Dear Brand, Be Less into Yourself…

Dear Brand (this goes for humans too), if you want to be more interesting and memorable then Be Less into Yourself and Be More into What People are Into.

Slogans are very telling of a Brand’s true motivation, here’s a list of famous slogans from the past 20 years or so, the first lot are the Me Slogans, the second lot are the People Slogans.

The “Me Slogans”:
Avis – We Try Harder
Singapore – Uniquely Singapore
Carlsberg – Probably the Best Beer in the World
ZUJI.com – Your Online Travel Guru
BMW – The Ultimate Driving Machine

These slogans talk to the individual brand strengths within a category: to be the best, most unique, the ultimate and even a guru in their field. Now years ago some of these slogans might have been celebrated, the Avis slogan is one of the greatest ever. But something happened which changed everything:

1. In every product category there are scores of  “great products” for us to choose from. We don’t really need great-er products.

2. We have attention spans of gnats, and these attention spans diminish as brands talk up their greatness. 

If brands want a conversation with people, then they must first be interested in what we are interested in (a bit like dating 1.0). Later on when we connect, we will then give said brand permission to talk their specific product specialnesss, we might even let them gloat a little.

These brands have cottoned on to this idea with their “People Slogans”:
Apple – Think Different
Omo – Dirt is Good
Air Asia – Now Everyone can Fly
Marlboro – Come to Marlboro Country
Whisper – Have a Happy Period
Pedigree – We’re for Dogs

These brands understand that they must first be what consumers are interested in, and then they earn the right to sell to us. The Apple and Marlboro slogans are not new, and yet they intuitively get the importance of connection before selling.

More recently P&G’s Whisper brand understood that by focusing on the negative of periods they would push women away, instead they championed the idea of “Period Positivity”, in so doing they drew women closer. Equally, Unilever’s Omo realised that laundry is not the most important thing on a woman’s mind, and that laundry perfection was only desirable to the Bree Van De Kamp’s of the world. Omo introduced the idea of  ‘dirt is good”,  a philosophy that promotes “getting dirty” as an essential part of a child’s development. Take a look at the Omo / Persil web-site, their shift away from “clean” towards “fun stuff” is unmistakable.

So Brands, ask yourself what are your consumers really into? Ask how your category can connect to people’s lives in a meaningful way, then make your brand about that!

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