Brands live in an optimistic, enlightened world that aspires to better things. People don’t always do the same.
We all have negative feelings: resistance, irritation, anger, disappointment. Many people only act when they feel they have to, rather than initiate and progress. Too many people identify with the cons rather than the pros, and sometimes black is much more powerful than pink: captivating, satisfying, and inspiring you to action. Brands always try to charm, excite, and connect, but often choose to ignore a wide range of emotions, actions, and sensations instead of using them as a source of identification and action. When an ad break, company website, or brand’s blog posts represent a barrage of optimism, vision and smiles, they unintentionally miss out on a connection and genuine affinity.
Imagine a boardroom or marketing meeting room, maybe one in your own company. Remember how you feel in there sometimes. What inspires you, gets you emotional, and motivates your decisions, determination, and action? I bet it’s not always what it says in the company vision. With your hand on your heart, wouldn’t you love it if people were walking down the street with your logo on their t-shirts, singing your brand slogans, memorizing your ideas, passionately advocating them, and writing enthusiastic comments about them? And then, with your other hand on your heart, what’s the chance that’ll actually happen?
Here are some things you can do differently to provoke real emotions and a deeper connection.
Many qualities associated with evil are actually good and valuable: bad is bold, decisive, active, dynamic, exciting, victorious. Good is vague and weak.
If there are annoying or difficult aspects of your customers’ lives, put them on the table so customers will feel you truly understand them and will give you credit for being honest.
Target an Enemy
This is how you define yourself and your audience, through what you’re not. Brands that are challenged in their category can define the bigger or conventional brands as “bad” and benefit from negative feelings towards them.
Stake Your Claim
Don’t look for a brand ambassador. Look for a leader.
Negative comments welcome.
There is a lot spoken about overload.
But not enough.
Another epidemic in our new age. It permeates beneath the surface, swells and strengthens before our unseeing eyes, and we don’t pay it any attention at all. For the past few decades, our culture has been preparing its foundation and infrastructure, from the development of capitalism as such, through the globalization that envelops our provincialism from all angles, to the virtual transport pipes that were dug beneath the basics of our day to day lives.
And we are overloaded to the point of exhaustion. We get up in the morning and open an overloaded closet. Standing next to our coffee machine, we make our choice from 13 different flavors. We get in the car and switch between numerous radio stations, with broadcasters racing against themselves to fit dozens of items into an impossible timeframe. Current events, opinion, news, debate, commentary and weather reports. We drive on a bottlenecked freeway, one of an endless herd of solitude. Overloaded with thoughts, telephone calls, hopes and disappointments, we arrive at work. The desk is cluttered, the inbox is full, the meeting room is busy and the fridge is chock-a-block. The Facebook newsfeed has more information that we can possibly handle, and in the hope of controlling all this overload, we choose to stop at the supermarket on the way home. We choose an alternative overload. Open the diary – full. Go out to lunch – lost in a sea of colorful clutter. We get home to find an overload of things strewn in every possible place. We take a few moments to chill with an overload of TV channels, a short conversation packed with so many things to discuss, overloaded dinner, overloaded sink of dirty dishes – even the shelf of shampoos and soaps in the bathroom is overloaded to the point of exhaustion. Get into bed overloaded with thoughts and enter a dream world packed with dreams.
And within all this clutter, is there even a chance to create something new? Ourselves? Or maybe something for ourselves? For others? Have we set aside even one small piece of our lives for a chance to release our exhaust, to be empty and hollow? For a small space of nothingness, even a fine groove? A place perhaps to thread something real, something pure and authentic…
Open up the desert of life, the heavens, the clean spaces – the empty, the simple. From here, one can be recreated anew, every day, every moment, every place, to clean and to be cleansed. Remove one layer of overload at a time, layers of ‘too much’, of heavy weight – throw it away, recycle it, do everything you can to deeply harvest until you get back to the fine seed – that basic, simple seed from which it is possible to bloom. To grow. To recreate yourself again.
To invent the next best thing.
Pirate isn’t a job.
But his heart, how it surges
with pure adrenaline,
when they capture a ship,
and when his hands are full of gold
he’s on top of the world.
Also not a job.
But I’m so envious when all eyes are on him.
How they shine
when he lowers his voice and tells of the princess falling ill,
even the city elders are rapt.
And orchestra conductor?
No, don’t be fooled: it’s not a job.
So they study for years, so what.
If the baton doesn’t ignite the sparks of inspiration,
fates will be decided, the music will fall silent. And so will the hearts of the audience.
Repairer of the human core!
Just imagine how his heart feels as he touches another person’s very existence.
It’s not a job.
Is that a job?
As time goes by, I find that some of the “No” is “No!”
But there’s also “Yes”.
Yes it’s a specialization.
Obviously it can’t be done without studying (but studying what?).
Of course it also requires professionalism and experience.
But in the broader sense of the word, it isn’t a job!
And why a pirate or a conductor?
Because, like them, we’re driven by an inner impulse
that’s revealed when the heart rate soars,
when the tones of inspiration sound,
when the connection is made
when the hands continue to express this insight in concrete form,
to choose, to understand, to refine, and then to give a name and form, to create a voice,
that you can understand the meaning of what lies in front of you,
that it has absolute faith in your ability to make it
closer to its own true essence.
It’s not a job
I wish I was a pirate.
For several years, we branders have been trying to create relationships with our audiences. There’s a need to fill a role in their lives and establish a relevant presence in their world. This is definitely the next step in brand evolution, which directly affects how brands communicate and behave. For the better.
The important insight regarding a brand-audience relationship applies to any relationship. The discourse becomes a two-way conversation, a dialogue. We send messages, but we must also listen and provide a space to talk and express opinions.
So long to the “Mad Men” era, when the most advertising space, the loudest tones, and reddest fonts signaled the strongest brands. Nowadays, though, it’s safe to say that it’s actually the weaker brands using these methods to speak to (or shout at) their audience.
This dialogue has created an active audience. Influential consumers with real power; active customers. Great! But what kind of brands have we created? Needy, clingy brands. In our hurry to create relationships, we never stopped to ask ourselves whether customers always want to express their opinions. Maybe they don’t always have something to say to us, the energy to listen to us? Maybe our presence in their lives is a bit too much? Have we gone a step too far and become the suitor who sends endless messages a day and doesn’t stop till you respond, the Polish mom who constantly reminds you to call, or the friend with too much time on her hands who posts 5 updates in a row and floods our news feeds?
So what’s the recipe for a healthy relationship?
Just like any other relationship: in-depth knowledge, a real understanding of desires and preferences, and adding a little space when needed.
So, how do you like my writing so far?
There are a few rules about how to write comedy; however a shock or surprise always works, like, for example, the sentence above.
This series of posts is targeted to comedy writers or amateur comedy writers or those who spend 300-and-something shekels a month on cable TV and are still not happy.
And I would like to begin this series by talking about pain.
If it hurts, so why am I laughing?
It is said that comedy always contains an element of pain. Mel Brooks stated it best when he said, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when I fall into an open sewer and die.”
Think about it. What is funnier? A kid who drags his feet across the floor while waiting in line for the bathroom, or the same kid making funny faces with each step and finally kicking in the bathroom door?
Perhaps some of you think this is not nice – cruel, even.
But it’s a fact – we laugh about the things that we would prefer we didn’t experience ourselves.
Now, you try:
Take two minutes to tell someone about your most embarrassing moment and then ask them to tell it back to you. If the other person drops a particular detail during the retelling, of if they didn’t really get it right, stop them, correct them and then let them continue.
First, it’s an exercise that teaches how to listen well, and it is extremely important for any kind of writer.
Second, it helps to decode what is really important in writing about a Comic situation, and what is not necessary.
Third, it’s a great way to break the ice and get to know someone.
How long can you wait?
for a service rep on the phone, books from Amazon, the next TV episode, another Like on Facebook, a response on WhatsApp, the new smartphone that came out yesterday?…
We’re all becoming more and more impatient. We can’t delay gratification and we lose interest quickly – yesterday’s big news is already old and irrelevant today.
The fast pace of modern life and rapidly evolving technologies have led us to develop low self-control and “weak ego boundaries”.
This idea comes from Freud’s theory of personality – someone who is unable to delay gratification may have an unbalanced identity that is not adequately regulated.
If Freud were alive today, it’s likely we’d all be diagnosed that way.
Information is available everywhere – a tsunami of messages that bombard us every minute of the day.
Social networks expose us to an absurd number of “highlights” in our friends’ virtual lives, urging us to be more, do more, achieve more.
All of this makes us addicted to the new.
Everyone craves the new:
New jobs – every 2 years on average.
New spouses – approx. 50% divorce rate.
New smartphones – 63% of Israelis have upgraded in the last 2 years.
New governments – 33 Israeli governments in 66 years.
New cars – every 3 years on average.
When our basic requirements for certainty, security, and other fundamental human needs are fulfilled, we seek out the growth drivers that supply us with everything that makes life worth living: new art, beauty, creativity – the material and the spiritual.
Basic needs have limits. A hungry person who has eaten his fill will not keep eating. But a person who has experienced something thrilling will always crave more.
Now brands have the opportunity to satisfy our emotional needs by supplying new experiences and innovative, captivating content day after day.
Relevant brands are the ones that know how to provide for the constantly-shifting needs of their audience.
Fear of change, losing assets, and not being recognized leads many brands to stagnate, become irrelevant and uninteresting, and get left behind.
Only brands that understand the need for constant innovation can survive.
Being new doesn’t necessarily mean being different or erasing all remnants of your past identity. It means preserving the most valuable aspects of your brand identity and innovating through them – finding new ways to tell our unique story in new language relevant to our audience.
If you’ve come this far, you obviously have huge self-control and patience.
Just a few weeks ago, Tim Cook took to a massive stage to proudly announce the launch of the new iPhone 6. It was an impressive event by all accounts, presenting essential, highly desirable technology. Loud applause broke out in the hall, celebrating this incredible new development that represents such a large and significant step forward. Yet, in the same hall, above the heads of those present, something new was being born. A revolution much more significant than a mere inch or two.
Apple has weathered endless barrages of criticism over the past few years. There simply isn’t enough space here to mention all the dire predictions that have been made since the death of Steve Jobs: the bitten apple has lost direction, become obsolete, lost its audience, and so on. The launch event suggested otherwise – announcing the start of a new era with a bang. In the endless race of technological innovation, Apple is no longer a technology company. Tim Cook revealed the news without a word. By introducing the new watch, Cook transformed Apple into a fashion company in one fell swoop.
Some might say that this is not an innovation when viewed alongside the rich history of Apple and its products. Every Apple product launch has always been linked to the eternal “tango” of fashion and technology, from the iPod, through the iPhone, to its core product – laptops. But in the past, fashion always served technology, and now the tables have turned and it is technology that is being pressed into the service of fashion. Technology cannot exist independently anymore. Its entire role is to empower and construct the fashion experience. Personal technology, as Apple’s ads proclaim, aims to establish a direct connection with the consumer. But many years ago the very same words were used about the personal computer. So what’s new? “Personal” apparently indicates the degree of intimacy between things: the depth and breadth of the relationship between the person and the product, between the wearer and the worn, between the entity and the brand. Whereas the personal experience between the user and the personal computer is expressed through the user’s actions, we have now entered a completely new field. There are few things more intimate than wearing something on your wrist – it almost becomes your own flesh and blood. There is no need for any action to strengthen the relationship. It is always present: the ultimate means of expression, of self-determination. A fashion item. Much has been said about the “internet of things”, as well as the endless possibilities the future holds – smart homes, smart clothes, smart roads and more. Far beyond technology, Apple has always opened new doors to the worlds of design, accessibility, and the user experience. Today we are living in the world of “wearable technology” (Wearables), and very soon we will see a spectacular fashion show from the Californian company, collaborations with definitive fashion trends, and revolutions in clothing, style, accessories, and lifestyle. Furniture, leisure, culture, recreation – all these infinite worlds are spread out before the company now that it has reinvented itself. Fashion is the key. And we are only left to ask: if intimacy is indeed the name of the game, how far are we willing to go? How can we make personal technology an integral part of our lives, something that defines and identifies us, forms the basis of our personality? Where is the fine line between myself and mine? Clothing? Style? Thoughts?
Food for thought.