Monday, January 28, 2013

Stop, Look and Listen

Comportment - To conduct or behave (oneself) in a particular manner. (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 1969)

Over time, societal behavior changes. As planners, we are attuned to that.

One noticed recently in public spaces: A man stretches his feet into the aisle of the bus. A teenage girl bends her knees and places her feet on the bus seat. An elderly woman rests her feet on a theater railing. A young woman lies down on a gym's bench while texting.

A relaxed attitude prevails. One of laissez-faire, one echoed in casual clothing. A lack of separation of public and private space, since the two spaces are linked by technology. It is the ever-present, ever-on device which connects behavior from the home to the public space. The possibility of digital communication everywhere translates to similar behavior everywhere.

How could marketers reach people when they feel at ease in all places? What could impact them? We could enter their space in an unexpected way physically. We could invite them to interact and play. We could use digital media so that they have a unique experience. We have to make people stop and look. Otherwise, they will not receive our messages.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What Marketers Could Learn from the Homeless

The homeless man darted into the oncoming traffic, observed by this writer. Aware of the cars, he decided to cross the street.

One could think of brands as analogous to the homeless man. At times their managers make decisions which appear reckless, not in keeping with the brand's image. Consumers notice. If the decisions for the brand do not fit its image, consumers may quickly criticize them on social networks. "The rules of branding are shifting," says Timothy Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. "As soon as you have an issue, people can pick it up and broadcast it everywhere." Think of logo changes, like Tropicana's and Starbucks', which caused consumer negativity. More than ever, consumers believe they own brands.

The oncoming traffic could also be thought of as the information stream which bombards consumers. Brands need attention, so dart into the traffic. They must act almost recklessly to capture consumer attention, as long as the action does not hurt the brand. Thoughts on watching the homeless.