Boring Conversation Anyway..
I was at a dinner party last Saturday night with some loose acquaintances (no, not loose in that sense, it wasn’t that sort of party). We’ve all been in a similar situation where your choice of seating dictates whether you have a scorcher of an evening or a politely ankle-deep exchange of banalities with a stranger.
On this occasion, the social wheel of fortune had not been terribly kind to me, and as I sat there half-heartedly talking about schools (again) I started to muse on what the missing ingredient actually was that could transform this conversation from vapid to vascular.
I needed something to push against to be engaged. A point of view, an opinion, a stance, a spicy attitude. It was then that the upsetting truth of the situation hit me: I was clearly not providing anything for my table-mates to engage with either. Dammit.
It is curious to see that in an environment of outrageously fierce competition for consumers’ attention, not all that many brands recognise that they are in danger of being the dullard at the party. In the absurdly media-saturated lives of consumers (numbers vary but consensus suggests that consumers are hit with between 2,500 to 10,000 branded messages a day, around c360 ads are seen, c150 are registered and only around 12 can be recalled), it should be increasingly obvious that there is a need to boldly engage with consumers and to do it with audacious conviction.
Let’s call this Attitude Marketing
There was a time when we beat ourselves half to death trying to define a product differentiator however teeny, tiny, fag-paper thin it was, it was our Grail. How times have changed. Most brands recognise that any tangible product differentiator will no doubt be either overtaken or leap-frogged within 12 months.
I’m sure that this notion isn’t a huge shock to anyone reading this, however, what should be a shock is how few brands are doing it. Back as far as 2014, 75% of millennials agreed that they wanted to share a point of view with their brands. And yet, with notable exceptions such as Old Spice’s ‘Running on Empty’ or KFC’s ‘We’re Sorry. FCK’, this undertaking is rarely seen in earnest.
What I find the most surprising is that smaller brands, or brands with smaller marketing spends are not leaping on this as the way to punch above their weight, to get noticed, to win affection. And that not more agencies are prepared to tell their clients that they are in danger of being the drabster at the table.
The start-point in developing authentic Attitude Marketing is to fully understand the business that the brand is in. Travel companies aren’t in transport, they are in adventure. Detergents aren’t in hygiene, they are in family love. And burger and pizza restaurants aren’t in food, they are in connection.
Having an attitude requires commitment
During the last US Presidential election, we presented a new campaign to Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK). It required them to create a new burger made from rump meat so that they could run our campaign ‘VOTE RUMP, our thickest burger ever’ with the strapline ‘It’s a bit of an arse’. Our client at the time looked at it once, laughed like a drain and bought it. With a total budget of just £150k all in we made it happen and the results were stunning – it became their then best-selling special of all time.
As a post script, not only is that GBK client now Marketing Director of Burger King UK, she is also a fantastic person to sit next to at a dinner party, bursting with engaging opinions and most of all, attitude.