Customers Deserve Better Brand Experiences

Former BBH chairman, Cindy Gallop, wants to help us redesign the advertising business. She argues that it’s high time to “blow it up and start again.”

“People hate advertising in general, but they love advertising in particular,” she reflects. “We have to make people love advertising in general. We have to move from making good advertising to making advertising good.”

Midway through her Guardian talk, Gallop says brands must progress from co-creation to co-action. For her, making content together is not enough. She wants brands and consumers to “act” in concert in the real world to solve real world problems. I have to say I love the high-mindedness.

Most future-forward marketers and brands have only gotten as far as co-creation. They invite consumers to create content and to share it. I believe the future of marketing is co-action. Brands and consumers micro-acting together to create impacts in the real world that benefit consumers, benefit society and benefit the brand and its business. I believe the future of business is about doing good and making money simultaneously. It’s what I mean when I say we have to focus moving from making good advertising to making advertising good.

We always want the advertising we make to work. But we’ve rarely bother to ask what that means, beyond increased exposure, loyalty and market share for our clients and thus more business for us. Gallop does ask however, and she believes brands can have a much larger impact in people’s lives than any ad campaign will ever allow. She’s saying a brand is what a company believes in and what it does. I happen to agree wholeheartedly. The question is how does this truth impact our work and our business relationships with clients?

The new reality is we need to help guide and continually improve the brand experiences for our client’s customers. In other words, making a new ad campaign is pointless if the real life brand experience is lacking. For instance, we might make a brilliant ad campaign for hotel, but if the hotel has poor customer service, or dirty rooms, the advertising becomes a lie.

Gallop says you can create any business model you want, and that it pays to follow your passion. For me, and thus for Bonehook, being in the brand experience business makes the most sense (it’s consumer advocacy meets brand advocacy for the betterment of all). I still love to make ads, and ads are still key to communicating brand value. But ads are not the end, they’re one means to new highly enriched brand-customer relationships.

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