It is important for brands to differentiate themselves from all the rest. Is there even enough room on the market for every brand to be different?
No, it’s not important, and even if there was room for radical differentiation, there is simply no demand for it. Most people don’t see Nike and Adidas as significantly different. They own products from both brands, and often wear them at the same time.
For brands to be successful, they must be distinct, which boils down to how easy it is to recognize them when they advertise. Distinct brands champion consistency of visual identity and purpose. They have interesting personalities. But, in most cases, they are not seen as different, and are substituted by other, similar brands on a regular basis.
What do you think is the biggest mistake brands make that they don’t even realize?
Brand teams are in a state of constant brainstorm and in pursuit of the next big thing. Too often, they discard what has already been done. Rather than building on it, they move on. As if doing something once was enough. Even if an initiative does not meet its goals, that doesn’t mean it’s destined to fail again. The great thing about doing things for a second and third time is that mistakes can be eradicated and learnings implemented. Too often, we find ourselves reinventing the wheel, rather than sticking with an idea and making it better. But, of course, as I write this, I grow increasingly aware that the reverse is also true. Proven ideas hold many hostages.
The term »middle aged« is shifting and is now considering people in their 50’s and on. In what way are they different from people who were the same age 15 or 20 years ago?
In some ways they are not different at all. Today, just like 20 or 40 years ago, people in there fifties see their children move out or at least gain independence. This is a life-transforming event as the parents, too, regain independence, along with a chunk of their income and maybe even a room in the house. Such changes make a shift in lifestyle unavoidable.
But the scale of that change is different in 2016 compared to 1996. Today’s 60-year-olds were 40 in 1996. They were exposed to a new social order and to new technologies at an age that in no way inhibited adopting either. They embraced change and the new values of individualism and freedom. Someone who was 60 in 1996 had turned forty in 1976, when Brezhnev was still alive.
So, it shouldn’t surprise us that today’s 60-year-olds are willing to redefine conventions surrounding age in ways that were unthinkable to earlier generations.
Do you think the companies are paying enough attention to them?
Absolutely not and it’s all due to applying old standards of age to a completely new breed of people for whom sixty is the new forty.
What would be your advice to brands when approaching »new middle aged« target group?
The marketing community is filled with people under 40, so it’s easy for us to imagine 50+ consumers as a bunch of pigeon-feeding dim wits. Begin by casting away any ageist prejudice.
What would be your message to Golden Drum delegates?
Good news! Your market could be bigger by up to 1/3.