Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!


On my last day at 1000heads, I came across a video that genuinely gave me goosebumps [in a good way]. It’s a clip of Charlie Chaplin‘s final speech from The Great Dictator (1940). The movie itself is a comedy, and a satirical take on Nazi Germany – but the final speech is absolutely captivating, and amazingly inspirational.

Watch the video; how does it make you feel?

I’ve watched the clip 7-8 times now, and I’m drawn to the line, “we think too much and feel too little“; which is so true of the times we’re living in.The same could be said of the marketing environment.

When was the last time you saw a brand genuinely concerned with how a consumer felt when buying a product? How often do brands ‘think’ about how the consumer ‘feels’? I don’t think I’ve seen a piece of marketing content during 2011 and actually felt anything. Maybe I’m desensitised to everything, possibly my mind has been saturated with mediocrity, maybe we all are the same, but I haven’t seen a comeback from any brand to make me think and feel otherwise.

It seems as though the marketing world might be bowing down to “the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress“. Too busy shifting their thoughts and feelings onto the consumer, without worrying about individual’s wants, needs, desires, passions, interests or simply what gets a person up in the morning. Which is a shame because, in 2012, brands have the perfect chance to stop this boring trend of broadcasting and start communicating.

So, instead of telling me the benefits your product has compared to your competitors [I’m sure most people don’t remember anyway], start telling me something about the brand. Tell me something I didn’t know. Even better, tell me something I care about. Let’s have a chat, a simple two-way conversation, where you can find out about me, and I’ll listen too. We might even get to know each other, become friends and start a meaningful relationship. That’s what I’d call a competitive advantage.

The proof is in the pudding. If you always buy [brand X] but you see a similar product, [brand Y], cheaper, you’d probably buy the latter. Why? Because neither brand has inspired you, they haven’t evoked an emotion from you strong enough to warrant losing money. However, if you knew [brand X] very well and trusted them, maybe you wouldn’t even be looking for discounts or deals or sales in the first place.

In the words of the mighty Terry Tibbs of Fonejacker: “Talk to me”.

Real and genuine communication, be it in person, over the telephone, via text message, email, or simply across a social network, is how humans connect with each other. But we’ve known that for a while now, haven’t we?; “Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines“. Well said Charlie.

And on that note, I say goodbye to 2011, and hello to 2012. I promise to blog more, be a better person and stop smoking. In reality, I promise to keep judging and buying cigarettes. Happy New Year.

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