Why brands are dying.

My entire philosophy of brands revolves around the star called “feelings.”
And that star may be burning out.
Let me try to explain.
Brand beliefs have always had an underlying fusion of rational and emotional factors.
But people’s choices have always been driven by their feelings.
It’s how humans are wired.
But this may be changing.
“Feelings” are what signal us to approach or avoid things in our environment.
And, as distinct from “emotions,” feelings refer to a very specific quality.
Pleasantness, unpleasantness, or neutrality in an experience.
Pleasant feelings – excitement, reward, increased self-esteem, etc. – condition desire.
Unpleasant feelings – pain, effort required, decreased self-esteem, etc. – condition aversion.
And neutral feelings condition… forgetfulness.
So what are the feelings behind most of today’s brand choices?
Neutral ones.
Because the marketplace is bursting at the seams with look-alike brands in every category.
And the more brands there are, the less they mean and the more confusion.
So what happens to the primacy of feelings in this scenario?
Typically? They become even more important, as a signalling device.
That’s why, over the years, look-alike brands have spent close to $6 billion on Super Bowl commercials.
But things are changing… and really fast.
So much so, that feelings are losing their authority.
Because of the internet.
Today, when you have a problem, you don’t consult your feelings.
You ask Google or Amazon.
They know better than you do.
Despite every advertisement you’ve ever watched or read.
Do you see and fully appreciate the change?
And the challenge?
Things are changing at a pill-popping rate.
Marketing messages are mushrooming (try saying that three times fast).
New brands are bursting onto the scene.
And feelings are losing their authority to data.
So now what?
There’s only one way forward.
And that’s to go back to the start.
Question everything.
Create nothing but value.
And get as close to the customer as possible.

Gurus and their how-tos.

Do you buy into the profuse advice peddled over the Internet?
The “how-tos” from the “gurus.”
Covering everything from relationships and productivity.
To health, happiness, and hacking your way to success.
Most of it is benign monotony.
Age-old wisdom stockpiled, reassembled and polished by clever communicators.
Like a chop shop that makes and sells custom motorcycles from the stolen parts.
Uniquely painted with F-bombs, heartfelt stories, and personal frailties.
And obsessively measured to inform the next “creation.”
I typically just shake my head and sigh.
Hoping that no one I know gets sucked in.
To their self-admiring marketing machines.
But every once in a while, mindfulness fails me.
Because the guidance is that godawful.
Like this new millennium author meme:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Or, in other words, be with people you’d like to be.
If you want to be successful, hang around successful people.
If you want to be a rich executive, hang around rich executives.
Don’t spend time with lowly workers or ignorant customers, like Sam Walton did.
If you want to be a famous writer, hang around famous writers.
Don’t box, hunt enemy submarines, or work as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross, like Ernest Hemingway.
If you want to be a career politician, hang around career politicians.
Don’t lead young men in the defense of your country, like Dwight Eisenhower or JFK.
If you want to be a priest or nun, hang around priests and nuns.
Don’t live among the poor and dying, like Mother Teresa.
Please don’t confuse the world as it is.
With the world as it’s described by the so-called gurus.
There’s a vast difference between the two.
Because every one of them is running like mad after success.
And they have no idea what it is.

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