Content vs. Exposition

About 3 years ago I was having a very heated discussion with a distinguished journalist (hello Larisa) on marketing and economics about content versus campaign, in the context of marketing, advertising and brand building. The discussion was remarkable, very heated with many pros and cons, but the idea in the conclusion remained the same one we discussed in the beginning: consumers are tired, immunised and no longer willing to blindly believe simple slogans and campaigns. The very notion of campaign is demonetised and sometimes even demonised. Even products and services end up being demonised due to negative market examples. People start to want transparency and complex relationships, to be interested in information about the product or service, features, comparisons, price, whether or not it is healthy or “environmentally friendly”, where and how it is produced and so on. The product / service itself is of increasing interest if it meets a wider range of conditions and characteristics, others than the few that are usually taken into account by market research.

The rise of this desire for information and knowledge in people implicitly leads to a change in the paradigm of marketing, which is not an exact science anyway. Today, I believe that the classic marketing treaties have only remained partially valid. Marketing is reinventing itself, or rather it must be reinvented, in accordance with the growing influx of people’s conditioning. The very notion of consumer seems to perish, in its classical sense, which is deeply rooted in the culture of companies.

What seems like a good example to me – even if we are not speaking of consumer products – is the phenomenon of protests against the exploitation of gold and shale gas. Although, theoretically, we would all benefit from exploiting them in the medium-term (probably lower prices, economic security over time, etc.), people oppose despite the figures and advantages presented to them in absolute terms. Money is no longer enough in the context of other humanitarian or environmental arguments in play. We may witness more such attitudes in the future, in relation to more common things such as yogurt, beer or home furniture.

The above examples illustrate a tendency to increase people’s distrust in (at least) certain products, services or companies; or this can be countered only in one way, through transparency, openness, real CSR actions, honest branding and in a generally different relationship to the (so-called) consumer.