Note: This post first featured on “The Art of…” blog, under my name: David Atkinson http://davidsartof.blogspot.com/
“Slowly. People are no longer interested in being preached to about functional benefits and features [of products]. In their lives they are looking for connections and that’s what they expect from brands they care about. We call those brands Lovemarks. We are heading from the Attention Economy to the Attraction Economy where Lovemarks thrive. In the Attraction Economy, advertising agencies have to step up and out, or be buried.”
My own view is that people have never been interested, whatsoever, about being preached to about anything, unless of course – and the BIG example here is religion – those people are fully engaged (read “connected” if you like) with a product in the first place (and I use the word product in the broadest possible sense).
It is not “slowly the people” but “slowly the advertisers”. It may well be “a bigger idea than advertising” but it is not Kevin’s, Saatchi & Saatchi’s or any other “ex”-advertising executives’ idea that people are looking for connections in their lives. If it were, some of the real social thinkers of this world (may I mention Weber?) might need to be reassessed! I think not!
Is it really a case of Kevin’s notion that:
“…it’s not about what brands can use to reach consumers, it’s about what consumers are prepared to engage with…”?
Or, is it merely a case of:
“…it’s about what brands can use to reach consumers WHO they BELIEVE are prepared to CONSIDER an engagement with them”?
I would contend that the concepts of Attention and Attraction Economies are not a feature of social evolution but a particular “social construct” of the “marketing world” itself. More accurately we could perhaps talk of Attention Marketing and Attraction Marketing. But then what is the difference behind these two signs?
Are we “grabbing” social attention or do we simply start with attention as a given? If we have attention we are in a de facto position of engagement, where the “consumer” is implicitly seeking more knowledge about “…functional benefits and features [of products]” Call this preaching to the converted if you may! As an “evolutionary process” we may look back in time and note that the “Attraction Economy” could simply be a reflection of a world in which far fewer products existed and where any product would, if highlighted to the consumer in some way, “demand attention”. In contemporary society where we now know everything, where we can now “buy” anything and everything, where the range of products, prices and quality create confusion no product “demands attention”.
The brand issue is, if we do not have attention, we must seek to attract!
The evolution? The evolution is the realization, within the marketing world – not the consumer – that before a consumer’s Kantian “disinterested” engagement with the brand’s world – they (the “marketers”) need to establish the “beauty” factor!
After the attraction, the engagment and the marriage! The brand’s products, their “…functional benefits and features…” will be King. (Even if – in an increasingly dispoable society – they are King for only a day!). But before love comes beauty! And the cynic in me tells me that the sign “Lovemarks” is no more than a beautiful force for attracting agency clients as consumers of branding products. Beauty is, after all, axiomatically in the eye of the beholder!