From marketing to consumers to mattering to people: Four take outs from the Festival of Marketing

“Change will never be this slow again” – so brands are increasingly challenged to adopt new approaches and forms of engagement. Technology is not a solution in itself, but those brands that can use it to improve people’s lives are likely to win. That was the big lesson from the recent Festival of Marketing. Federica Pisano, BrandPie Consultant, offers four more.
1. A purpose should guide innovation

Miguel Trigueiros from Siemens Healthineers illustrated the company’s journey – from identifying the pain points and challenges within an industry to finding solutions and benefits for B2B customers, to raising awareness through disruptive product positioning. It is this particular focus that leads from pioneering to innovating. The guiding purpose: providing high-quality and affordable healthcare for patients worldwide.

2. Being at the top of the pyramid is hard

One of the greatest frustrations with brands derives from empty promises, “selling something people don’t want with a message of what people want,” as philosopher and School of Life founder Alain de Botton put it. As people’s basic needs are fulfilled, brands face the challenge of addressing the upper part of Maslow’s pyramid of needs, such as love and belonging, esteem and self-actualisation. Seventy percent of our quality of life relies on human relationships; so brands such as AirBnB that can enable and enhance connection have a greater potential to be relevant in the future. Understanding both people’s daily dissatisfactions and tackling their deepest needs is more than a challenge for capitalism: it will ultimately be its salvation.

3. Data is essential, but no panacea

The term ‘personalisation’ has lately replaced ‘customisation’. Individuals sharing their preferences with brands rightfully demand to be understood. The challenge lies in finding insights within the ever-growing mass of data, then turning those into relevant content. To this end, McKormick has developed the online platform FlavorPrint, which can identify users’ tastes based on the recipes viewed, the ratings posted on the accordingly.

4. Speak, Robot

Artificial intelligence (AI) is entering our lives, and the most innovative brands are quickly tapping into the territory. In this context, use of voice commands is on the rise – among others, fostered by the increased use of voice messages on apps such as WeChat and WhatsApp. And Apple’s Siri has paved the way for people to interact with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home’s Assistant. Opportunities lie in the possibility of an emotional connection with such devices,1 but concerns on privacy issues are also on the increase.2

AI also plays a crucial role in humanising entirely digital brands, such as Atom Bank. From using biometrics as a security measure to interacting with a chat bot, the business builds a unique customer experience through a strong tone of voice, personalised colours and financial advice.

More than ever, your brand’s purpose is key

With the increased automation, being strongly ‘human’ and addressing people’s higher needs of belonging and self-actualisation will be decisive in creating a solid value proposition.

And what will enable brands to succeed is not simply investments in technology: it is their purpose that will allow them to make a difference. A clear purpose motivates employees by emphasising their role within the community, it addresses individuals outside the business by improving the industry and, ideally, society as a whole.

Connecting a brand’s purpose to technology is key to make people’s lives better and, ultimately, to matter to them.


Photo Credit: Festival of Marketing