Be abundant. Be yourself

A quick post to pay props to this awesome post by Ana over at I Love Marketing on cognitive blindness and the role of positive associations in the decision making process. I honestly can’t add much to what is an amazing piece, except to say that I really think anyone working in the brand communications space really needs to understand this thinking.

Since starting at MediaCom two weeks ago, I’ve been buried in two big pieces of business that have traditionally focused on two clear areas of marketing: brand awareness and driving response. This approach was once fine, especially as it was pretty much dictated by the tools that marketers had at their disposal. But now, brands need to be so much more in order to define themselves. There is a mountain of information and data and entertainment and content available to people today. And instead of continuing to do their best to be scarce when it comes to these things, brands should be abundant.

Where does all of this leave us? Instead of thinking like the little Goldilocks who wants “just right” amount of information to simplify things, we should in fact embrace complexity full-force and turn to exploring the ways we gather, organize, and present the crazy amount of information that we encounter every day. In other words, when we talk about choice today, let’s talk now about defaults, social clues, product categories, and a design of our decision-making contexts.

People indeed do have cognitive limitations that skew their choices in certain ways that we are not aware of – that’s a fact – but now they also have this powerful digital tools that can act like our decision-making scaffolds and that can make us aware of all our mental illusions that we could not see before. And our ability to see all those factors that influence how we choose may reduce our need to invent explanations for our behaviors.

These two paragraphs spell out clearly a view I’ve come to believe in more and more lately. Brands (and I’m not just talking corporations here, I’m talking governments, movements, and even ‘personal’ brands) need to do a couple simple things to remain relevant. Be abundant, and be yourself. If you create as much as you can, while remaining true to yourself, your role in peoples lives will be much simpler for them to quantify.

In a world of complex mobile app wireframes and social media strategies and response curves and reach and frequency, that seems like a pretty compelling strategy to me.

- June 2010