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January 28, 2005

Comments

Tom Asacker

Great posts and comments. Thank you. I'm glad to see the positioning "law" exposed.

Wendy and Stefan, my liking both of you (via your posts) answers - in part - the question about what a brand is. I like you (your brand) because you validate my view regarding this small part of my world branding/marketing). I also like movies, newspapers, etc. that do the same (although I don't personify those media). But a brand is more than "liking," even in a self-reflective kind of way. A brand is also an expectation of a feeling that someone is willing to pay a premium for or go out of one's way to purchase.

It is true that in the world of media, which blogs are quickly becoming (witness the flourishing Google ads), being a brand that someone is willing to watch, listen to, etc. - whether one pays for it or not - is also a means to profitable growth. Because others will be willing to pay for access to that audience. But I suppose that that's a different subject for a different blog. ;)

P.S. Who are you Wendy? Why incognito? ;)

Stefan

You wrote that "even for brands where there is no direct human interaction, we still tend to assign human qualities... because our choice of brands are a reflection of ourselves."

I'd say that the tendency to assign human qualities has a much simpler primary cause that eventually leads to that 'reflection of ourselves'. That is our tendency to personify everything around us, particularly things that have to do, even remotely, with other humans or human activities. Our brains are better fitted to deal with and understand other members of our species and their actions. With personification, we use pre-defined models that exist in our brain, thus allowing ourselves to work with simplified representations of reality around us. It's a natural, basic process that is indicative of superior (read human-like) intelligence.

So I'd say your causal chain should look like this:
1. we humans tend to simplify representation of our environment, hence 2. we tend to use pre-existing mental models for this purpose, hence, 3. in dealing with non-personal human-related matters, we tend to employ models we use for human individuals, hence, if you like, 4. in choosing brands (or whenever we have the opportunity to make a choice that relates to human matters), we employ parts of such models that we feel best match us and, therefore, these choices reflect our selves, real or desired.

Wendy

We're both in agreement that human touch is important, but I believe marketing and brands are conduits for people, conduits for their emotional futures. See, I believe brands are their to enhance a consumer's life and to enable her to feel however she needs to feel in her contextualized moment; she determines the feeling and she determines the moment. The brand has to understand her contextualized identities and the humans "servicing" her needs to understand her in this respect too. We all need to understand our emotions and our intellect.

Think of it this way, that hologram you mention, that is the consumer's emotional future and it is the brand's job to transition the consumer to it, transition her from one emotional place to another [the psychological need is just the layer above the emotional need]. Brands are conduits to helping consumers love themselves and fall in love with everyday life. Brands are their to awake OUR senses, make US feel alive, we are our own lovemarks.

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