From the moment I wake up in the morning, to the moment I go to bed at night, I’m swimming in marketing soup. There are ads on my phone, on the radio, at the bus stop; online, in print, on the TV. They’re talked about, tweeted about, and written about... they’re simply in my daily sphere, whether I want them there or not.
Before the industrial heyday, back when new really was new, brands, businesses and their products were there to serve a purpose. Nothing was arbitrary. Everything was crafted with love and precision. Nothing was made with money at its heart… it was about passion, pride, and purpose. Craftsmen saw pains, and offered cures. They empowered and were empowered. They were successful because they made a difference.
However, the mechanisation of retail meant things could be made at low cost... and all of a sudden, purpose didn’t matter any more. It was all about making things as cheaply as possible, and quality took a backseat. This stood for a number of decades, and amongst other things, helped to catalyse the ad revolution.
Then markets started to become saturated, and as technologies advanced, consumers started becoming more savvy, and more demanding. With the introduction of the Internet, brand communication was no longer a one-way street. Consumers could speak their minds widely, and with ever-growing spheres of influence. Soon, what people had to say mattered again, and it forced mass market control to shift more and more away from the manufacturers, and more and more towards the people.
They stopped needing you. That’s right. Suddenly the mass production model looked a little shaky. And, whether you’re scared or excited, that brings us to now.
You can’t just churn out shit and hope for the best anymore. You have to think deeply about what and why you exist. You need to think about what pains you’re soothing. You not only have to think about the consumer, you have to put them first. You have to understand their needs, and solve their problems, because otherwise they’ll just leave you behind.
In the beginning there was only one channel - the bricks and mortar store - and life was simple. Then, with telemarketing, the Internet… things became a little more complicated. This gave birth to cross-channel; the engagement of digital with retail. And then just as we thought we had a handle on it, the Net became mobile, and gave us an even more complicated model to deal with: the multi-channel model, the standardisation of a brand across any number of channels. Omni-channel retail is the most seamless and refined of the channel brethren, but for us, it’s still not enough.
You might have your channels in alignment, and your user experience might be out of this world. Your product specs might be unrivalled, and your branding ‘cool’. So?
Why should I give you my money, over all of the other brands who claim the same accolades? I shouldn’t. And I won’t. This is why omni-channel is not enough by itself.
You need to know just why you’re using the channels you’re using. It’s no good saying: “Everyone’s using Facebook, and Pinterest; everyone’s got a new scrolling website or flashy video”, they won’t mean anything unless you know, to a tee, what they’re for, why they’re useful, and how they’ll impact the world. That’s how you get our attention. Not with cheap prices, and arbitrary, bandwagon trend selling. Show me a brand who’s doing their own version of Gangnam Style, and I’ll show you a brand without their finger on the pulse. You need one purposeful story, everywhere. It’s omni-channel mk. 2.