Two little words…
Amongst the sea of articles needed to fill up marketing’s bit of the internet, two words stand proudly more stupid than most.
Two words that manage to make all those ‘TV is dead!’ pieces look less ridiculous. Two words that define the absurdity of the hive mind that sustains this nonsense. Because if everyone else is saying it, it must be right, right?
Those two words…demand and expect. More specifically, when they’re used to say things like ‘consumers demand a more authentic relationship with brands’ and ‘consumers expect brands to drive social change.’
I’ll bet that if you ask 100 people what they want from brands, not a single one says ‘a more authentic relationship.’ Equally, if people are ‘demanding’ stuff from brands, how are these demands being made? Where’s the evidence that this is happening? Have you ever seen anyone demand anything from a brand? Have you ever demanded anything from a brand yourself? Again, I’ll bet the answer is no, because it’s not something any rational person does.
This kind of thinking comes from the same place that says we want all brands to have lofty ideals. Yet I’m fairly certain you could spend £100 in a supermarket without considering, knowing or caring where each brand you buy stands on social issues.
Sure, some brands naturally fit with a social purpose and you might avoid some due to broader issues (hi there, Dyson). But these are the exceptions not the rules.
Convenience, availability, price, popularity, familiarity, even how much you’ve had to drink during a late-night online shopping splurge. These are the kind of factors that actually determine our choices and drive our actions.
Is it good enough? Is it easy to buy? Is it free from risk? That’s about as deep as we get for most things we buy. We have too much going on in our lives to give the average purchase any more consideration than that. It’s why we’re always looking for short cuts (convenience, familiarity etc). It’s why the path of least resistance usually wins.
So, next time you see a hot take featuring either of those two little words, do me a favour, think of two other words.