“You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.” ― David Foster Wallace
This quote from American novelist, David Foster Wallace, inspired me.
Every day I work with clients who want to craft a message to their customers. They focus on creating a lasting impression. The focus on creating a personality for their company. They want to craft the image in customers’ minds when their brand is mentioned. They spend countless hours and millions of dollars in this endeavor.
But does it work? Does any of it really matter?
Think about the best brands in the world. Coca-Cola, Nike, Ben & Jerry’s, Ford, Gatorade, McDonald’s, and Apple are some of the most well marketed brands.
Yet, how much of your day is spent dwelling on any one of them? You can walk in your Nike sneakers while listening to your iPod to grab a Big Mac and a Coke without ever stopping to consider, “What message does the marketing department want me to hear?
You are probably thinking about your job, your school, your kids, your parents, conflict in the Middle East, racism in America, how to make more money, should you ask her to get married, is he “Mr. Right”, did hobbits really exist, or if you had $1 billion would it be possible to build an actual gingerbread house.
Our brains bounce from solving the world’s problems to the mundane trivia of our daily lives in nanoseconds.
If we can’t even control our own brains, how do we expect influence others? Does marketing even matter?
Yes, marketing is critical, and here’s why.
We spend very very little time contemplating the products we buy, the services we use, or the companies that create them. However, when we do take the time to choose, the company that has stimulated our brain most recently and/or most often is the likely winner.
When buying athletic shoes, your likely only to try three or four pair. Most likely one of them will be made by Nike. We admire sports stars like Michael Jordan. We associate Nike with athleticism. Nike has teamed with another favorite brand, Apple.
Now we are hungry. Are we in the mood for McDonald’s or one of the other restaurants? The food is decent, and the price is right. Plus you could go for a Coke.
In the decision-making process you have nanoseconds to associate your brand with positive imagery. The more connected to other parts of the brain you can be, the more likely you will be among the finalists in the world the vast choices.
Which pizza is best? Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Dominoes or the local pizza joint? This question is certainly debatable… but the losers aren’t the ones that make worst pizza. The losers are the ones that never make the final decision. When deciding which pizza is best, the company that hasn’t made the cut with their marketing will never even be tasted.
It’s about nanoseconds.
Your marketing message must be logged in the brain based on likability, proximity and repetition. Your job as a marketer is to occupy the minds of your customers, and build connections, so in those nanoseconds of electrical activity in the brain your brand will be among the finalists.