Advertising, Communications, Marketing, Uncategorized

Have brands forgotten how communication works?

I’ve long held the belief that marketing, when in the right hands, is a genuinely exciting industry to work in. And without sounding too lofty, I also think it makes the world a better place.

However in the wrong hands it’s anti – social, shouty, samey, artificial, inefficient and in many instances misleading.

To be honest, marketing’s main problem is that it’s forgotten how communication works. How and why do people communicate? How do people obtain value from the things we develop? Products, brands, advertising, social media or otherwise.

It’s evolved into an unnecessarily complex system with rules, beliefs, conventions, layers and many unhelpful and irrational motivations. Many of which have no relation to how people communicate and their relationship with brands.

I’m optimistic though. There is a bubbling under current of common sense and perhaps there is a straw about to break the marketing camel’s back. I hope so.

First Faris sparked some debate with this post about all market research being wrong. The headlines being 1) we don’t know why we do what we do. So why ask them, you’ll just be led up the garden path. Then 2) the gulf between claimed attitudes and actual behaviour is vast.

Then BBH Labs (an increasingly great agency blog) challenged that the reason we misuse our metrics is because of cultural issues that marketing departments and agencies have developed over time.

Finally Umair Haque summed it all up by stating ‘Marketing can do better’. Essentially Umair questions why the fundamental assumptions of marketing haven’t changed for decades.

I feel a series of posts brewing. Something about ‘it’s how we communicate stupid’.

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