Why are so many big brands stabbing me in the back? Names I used to trust are no longer my best buddies. How could they betray me? When we hit the hard times, they just didn’t seem to care.
It’s disconcerting when you feel like you were just getting to know a brand, it turns out they’re not quite the person you hoped they would be.
The relationships I have with my favourite brands have become ever more nuanced and personal. Monolithic identity systems simply won’t cut it. Social media has seen to that.
Brands now have to behave in a more relatable way, otherwise I wont’t buy into the ‘promise’- I simply won’t believe it, and I certainly won’t trust it. Who could ever form a meaningful relationship with someone who only ever said the same thing over and over, or appeared as a bold silhouette?
Brands that are prepared to come down off their lofty perches and have a meaningful conversation about something that matters, when it matters (like right now) have quickly gained ground over their more standoffish contemporaries. The new hyper-enabled digital customer has seen to that.
When something tricky comes up, lazy brands are caught just repeating the same old lines. Or worse still, talking about something entirely different that nobody cares about. I need more from my friends. But this is how some ‘big brands’ still conduct themselves, ‘Na na na – I can’t hear you…’.
Take a look at how IBM have moved from being represented by one of the most iconic logo designs ever, to becoming the purveyors of a provocative ‘brand idea’. ‘IBM Smarter planet’ connects with us all on a deeper level that old IBM didn’t, and didn’t need to anyway. In a digital landscape where experiences are becoming alarmingly personal, a flashy design and a cute strap line will simply get left behind. The competition for hearts and minds is simply too strong now.
I want authentic interactions, meaningful conversations, real-time reactions and satisfying outcomes.
Quite often will take a crisis to visit the Twitter page of the most successful brands. We expect answers, we expect solutions. Because that is what Twitter is for, and if you don’t want to talk, then don’t take up valuable digital space on a social media platform. This is where we will find the truth of how a modern brand expresses itself. Not on the side of an aeroplane or as an elegantly drawn word marque on a red can.
The shortfall between brand promise and actual user experience has been a big problem for service brands for many years now. How does a singular statement play out for every one of a brand’s customers? Well now we are finding out. No nuance, no trust. And if your brand goes to sleep at night and I want to talk… I won’t be best pleased.
The brands that I choose to take with me have realised that it is not enough to turn up to the same places that I turn up in, or to carefully choose an outfit that I might approve of. As a digitally enabled human, I want a real, fulfilling and honest relationship, and if you can’t provide one, I’ll find a brand that can. Talk to me.