Sunday, July 24, 2005

Appealing to Human Potential as a Marketing Principle

Hugh MacLeod at delves deep into the human psyche and applies it to branding.

We humans want to believe in our own species. And we want people, companies and products in our lives that make it easier to do so. That is human nature.

Product benefit doesn't excite us. Belief in humanity and human potential excites us.

Think less about what your product does, and think more about human potential.

What statement about humanity does your product make?

The bigger the statement, the bigger the idea, the bigger your brand will become.

It’s no longer just enough for people to believe that your product does what it says on the label. They want to believe in you and what you do. And they’ll go elsewhere if they don’t.

It’s not enough for the customer to love your product. They have to love your proccess as well.

People are not just getting more demanding as consumers, they are getting more demanding as spiritual entities. Branding is a spiritual exercise. These are The New Realities, this is the Spiritual Republic we now live in.

The soul cannot be outsourced. Either get with the program or hire a consultant in Extinction Management. No vision, no business. Your life from now on pivots squarely on your vision of human potential.

I just love Hugh's insistence that spiritual transcendence should become a functioning marketing principle. How wonderful would it be if every time someone tried to get us to buy something, they appealed to our higher selves? What if the Enrons and Tycos of our recent history became distant object lessons, replaced by corporations full of transparent integrity and commitment to the higher good?

Of course, your better people have always done this. The more spiritually evolved naturally work from a place of integrity and apply it to every aspect of their lives. These people are also highly attractive because they appeal to what is whole and wholesome within.

That said, I don't think transcendence will be a universally demanding marketing principle for quite some time. That's because people are so very human: often self-centered, shallow, materialistic, greedy and opportunistic.

In fact, the Pareto Law is probably at work here as in everything else. That's the 80/20 rule, where 20 percent of any given group delivers 80 percent of the goods.

For the sake of argument, let's say that 20 percent of marketing folks will be responsible for 80 percent of the vision, at least for the time being. What happens to the other 80 percent? Will they go the way of the dodo as Hugh suggests? Or will they continue to ply their trade, seduced by human nature into shining big honking spotlights on the good stuff and burying the nasty side effects in six point type because that tends to work pretty well?

Or will they learn to manipulate things so they appear to have passion, integrity and wisdom? I don't know the answer, but it's an interesting question.

I think Hugh MacLeod is on the growing tip. His advice is quite good, even if most of of the world has some serious evolving to do to catch up. Appealing to what is whole, wholesome and genuine is not only a much more resonant way to have conversations with the people you hope will buy the very good thing you are selling, but it is a much more satisfying way to make a living.

Do we then become something other than a slave? Or are we just chained to a higher master?

"Your Name Here" Conquers Space, Trains Pets, Makes Friends, Reshapes Economy, Enhances Romance and Delivers a Smoother Shave

I've done my share of spec work, but it never occured to me to create a turnkey piece of work that would bring a stop to all that nonsense of coming up with new ideas for every last company and every last product.

But "Your Name Here" is the first and last word in one-size-fits-all spec work. Created in 1960, this industrial film short was designed to be a bang up sales film for virtually any product. All it needs is just a wee bit of editing to make it a whiz bang sales tool for "Your Product."

The producers promise "you are about to witness history in the making." That's a big promise, but I think they deliver.

First things first, of course. Nothing is sold unless there is, if not a real need, at least a perceived need, right? Since this was made without any specific product in mind, the producers of "Your Name Here" take us back to prehistory to make the case that the need has always been great!

A uniquely costumed trip through time ensues, beginning with a cave dweller, followed by a Greek, a Viking (I think--the costuming is a bit uncertain) and on to a debonair swashbuckler from the Romantic Age, complete with a ostrich-plumed hat. This is the windup that establishes that throughout time, all of humanity has been missing an elusive something. "Your Product"!

Cut to John and Mary, our modern malcontents, complaining they have drifted apart because they don't have that "one thing" they need for a better life.

Poor John and Mary, the very picture of ennui in twin beds.

But, wait! There is hope. The dedicated scientists from "Your Name Here" have discovered the secret that has "baffled man for ages."

That's right. "Your Product ," made by "Your Name Here," is transforming the lives of millions by, no kidding:
  • reshaping the economy
  • breaking the boundaries of time
  • conquering space itself
  • helping people enjoy recreation
  • making pets more obedient
  • helping people make friends
  • making travel more enjoyable
  • growing bigger crops
  • giving greater smoking satisfaction
  • strengthening our national defense
  • keeping romance from "fading away"
  • helping men enjoy a smoother shave
"Your Product" has "bettered humanity for all time and will never be forgotten." Just like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, (use Robert E. Lee if desired), Franklin Delano Roosevelt and (use Dwight D. Eisenhower if desired). "Your Name Here's" president's image follows as part of a logical sequence, a parade of unparalleled humanitarian greatness.

Cut back to our friends, John and Mary. John bursts through the door, unhinged with glee. He beams as he announces to dear Mary, that he's not a lowly shipping clerk anymore. Thanks to "Your Product," he's been promoted to Chairman of the Board! Boy howdy, that must be some good stuff.

Happiness reigns. "Your Name Here" is now "the living symbol of our national heritage." Final image? An American flag, flying proudly in a hearty wind.

After you've wiped a tear and cleared the lump in your throat, click through to "Your Name Here," to sample a host of tender morsels. I especially recommend the scene between two coonskin capped frontiersman. It explains so much about the rugged determination and stick-to-it-tive-ness that has made us the America we are today.

[Note: check out this film's mothersite, Prelinger Archives. It's an incredible library of streaming videos from every era.]

Attack of the 50 ft. PR woman

Attack of the 50 ft. PR woman, originally uploaded by Jill.y.

Time for a bit of illustration.

More on Corporate Blogging

I ran across a white paper full of good advice about business blogging. click here for the PDF file. This is a subject that is not going to go away. Via Jeneane Sessum at Allied, a great blog to spend time with. She got it from Content Factor, her employer, as it turns out. Think maybe she wrote it? She's certainly got the stripes.