We sat down this year with our team to discuss what we'd write about for the FUSE conference. Typical to any ideation, it starts with a lot of jibber jabber and the chaff of what might be good ideas. Then, we all focused in on a sharp quote that pierced right through our Patagonia garments, slipped through butter like skin, glanced off a rib bone and was heading right for a beating heart.
"Most consumers wouldn't care if 73% of all brands disappeared."
Stages of grief start to activate.
1. [Denial] This can't be right, who did this study? Can we get our hands on the data? They must have done something wrong? We're not on that list and if we are, we're in the 27% of brands people care about, I'm certain.
2. [Anger] Someone is going to hear about this if one of our clients is on that list of 73%!
3. [Bargaining] Okay, who can we talk to about this study? Can we make some changes to how they analyzed the data? How can we discredit the outcomes? Everyone has a price!
4. [Depression] I don't think I can do this anymore. Why do we even try to make people care when obviously they don't? I need a drink, I know it's 11am, but I have to go home.
5. [Acceptance] Okay, people don't care about our brand. What do we do to change that, starting today? Let's get moving on a plan to build more emotional engagement into our brand.
Well, here we are, heading into a conference where a large number of brand managers, design directors, marketing minds and [more important] experienced human beings get together. FUSE is not the answer, but there are answers in the crowd around you.
Here are some suggestions, based on what we've seen to this point.
1. Look for ways to humanize your brand. Large corporate brands have a tendency to become large, inhumane and corporate, it's just part of what they do. They need to take on more human attributes because it is hard to love a corporation, but you can love the brand a corporation projects.
2. Make sure you can live up to it. Please don't set up an agency of record meeting to discuss a campaign to humanize your brand. Being true to who you are requires a deeper dig into the human attributes of your brand. If you haven't done it, start there, before the agency meeting.
3. Measure human emotion. There are ways to measure human emotional engagement without asking people. Using the "will you refer us to a friend" or a net promoter score is equal to asking a spouse if you look fat in a new pair of jeans, of course you do [but they'll never tell you]. If you have no idea how to measure human emotion, ask us. We've got some interesting thoughts on this subject.
4. Experiment, measure and redesign. We are learning machines and our intuition needs to be fed with new knowledge daily. Showing love for the people you want to love you back starts with small experiments. It might be a new messaging platform, or a new designed experience dropped into a busy village, or just some changes to how you respond to global events in social media. Small experiments reduce the risk and then allow you to measure the emotional response. Learn and redesign.
This is just a bit to get you started, we'll be here weekly leading up to FUSE and at the conference as well to identify the patterns, nuggets of knowledge and piercing insights for you to take home and share with your team.
Our weekly series will start with a self reflection, because we have permission to perform experiments on ourselves. We will keep a list of the brands sending us signals everyday. And, on other days, we'll wait until late in the evening to remember the list of brands sending us signals. We'll compare these lists and explore how memory and emotional engagement works.
We know memory decay is abhorrent, but even more impactful perhaps is the lack of emotional engagement by brands. It will be in these spaces that we will set up a conversation for FUSE in April. If you don't have your tickets yet, get on it.
We are in critical times. That 27% can't fall lower. It is our responsibility to take back the emotional higher ground and grow the 27%.