you have mission and values; which means that you put some sentences on the walls in your office, which gives absolute zero value for your customer. Especially a young one.
Let’s gamble on the theory that after such a bombardment, most of people become resistant to what you want to say about the brand. This is the fault of people responsible for brands, not consumers and this is a brand problem, to find a way in a fast changing landscape, where it’s not even a dialogue between the brand and consumer. It’s a landscape where consumers have a strong voice and enough power to be louder than the brand. In many cases, only when you piss your consumers off.
Brian Solis in his great book “Engage!” wrote one of the most important sentences for everyone involved in brands:
”Content is the new democracy and we, the people are ensuring that our voices are heard”
Let’s be honest, brands love to piss on people. Sometimes it is astupid way of using social media to communicate. Let me show you two examples only:
Can you believe it? “Leave someone a note where they least expect it – on your roll of toilet paper”. Yeah, sure – leave a best birthday wishes to your wife on toilet paper and watch her reaction. It will be unforgettable, trust me!
This question… And the reply with 4399 likes… Nothing more to say.
But there is the another side to the coin. Young people are not only brand consumers but more and more often are responsible for brands. Let me show you one case form Poland.
You see the picture – four men are carrying one. On the bottom line there is sentence “Kac Vegas? Screenplay written by Zytnia”. Up to that moment it’s fine, right? The problem is that the picture doesn’t show a drunk man but a man that was shot by communist militia on 31st August 1982. It was huge scandal, and even besides the fact that the prosecutor recognized only one guilty person- it hit brand as well. What is hard to believe is the fact that 28 years old lady was responsible for this, graduated from history. She said that the only reason she used the picture (by the way she took it from Institute of National Remembrance and even this should alert her) is the way four men carry the one.
It’s really hard to believe that the person with historical education, uses picture from the institution that prosecute the crimes against the Polish nation and put it in an entertainment context. If you ask anyone about this case you won’t hear the name of the person responsible , but name of the brand.
Obviously we can find many young people who are great, talented and responsible (I work with them!) and we can also find many older people who had such cases. I wanted only to put it in some context what started from the Havas Media study. It’s just another side of the coin. It’s some thesis.
And the conclusion is not so optimistic.
Many brands can disappear and won’t be missed, many brands spend million of dollars and get big reach with nothing in return, many brands will give their future in hands of people who can harm the brand with one picture and one sentence.
I believe that all these obstacles makes building brand harder, but not for smart people. They will find a way to turn obstacles into advantages and do a great job without spending million of dollars. From the other side, there was always like that smart people wins. But know this, that using all available social media in wise way, you can do it better than people 20 and 30 years ago and more effective even without spending millions.
And remember about Navy Seals motto: The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday.
It should be brands motto as well.