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Dear brand, do you really SEE?

You blame us for not loving you any more. You blame us for not perceiving you as hip and trendy and cool anymore. You blame us for becoming inattentive and dismissive. You complain about us being so „know-all“, having excessive expectations. You complain about us jumping categories, behaving irrationally. And you do everything? Talking on every channel about yourself, putting on one communication stunt after another, asking us to follow you on our very private channels? My dear … I think we have to talk and get some things straight.

Come on, be honest. Your love was never „pure love“. You’re on a mission. You’re a „material girl“. You’re about to target the right people (or should I say lovers?), establish preferences and create a „psychological monopoly“ in our minds (that’s asking for monogamy, in just more professional terms). For what? For realizing a price premium, increasing sales (cross- and up- and whatever-sales) and securing our loyalty (we all know, how expensive and tiring it is to hit on somebody – all the flowers, all the gifts, all the attention and small gestures). Fair enough, we never bought into your „true love“ story. Whenever we called you up on your hotline, whenever we wrote an email for some minor or major issues, whenever we received a letter for your „loving and caring service“ … let’s put it that way: you have to love sadomasochistic practices to feel your love. But, that was okay, for quite some time. But „the times they are a- changin'“ …

Your mission is fine. But, please understand, we are on a mission ourselves. Our mission is to live a good life. To increase our quality of life. We loved you (and will love you) for making our life easier, richer, more fun. But as „the times they are a-changin'“, we need a little bit more than we needed in the last century. Or maybe we need things a little bit different than you are used to provide. The world opend up. we have more choices, you know?

  • Information efficiency? Yes, we still love it. Actually, we don’t have the time to research and compare every „f***ing“ alternative in the market. We don’t wanna spend hours and hours on the web to figure how your fantastic specs and features might compare to the ones of your competitors – and what they might mean for our life.
  • Risk reduction? Same same. It is still not nice to feel, you made the wrong decision. Too often, it takes us hours and ages to choose an offer. We just want to have the impression, we made the right decision – starting from the moment we press „buy“ or say „yes“, until the next months. Just don’t tell us, you have other fantastic (alternative) offers for us … Just give us the feeling, we are some lucky bastards that found you.
  • Symbolism (the inward and outward show-off factor)? Yes, still valid, more or less. Feels just good to be part of a group, or not to be part of a group. Depends on the context, depends on the groups. And from time to time, it’s just you and us, very intimate, no public. Choosing you is kind of a treat, a confirmation to reach our very own standards.

Need a prove that all three criteria are still valid and work? I know, you don’t wanna hear it, you’re more than jealous, but I have to say the name: Apple. It’s that simple. Oh no, it’s not that simple. Actually, it takes some effort and clarity to understand. Because, it’s no just about „nice design“ and „crazy fanboys“. Be honest to yourself, you understand the success of Apple. You just don’t have the „balls“ to transform your business to create something similar compelling or even better (to be honest: there are lot of things Apple could improve, and we’re not talking features here, don’t get us wrong).

When all three criteria are still valid, why don’t we love you anymore? Why don’t we love you the way we did 10 years ago? Why do we perceive you as old-school, not „cool“? Well … useful is the new cool. And you’re not really useful. You’re still taking more care about your make-up than helping us getting things done. You look nicely, you speak nicely, you flatter us. But you don’t get things done, when it really matters. What it is what we ask of you? We ask you to SEE. To support us, to excite us, to engage with us. Need some inspiration? No problem.

  • SUPPORT
    Provide something we really need. Study our daily life (and moment when we struggle). Create something that helps us to master our lives. Something that leaves us wiser, better informed. Provide something that enables us to right a wrong, to save time or money, to find new friends, to follow our goals. There is so much you could do, you cannot imagine. You’re asking about your marketing? To be honest, your ads and mailings are not something we really need. Except when they’re extremely outstanding and serve as our „social currency“, becoming the ingredients or content of our social conversations. But as long as we know you (and usually we do, before you fire up your campaign) and your ads are not really conversations starters, we just do not need them. You like to be challenged? What about your mobile website? Ready? Really? Full functionality? I understand, the fancy app was more important. That’s the app that starts with a marketing message selling me some stuff instead of helping me getting the stuff done? Right, I see. Do you think I use the mobile web to be entertained by marketing messages in your app? What is your understanding of the term „service“ or „support“?
  • EXCITE
    Come up with something that really stands out. Something that surprises us, something that inspires us. That might be a service, or some other measures. Do something we haven’t experienced before. Show your dedication. Show you’re loving the details. Do something we didn’t expect and we „have to talk about“ to our friends. It’s a very personal thing, we get excited by different thing. It might be a platform to meet other runners (Nike+), a brilliant interface to receive news (Flipboard), or a campaign to prevent us from buying your stuff (Patagonia). Give us something that proves you have „the magic“ to do things others cannot do, something that seemed impossible before. Give us something that enriches our lives. You give us something that does not enrich our lives? That does not make our lives better? That’s spam to us, that’s polluting our mental world.
  • ENGAGE
    Last, but not least – dance, when we ask you to dance. Don’t hide, don’t bluff it out. When we ask you to dance, we really expect you to dance. It’s not that we don’t know what else to do with our time, we’re not bored. We wanna do it „one-on-one, face-to-face“, feel you, be touched. Show, you have humans, not robots working for you. Otherwise, show the robots in your ads. We would appreciate your honesty! No really, it’s not too hard to talk to us, to interact with us, to involve us. Usually, we are quite easy to satisfy. It just takes active involvement and some commitment – and some people talking to us that are empowered to do and decide some things. Why do we have to talk to them, when they have to talk to their bosses, all the time? Why not talk to the bosses directly? Sick system, isn’t it? It’s about your reaction, when we jog your elbow. It’s about the time it takes to answer. It’s about the tonality you’re talking to us.

Do you get the point? Hope so. Let’s wait and SEE.

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