There's bound to be controversy when you start talking about core features of anything, especially something like advertising and marketing - but say we invite a little discussion (and controversy) and state the obvious that essentially we're trying to address a communication problem.
The problem is simple - you the so and so of the whatever company needs to communicate that your product has value enough for someone to take notice and relinquish some hard-earned cash. A few ideas get thrown around and added to a document titled [fill in the blanks] strategy or [fill in the blanks] campaign etc. Essentially, we're still attempting to solve a communication problem.
So, what's this communication thing?
Because we're reducing things left right and center, why not do it even further by saying communication is all about gaining a mutual understanding? If we don't understand each other, communication gets really tricky.
And how does understanding come about?
Strip it down once more and lets say that at the very least when you can connect to some type of shared experience/s, understanding will follow. At that point the billion dollar question is how does a brand connect with people's shared experiences?
Your product at some point must have come about to "fill a gap in the market". This is essentially saying, there is a human need that is not being met or there's a human problem that's not being solved and that's why the product is there. So whatever it is you sell somehow solves people's problems and meets a human need. This is not necessarily a material need - there's markets for emotional needs, economic needs, intellectual needs etc. So the shared experience involves the conditions that brought about the need for your product to exist in the first place.
Some companies go beyond marketing and branding and ask the question: why?
Why does the company exist? What is its contribution? etc.
These questions are not esoteric but are at the core of knowing how brands can make a real connection and find social authenticity. When your brand does that, it becomes a cultural resource.
The economic drive is secondary to it's primary purpose that is about how it contributes or how it creates connections and builds meaning in society. Economics then becomes a value reality-check that tells us just how well it's achieving its primary goals - if it's socially relevant, if it still adds value, value is given back to it (in terms of money). And this keeps the product alive in the realm of economic exchange.
To put it simply: when your product is not about money, people throw money at it.
Because when making money is a primary activity drive, quality suffers - your product is no longer any good. On this level we start making lots of shiny but empty things and marketing becomes more a form of deceit. The purpose for these things is not to add value, not to solve any real problems but to get the most out of the least. Eventually the veneer cracks and businesses fall.
It's much easier to start with quality, marketing is then about communicating this quality and your company's value is rewarded by economic value.
That's why we're beginning to see at Photolibrary that what you actually want is quality - and we have an abundance of quality images, footage and music. The next step for us is to keep finding better ways to show you the quality content we have, help you easily find it and improve the systems that enable you to do so.
2010 will prove an exciting year here at Photolibrary, be prepared to be surprised!
Article by David Wall originally on Photolibrary News