If it’s not on Facebook, Twitter or Insta, it did not happen.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? I reach for my phone and
instantly I’m connected to my virtual shadow! After a quick email check, social
media scan, I am left pondering if this electronic umbilical cord that connects me
to others is benefitting or strangling me?
These days I live my life under so much scrutiny. My memories are no longer my
own and my privacy is exposed for everyone’s daily dose of entertainment. If I
don’t post about my adventurous holiday, the slick ride I’m driving, chowing
down that expensive cuisine or sharing that breath-taking experience in real
time, it may as well never have happened. How mad is that? Our need for
recognition and endorsement is at the core of our cybernetic relationships,
making most of us calculate every single step we take to receive that stamp of
I hear some people even go to the extent of only taking pictures from their
“best’ side, through selfies, groundsies and now I hear there are climbsies!
Haha! I find this outrageous illusion of perfectionism humorous and far greater
than I ever imagined.
As I scan through “friends’ posts on my timeline, I can’t help but notice that only
the good and attractive is shared publicly while the bad and ugly is perfectly
hidden behind the colourful profile pages.
Creating this idyllic world seems to mean that every time we “log on’ we are
transported to a very polished, fantasy world where everything is rosy.
Instantly, I am reminded of the movie, Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless
Mind, where the lead tries to erase the memory of his ex-girlfriend after a
bad break-up, protecting him from the distinctive emotions of sadness one
would naturally feel.
I realise that the most interesting behavioural change social platforms bring is
this intimate connectedness it affords me with thousands of strangers I have
never met and will never meet; but they are easily influenced by little old me. I
can post something right now, and because they opted to accept and trust me,
they will immediately endorse and retweet to their followers. My opinion could
be shared over and over, transcending cities and borders. Finally, I realise the
power of my voice.
So therein lies our challenge: what type of messages should we communicate to
consumers who are discovering this power day by day? They have now become
attractive communication platforms or mouthpieces for our efforts, meaning
messaging design should not only focus on the target but the intermediary as
well. I’m seeing this shift in the style of work that is produced to deliver on
exactly this, and all the work that is loved has storytelling and entertainment at
its core. A great example of this is McCann Melbourne’s 2013 Dumb Ways
to Die campaign that sparked immediate YouTube popularity with over 80
million views and this for a small metropolis in Australia. Brands such as Dove,
Coca-Cola and Nike get this right time and time again.
I’m no expert but I do listen and watch closely as our work is getting noticed,
talked about and even torn apart in the public domain. Previously we were
protected from customer views, but now those views are being amplified for the
world to see and we can’t afford to get it wrong.
So let’s be mindful not to retrofit campaigns for the sake of it and start telling
the truth about our brands and most importantly allow consumers to participate
in the narrative. Consumers, through their connectedness, have become
powerful community owners and brand stakeholders; ignore this truth at your
peril. On a lighter note it’s probably the best time to be in “adland’ and I’m glad
to be involved in this monumental shift.