Remember, It’s Not All About You (Or Your Brand)

Have I said this already? Well, it bears repeating. I ran across a cartoon today, first printed in 2007, re-printed recently. “Inside the Mind of the Consumer” by Tom Fishburne. Check it out here.

In his blog, Tom says

“It’s common for marketers to exaggerate the importance of their brands in consumers’ lives. Brand positioning statements are often written as if consumers constantly think and obsess about the brand. Social media from brands can make it sound like every consumer is a cult follower.

In reality, even “brand loyalists” have complex lives completely separate from our brands. Brands can play important roles, but we should be careful not to overstate how much consumers give thought to our brands.”

Boy, howdee is that true. I recently did a project in which

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the client wanted to determine how consumers would feel about a particular change to their service, that was undergoing many changes. Wisely, they decided not to ask straight out, but just to ask how people felt about all the things that were going on. And guess what? Not a single person brought up the particular change they were worried about on their own! Consumers had a long list of issues, concerns, and questions that were top of mind, and this wasn’t one of them. Good news for the client, I guess.

More broadly, the reminder serves to reinforce how important it is to introduce topics in research, and phrase questions, and assess reactions to concepts, ads, new products and more with the humble perspective that in almost all cases, what we’re asking people about matters way more to us than it

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does to them.


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