A lot of people are afraid of marketing.
They believe it’s a form of business that’s designed to manipulate them. They believe it’s a force of evil which they have no control over. They believe its sole purpose is to get them to do things they don’t want to do.
But… I have a different viewpoint.
As someone who both “markets” and is “marketed to,” I believe marketing is an art form which nurtures deep emotions that we neglect in everyday life. I believe it’s also a complex psychological science which helps us communicate a complex idea quickly and clearly to a large group of people.
That viewpoint, for me, paints a beautiful picture of the marketing world.
But when you start to let ideas like corporate greed, corruption, and ulterior motives come to mind, this world quickly moves from a state of beauty to one that is threatening and opaque. It makes us feel like we’re not in control, and that forces beyond our comprehension are out there to lie and steal from us. This is not an unfounded fear, either. When the “unwritten rules” of the marketing world are bent and broken, companies try to manipulate others. But in the end, they inevitably lose the trust of their followers.
Armed with the right tools, however, businesses and consumers can coexist beautifully.
Much in the same way a musician and his audience can coexist and benefit from one another, authentic companies like Dove, and Budweiser know this. They don’t try to sell you a product; they try to share a moment with you: a deep, meaningful moment that you might not have even experienced before. These moments are centered around emotions such as deep love, the desire to explore, or the pain of heartbreak.
The companies that you see absolutely crushing it with emotionally-driven advertisements are the same companies which know exactly how you want to feel deep, deep down.
How can that be manipulation?
How can that be manipulating or greedy? Don’t we pay good money at movie theaters to feel the exact same ways?
Sure, the businesses making us feel those emotions have an agenda, as do the movie producers. Like every business, they need to generate a profit. And those advertisements you love are generated to help them do exactly that. But these companies know that you don’t want to feel “sold to.” They know that in order to win your trust, and eventually your purchase, they need to be part of your life.
They need to play an integral role in your emotional journey.
At the end of the day, the brands we trust are the brands we buy from.
The next time you see a really amazing ad from North Face or Turkish Airlines, step back and realize what you’re feeling.
You’re feeling warm and fuzzy. Or reminiscent of your childhood. Or in the mood to venture into the unknown.
It is rare to find these small moments anywhere else in our daily lives.
Marketing is the catalyst of those feelings, which is why it should be valued less as a method to manipulate and more as a vehicle for emotional awakening in the same way a musical album both affects our mental state and provides profit for those who created that moment for us.
So what’s your next moment, dear reader?