What company doesn’t want to connect with its consumers? That’s what the marketing world is all about now, creating relationships between brand and customer, building loyalty far beyond the tangible product, falling in love with the experiences and emotions that your brand exudes.
Consumers are increasingly wary of explicit advertising. Too many years of invasive ads, billboards and emails. Overexposure to so many annoying stimuli has resulted in two consumer behaviors.
On the one hand, it has become immune to traditional advertising. You’ll need to be creative to capture their attention while riding the subway, watching TV or reading the newspaper.
On the other hand, the consumer rejects and distrusts direct advertising. He feels that you are trying to shoehorn something to him, against his will, without his having asked you to do so. And he doesn’t like that.
Inbound Marketing to be found by the consumer
(also known as Attraction Marketing) is presented as an alternative to all this cold door selling. With Inbound Marketing we go from chasing the consumer to being found by them when they are really looking for us as a solution to a problem or opportunity.
In short, the younger consumer, and therefore the consumer of the future, expects more from companies. He expects a higher return, his expectations are higher and he keeps looking for ways to block these annoying ads, such as Internet adblockers. So, are we talking about the possibility of a future without advertising?
Differences between branded content and debranding
Although branded content tries to hide the brand by offering content with attributes related to its values, at the end of the day the focus of this technique is still the brand. On the other hand, debranding places consumers as the protagonists and they will be the ones to talk about the brand, if they want to. They will decide how they feel about that brand and we will no longer be the ones to tell them how they should feel. We will stop telling them that Coca Cola is synonymous with happiness, they will decide if they feel that way.
In the end, is there anything better than consumers themselves talking about your brand without you asking them to?
Marks will not disappear, but they will not be as visible
When we talk about debranding, we do not mean that brands disappear. Your company will still need to have its logo, corporate colors and identity. Its essence, after all. However, according to the latest studies, it is very likely that fewer and fewer products and fewer and fewer advertisements are explicitly branded. Perhaps because it will no longer be necessary, consumers will decide what they want to buy without the need to choose according to the brand, but will choose based on the experience offered by the product.
We must sell our products by explaining what the customer will get from consuming them, not by selling our brand as the most cutting-edge or the one with the most modern design. The user will ask, what are you offering me? what solutions do you give me? We are back to talking about the same thing, experiences.
Gone are the days when consumers wanted a bag with the logo prominently displayed on it, or a T-shirt with the brand name on it. Whether you can tell I’m wearing Lacoste or carrying a Prada bag is no longer relevant to new consumers.
The principle of de-marketization, only for the largest companies
A first step towards this de-branding could be the fact that more and more brands are removing the name from their logos. They don’t need it anymore, the logo says it all for those consumers who are loyal to their products. The consumer already recognizes the brand without that slogan or textual identity.
Some brands have even tried to eliminate their logo and have left only some graphic elements to be identified. After all, if you are able to be remembered in this way, your corporate image will be reinforced, won’t it?
A clear example would be the Coca Cola campaign in which the brand name was replaced by personal names of consumers. Did anyone doubt that he was drinking Coca Cola? Of course not.
It is clear that nowadays not every brand can work on debranding. Only the best-known companies can afford to keep excess noise away from their brands. So did Starbucks, minimizing its image to its logo. No slogans, no name.
But if, as some consumer studies are predicting, the day really will come when brands die, it is worth considering that this debranding could become globalized in the future and we will all have to adapt to it.
Everything will depend on the consumption habits of millennials and other future generations. We will stay tuned!