Relate or become irrelevant.
This is because influencers have made aspirational lifestyles feel more attainable and relatable. We follow them and connect with them because they represent real personalities, values and beliefs Because they feel more like ourselves than celebrities. They deliver their ‘brand’ in a very personal and trustworthy way – something that many companies fall short of in their branding.
But how has this change impacted the way traditional product or service brands connect with people?
Way back in 1954, psychologist Leon Festinger described his theory of ‘social comparison’: the way in which we as individuals compare ourselves to others to determine our place within society. He claimed that some people use this as a way of fostering self-improvement, self-motivation and positive self-image – a behaviour that’s still relevant today in our ‘Instagram inspo’ society. And there’s almost a direct translation to the world of business. Many companies look to the industry leaders for guidance on how they should move forward, asking themselves ‘what do they have that we don’t?’.
But when businesses copy others in an attempt to emulate their success it can often have detrimental effects. By directly comparing or basing your business on a competitor you begin to lose sight of your own values and unique qualities. Those who cut and paste aspects of another brand into their own begin to lose sight of their why.
Why is a why so important? Simon Sinek discusses it in his book Start with Why. He explains how every company knows what they do (their product/service and industry), they know how they do it ( their unique differentiators, value proposition and values), but many fall short on communicating their why. They struggle to articulate their purpose and beliefs. That is, what gets them out of bed in a morning (besides making money) and as such they struggle to show consumers why they should give a damn about them.
Simon Sinek discusses and summarises everything around this nicely in his TedTalk.
The sheer amount of information now available at our fingertips is making it harder than ever for brands to connect with consumers. We’re all becoming more selective about what we consume; we ignore communications that don’t feel real, authentic or relatable.