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    From the Gaping Void

    Food for thought

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    January 10, 2007


    Mark Earls

    Ok my money goes on this:

    All character is action. That is you can only really draw conclusions about someone's character through their actions.

    This makes what a brand or company does (or doesn't do) really important. Particularly as everything gets filtered through what other folk say (or we think they say).

    Communication isn't transmitting info/data but action (see Robert Heath's latest thing). Recipe is action. Distribution is action. Everything is action.

    This is where branded utility fits in, I think. Brands that do stuff that we find useful in our interactions with each other (a dull way of describing real life but it's a start...)

    But what drives action? What helps you chose one thing over another? Or stop doing something?


    Noah Brier

    I'm with Mark, though I'm going one step before beliefs. I think 2007 is about back to basics. With the influx of user generated content and the realization that consumers can be great co-marketers, it's time for brands to dig deep within themselves and figure out who they are and what they want to be when they grow up. Companies need to identify core beliefs and assets and focus on them.

    Noah Brier

    One more thought on back to basics: I think this might be a trend for individuals as well . . .

    Rob @ Cynic

    I actually wrote a paper on this 'back to basics' trend and whilst it is definitely occuring - it is often limited to certain categories and even then there tends to be an 'aspirational' element to the decision.

    Case in point ...

    Australia's 'working man's' beer is called VB.

    Whilst the country is well served with all manner of premium beers, there has been a real growth in people choosing to drink the VB brand - not just because of it's taste, but because white-collar men like the idea of being seen as 'one-of-the-boys' despite wearing $1000 suits, driving a BMW and earning more in a month than most traditional Australian working men earn in a year.

    In essence, it's 'cool' to be seen as a Man's Man where beer is concerned - but they'll still turn their nose up at homebrand baked beans and a Ford Focus.

    Of course the sheer volume of choice people now have is also driving 'a back to basics' mentality and a very talented friend of mine, Catherine Heath, wrote about this on her agencies website -


    2007 = Being excited. So many options in products to buy, experiences to have, To not be stimulated is to express inertia (or poverty)

    Enthusiasm as a status symbol

    Rob @ Cynic

    In Asia ... 'enthusiasm' is already a status symbol but then Asia is taking over the World and everyone else is playing catch up.

    El Gaffney

    This year may be about Partnerships. People have spent a few years now building and managing online social networks. Brands spent a year or so trying to use (infiltrate and exploit) these communities to make friends. Plus, now they often team up to make content. Brands will be active in seeking out other "likeminded" brands and individuals (who are more and more seeing themselves and acting as brands) to create useful products (branded utility) and better experiences - because they often can't do it on their own and it simplifies things/solves a need and helps people chose from "so many options". Using Nike+ as the example, they'll be co-branding products and services and sharing information, generally looking to make more friends (traditional brands and people brands).

    Chris Spurgeon

    I think this is the year many more people become more comfortable with moving their data around...their photos on their iPods, their home movies on YouTube, their email easily available many more places, their contact lists not split between some on their phones and others on their PCs, etc.

    More and more the digital stuff that defines us will be accessible everywhere, and by a wide variety of different devices.


    With El on this one. El, you in Minneapolis? Want to meet up for coffee and discuss?

    John Grant

    Hi G

    Massively late on this thread. It was a busy Jan.

    I'd love to think it was going to be brand enthusiasm. But the obvious candidate here in London is green/sustainability. It's all anybody seems to talk about at the moment. & of course its a great place top apply the co-enthusiasm model, so who's worrying :J

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