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Creating brand imagery one can live with

In the world of realism and idealism, the answer is let’s be real! It should be all about real people and real stories

Gulf News

In this age of the ‘Catch. Up. Social. Platforms’ (Cusp), the human mind and eco-system is undergoing an extreme moment of transition.

Our mental faculties are getting limited under the influence of what others are doing, the lives others are living, the life we are not living, the lives we would like to live, and a complete re-assessment or criticism of our own lives. This in turn is clearly affecting our mental, social and emotional abilities.

In a recent article, Instagram was stated to be the worst platform for mental health, with evidence just based on human beings witnessing each other’s aspirational lives and limiting their perception of their own lives. Is this true?

The answer is YES! The portrayal of larger-than-life images, social buzz with the paparazzi, the dramatisation of Cannes with the designers, the lifestyle of private jets and the millions worth of jewellery can limit our own impressions of our own life.

The counterargument to the same thought can obviously be a re-definition of aspirations? But the question is what percentage of people actually gets to those social levels of consciousness? Very few!

‘FOMO’ is an overused — and often misused — concept of people not wanting to miss out, but often actually missing out on real-life pleasures. Why? Simply because it is an attempt to live the life of other people than actually participating in one’s own life.

From a brand and marketing perspective, the question is “Do I enable people to live a life they live. Or should I showcase a life, which deviates people’s imagination to move away from their own lives?”

In the world of realism and idealism, the answer is let’s be real! It should be all about real people and real stories. The idea is not to create a disconnect from the lives we live but to create a connect with the lives we live.

How often have we thought or argued against showing simplicity and showing real, identifiable people? What do I as a consumer relate to eventually? Me.

What do I as a consumer imagine eventually? Me. I may imagine a celebrity but is that real? No.

Marketing budgets are shrinking, attention spans are limited. We are critical of time and cash pressures, and faculties to absorb so much information are limited. And we can’t keep living in the imaginary world.

Hence, let’s be real. Let’s talk real stories and let’s talk real people. By creating content and advertising which is relatable, the uniqueness and the beauty of a brand is further amplified by creating simple consumer resonance. And that’s the possible key to future success.

This is the era of responsible marketing and consumer conversations, which go beyond just selling. Brands need to be responsible and real, functional and not just emotional. And, finally, they need to connect with their consumers at a true emotional level.

Thanks to Whisper, the phrase ‘Like A Girl’ has gone through a positive transition and ensued heartening conversations such as — “They fought #LikeAGirl” or “They played #LikeAGirl”. But we still seem to have a long way to go before each and every girl can do things “Like A Girl” and be proud of it.

The #LikeAGirl video could follow a similar path. Either way, it’s worth taking a minute to watch the video to see what these young girls have to say. After all, as one woman points out in the video, “I am a girl and that is not something that I should be ashamed of”.

When Dove launched the ‘real beauty’ campaign, they were rather boldly bringing in the context of real beauty, which most women could relate to and have a strong emotional connect. It was moving beyond moments of make-up, idealism, unnatural beauty and eventually social media stereotypes.

It would be bold for a celebrity like Kim Kardashian to go online with a no make-up look, but that is the intention. Appreciation of real beauty and appreciation of your own beauty is a strong and powerful statement vs. trying to be who you are not.

Hence, the reality of the life we live, not the life we don’t live and trying to be who we are not.

The writer is the CEO of marketing services firm Home.