In a series he just kicked off, Gavin Heaton at Servant of Chaos will be talking about the future of your brand. Make sure you bookmark his site or, better, subscribe to his feed. I know you will not want to miss learning and talking about Gavin's ideas.
Monday I gave a presentation as part of another series hosted by Tim Brunelle called Conversations on the Future of Advertising. One of the things I talked about is personas. Each of us has more than one as a thin slice. In other words, depending on our function and role, we have a whole persona associated with it that may be different from the one we identify with in another role. There are many personas in each person.
For example, I could engage a customer in his role at work with a conversation tailored to the specific needs and wants in that role. Then, I could meet that same person in a social media context and they would be a different persona. Same person, completely different conversation. We know that they may be inclined to listen and engage at a specific level - the one associated with role at work - once they have interacted at a more general level - social.
Gavin sees two meta-trends upon which he plans to build his series:
1. Micro-transformations -- Micro-transformations refer to the miniaturizing of consumer behaviors into ever smaller discrete steps. This fragmentation of direct experience is driving a range of sub-trends that are, in turn, being facilitated by economic, technical and social changes.
This resonates with me in light of the observation on and work I have been doing on personas. It's not about targets, rather about where the connection points are. When you meet someone in a social context, you tend to find those rather quickly with some people. Hugh MacLeod has been talking about Social Objects. A Social Object, in a nutshell, is the reason two people are talking to each other, as opposed to talking to somebody else.
Because of the general problem of spam, overwhelm with information, and distrust of unknown quantities, I suspect that the more specific to a person's stage in their process the connection happens when they are in the work role persona, the greater chance they will resonate with it. This says more direct marketing than advertising. Marketing principles have not changed, they still work. It's the conversation that gets you there that is changing.
Will advertising be more direct, personal and (hopefully) relevant?
2. Infatuations -- In a globalized world, our infatuations are taking on new dimensions. No longer is infatuation one-way, but it is bi-directional … what we love now returns that love in an equally idealized form.
I don't know about you, I am really looking forward to Gavin's take on this one. At our interaction with MIMA, we talked about ideas and how the money is in the execution. Understanding what we can foresee, rather than predict, from current stories and patterns, can and does lead to insights and they in turn lead to action. That is the bedrock of Get There Early, the book by Bob Johansen at the Institute for the Future.
Can customer service be the conduit for what we call infatuations?
[image courtesy of AP. Carnevale di Venezia]