For decades, advertising has been developing, improving, finding new ways to connect with the consumer. In the midst of so many new-black-terminologies and concepts that come to the market to help (maybe?!) marketers to guarantee that millisecond of attention from the prospect, something emerges, which deep down has always existed, has always been there, somehow asleep.
Scalability brings exponential growth, which in turn, further distances and cools relationships. Of course, with the help of algorithms, we managed to turn this path around and customize the interaction between brands and people, increasingly “humanizing” the language. Friendly brands, with humorous tones of voice that talk on Twitter like a childhood friend, or even that know exactly what you need and send you a notification at the right time, are trending and here to stay. But that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. From my perspective, we can – and must – go even further.
“Humanizing” brands: are we generating real connections or just learning new ways to tell the old story?
This is – in my opinion – the biggest of all the problems we face today: the lack of real meaning in the communication that is built. The lack of soul in the content produced. It is necessary to rescue human contact, care and why not, love in branding.
Until communication professionals wake up to this detail, we will not be able to build the market and society we want. Yes, because advertising has a very strong influence on society, and this requires a level of commitment and responsibility that needs to be rescued.
Brands that nurture a clear purpose connect with people in much more intense and memorable ways. Far beyond a slogan to be publicized or a sentence to write on the company’s wall, having a greater purpose is something that involves evolving the mental model of everything that is produced within the company, intending to offer the public something much more consistent, solid and permeated by truth. Something that can actually make sense to people. With that in mind, I’ve selected here five characteristics that I believe contribute to making brands unique, unique and special. Come on?
Brands with purpose are inspiring. They encourage us to go places we’ve never been (inside and outside of ourselves), do things we never imagined, challenge ourselves and others around us. They take us out of our comfort zone, they show us that we can go further, because they make us realize and feel that there is something that goes beyond that product or service. That brand stands for something bigger, it’s there for something bigger.
Euzaria, a conscious fashion brand launched in Salvador, has been operating since 2015 showing the market how the simple purchase of a t-shirt can become an act of solidarity. In the beginning, for each t-shirt sold, another one just like it was donated to a person in a socially vulnerable situation. And the best thing: the client could write a dedication in his own hand to whoever would receive it, in addition to handing it in person in street actions. Currently, the brand works in partnership with Instituto Aliança, providing one day of school to a young person for each item sold in its stores, located in the largest malls in the Bahian capital.
Yes, brands with purpose can take your breath away! This is because they provoke intense positive emotions, either by bringing you closer to affective memories of the past, or by transporting you to a world of infinite possibilities in the future. And Airbnb does it like no one else. In order to generate a sense of belonging anywhere in the world, a simple photo posted by the brand on Instagram can take you anywhere in the world. But that’s not all – she takes her anywhere on the planet, feeling like a local. Belonging. being welcomed. And therein lies all the magic.
Keep it simple should always be the motto of brands with purpose. And you know what? They really don’t need much to show the world everything they have to offer. Her communication is by itself so full of meaning that with just a few words/pictures/photos they can make people connect with her and feel exactly what they need to feel. For me, one of the best examples of this is Apple.
Challenging the status quo has always been Jobs’s fad. And even without his presence, the company still does – and inspires us to do – this every day! There are those who say that other brands surpass the iPhone, there are those who do not adapt to the usability of a MacBook. But Apple is much more than the products it develops. For many, it is almost a religion. And even with few words, an ultra clean look and a single button, it managed to revolutionize what we know as technology.
There’s no point in having a purpose if it doesn’t include the most important asset, which is people, right? But this inclusion I am referring to goes far beyond money. Just like Airbnb works, I’m talking about belonging.
Now, if my purpose is to contribute to the reduction of obesity, how can I open a store composed 100% of organic-healthy-fit foods if the public that needs me most passes miles away from my door? If I really want to help them, I need to make them want to be with me. I need to make them feel safe, comfortable, not wanting to set the rules and listening to what the consumer really needs at that moment. And that’s exactly what Whole Foods Market does, back in the United States. Of course, the base of the mix is composed of fruits, vegetables, good proteins and nutritious foods. However, the shelves of one of the largest American supermarket chains still have fries, beer and even ice cream. The secret is to invest in communication that plays an active role in the food education of customers and employees, adding not only what they need most, but also what they most want. And more: encouraging the internal public to improve their health through bonuses linked to the direct evolution of health indicators, such as reduction of obesity and smoking. It’s about stimulating transformation, respecting each one’s process.
More than anyone else, brands aware of their higher purpose know their audience very well. Better still, they actually see people, not consumers. They put themselves in their shoes to meet real needs, which make complete sense to those who serve them. One more gringo brand stands out in this scenario: Southwest Airlines, one of the airlines with the lowest fares in the country, aims to democratize the skies and provide the freedom to fly. Understanding that a plane trip can be much simpler, practical and cheaper, the company, which is based in Texas, offers not only to its customers, but also to its employees a sense of freedom, allowing people who never had this opportunity to can finally cross a country as extensive as the United States. And more: flight attendants can exchange tickets with each other, if they do not want to travel to this or that destination, with complete freedom of choice, in addition to being allowed to present boarding in the most unusual ways possible, according to the employee’s taste, this one! Amazing, huh?
And you, have you ever experienced a situation with a brand that strongly connected with you and made you feel that there was something beyond there? Share your experience!