In a recent FUSE Calls podcast, Dan Madinabeitia, Informa's Head of Brand and Design, interviewed Jon Silva, President and Creative Director at DuPuis. Their chat focused on how empathy is key to reaching today's consumers.
The way that we attribute new thought and values to the millennials is a bit of a contagion
You've got to evolve
Jon continued his criticism of a typical "marketing to millennials" strategy, and posed a solution: "You have to get down and look at people as human beings. A big company admittedly has to go pretty far and drive pretty hard to be able to do that, but they do have the resources. Having that connection on a one on one basis and not applying old rules to new generations and new problems. You've got to evolve. In the last 20 years brands have not had to evolve as fast as they must now.
Point of no return?
Dan asked Jon to name a company that has innovated an approach
with millennials that employed empathy in an effective way. Jon used Frito-Lay as an innovator, speculating that they may have got more than they bargained for - in a good way - when they utilized crowdsharing to engage consumers.
consumer. 'What flavors would you dream of'... I'm
guessing it probably began as a promotional campaign, it ended up becoming a
product platform. They handed the keys over to the marketplace and said 'Hey
come up with some wacky stuff and if it has enough traction well actually make
it'. They've come up with some flavors
they never would have come up with on their own. They probably see that as a very big win that created a bit
more of a relationship with their consumer base than just throwing options on a
direction' is not something most companies are familiar with.'
Let's get uncomfortable
Jon closed the discussion with some valuable advice to designers and brand marketers who want to gain the empathy it takes to be effective. "Do something that makes you uncomfortable." He told the story of how prior to his career in design he made an attempt to do stand-up comedy. Jon related how difficult and awkward it could be when jokes fell flat to an unforgiving audience. Far from regretting his past, he's embraced it as a great empathy builder. He explains: "Everyone has the thing they've done in their life that
has made them the most uncomfortable. Perhaps that's the lesson. Do something
that makes you uncomfortable. It will help you relate to people better.'
You can listen to the entire podcast here or continue the conversation with Jon on Twitter at @silvaware.