People have been saying for a while now that it’s time to stop using the term ‘consumer’ because it’s a poor reflection of the way people interact with brands
How right they are.
The power has shifted. Companies (and their outward expression in brands) were once in the driving seat, but all the ways in which people can combine to talk to each other and change things to suit us means it’s now you and me doing the driving. And we’re in a minibus, so we can take the motley crew of our extended family with us. Companies are lucky if they’re invited along for the ride.
We think the 7 main implications for companies and brands can be summed up like this:
- You need to have a heart;to genuinely care about the people sitting up front (and in all the other seats too) and find ways of showing it. And they need to know you’re not just doing or saying things to get on their good side
- You need to have a story to tell about where you came from, who you are, and why it matters to you that you’re here. Because, as Robert McKee says, ‘storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today’
- You need to have something to offer that will add to the people and their journey, practical or emotional (or both). Maybe you make the best sandwiches, or maybe you tell the funniest stories (or better still, both). Either way, you’re not just sitting there ‘receiving’. Nor are you grabbing
- You need to be likeable, and a likeable person listens as much as they talk, asks questions, gives something of themselves, and builds a conversation (for more on what really likeable people do that brands can learn from, click here)
- You need to join in, and work with people. Roll your sleeves up. Adapt. They don’t like egg sandwiches? Hop out and get some ham. They don’t want sandwiches at all? Improvise a roadside grill that will make their day, and build it with them
- But you also need to know your place. The driver and family like you enough to include you but you’re not their best mate, and you never will be. So be humble. No lording it over them from the back seat with a constant stream of talk about you
- And when you do speak, tell the truth. It’s polite and nice to do so, and in any case all humans come with an inbuilt b*****t detector so we can tell if you don’t (and nobody likes a liar). So be genuine, and be real
In practical business terms what this translates into is an honest and respectful brand, fuelled by a heart-felt mission, fused with ongoing, two-way, customer collaboration that builds the place we all want to get to
To hear more about our approach to collaborating with customers, clients and other agencies get in touch with us
Maddy is Director of Lucid. She has been described as a ‘maestra’ with groups of people and is appreciated for her passion and commitment as well as the clarity of her strategic thinking, insight and expression. Maddy began her career in advertising at Ogilvy and BBH and then worked at the Arts Council, English National Opera, AEA consulting and Stimulating World Research before setting up Lucid.