Future Thinkers Podcast - The Future of Marketing and Authentic Brand Storytelling
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Mike: Welcome, again, to the Future Thinkers podcast, episode number 12. It has been a long, long time since we’ve podcasted. Why is that, Euvie?

Euvie: We’ve been working on some [00:00:30] big projects. We are relaunching our video production company and we’ve also been working with a jewellery company that we’ve produced some really cool stuff for. We’re going to talk about some of it in this episode, but we also want to talk about some of the ideas surrounding both of those things. Namely, the future of marketing. Not in the same sleezy way that marketing is perceived by most people, not tactics for manipulating the masses. [00:01:00] More along the lines of how can you capture the hearts and minds of people as a brand or as a company. A lot of people are freelancers, so that applies, too. Same thing for anyone, really, who wants to influence others, I think it applies. That’s what we’re going to talk about this episode.

Mike: We’ve been travelling around quite a bit since our last podcast episode. We’re currently in Bangkok. It’s been an interesting couple of months since we last recorded, because we’ve learned a lot about [00:01:30] how we offer our service, how we market it, how we position ourselves, what we talk about with our messaging, what we’re doing with our website. We’ve got a little bit of a different perspective on how people relate to brands and how people want to hear from their favourite brands. We’re going to talk about a little bit of the history of how brands have traditionally marketed to people, what they were doing in the last few years, last couple decades, and what is going to have to happen now and what is currently happening – [00:02:00] not all brands have caught up to this yet but it’s on its way. Why don’t we start with a history lesson first?

Euvie: We’ve been studying storytelling for a while now. The thing is that most of us grew up in the era of mass media, radio, and television, people constantly being bombarded with advertisements and giant billboards in the cities. I think a lot of people think that it’s normal to be communicated to in that way but, for most of human history, for thousands and thousands of years, the only way that people could communicate [00:02:30] ideas to each other was through oral tradition, through storytelling – people gathering around the camp fire, gathering in the village centre and sharing stories. It was still very much small groups and everybody had the ability to tell stories. Whereas, in the world that we grew up in, it was very different and this was actually abnormal in the scope of human history.

Mike: The way messages and stories moved around in the oral tradition was through social networks. [00:03:00] It was always person to person. If a story was crappy, it never got shared. If the story was awesome, it was remembered, it was shared. If the story accomplished a few things, as well, it served the people, it entertained, it passed along some sort of important message to the survival of the group, then that was very important and that message got shared quite a bit. Within the last hundred years, a new era has erupted called the broadcast era. What the broadcast era is is the ability for a small [00:03:30] group of people with a lot of money to push out messages that only serve themselves or only serve a small select group of people. The idea is really broadcasting a message to sell more products.

Euvie: Spray and pray.

Mike: It didn’t really matter who they were marketing to, it just mattered that enough people saw the message enough times just to buy a product. It in no way served the person seeing the message, aside from some miracle cure, or pill, or product, or whatever. It rarely entertained, aside from [00:04:00] the occasional hilarious football commercial.

Euvie: People couldn’t avoid advertisements, as well, because if you’re watching your favourite program on TV, in the 50s, 60s, 70s, people didn’t even have remotes, so if you wanted to change the channel you had to get up off your butt, go to the TV, change the channel, and then, of course, networks would show their ads all at the same time, so you were watching either this ad or that ad anyway. People couldn’t really avoid these ads. With giant billboards, obviously, [00:04:30] how do you avoid that if you’re driving to work? Now, most people get their entertainment and information from the internet.

Mike: Which is a vast method of distribution. There’s so many different ways that you can find your information – going to specific people or networks. As Gary Vaynerchuk always talks about, we as marketers really need to start going where the eyes and ears are of the people we want to connect with, and not just try and broadcast a message and spam everyone like we’re still in the broadcast era. [00:05:00] Now, we’re in the digital era and the digital era is all about storytelling and marketing that people want to see, not stuff that’s being broadcast to them. When we now have the option of installing Adblock Plus, skipping through adds and not paying attention to ads to begin with, or shitty content or shitty commercials or any of that kind of stuff. It really becomes what is useful and what is entertaining that gets our attention. It’s a really, really big fight for attention between [00:05:30] companies and marketers and stuff now, it’s really tough.

Euvie: Yeah, in the internet age, I think some companies have adopted this idea – and content marketing has been a buzzword for a few years now – but I think so many companies are still doing it in the old way. They create a problem, they make people feel inadequate. The other day I was looking at a press release distribution site. When I signed up for it, they automatically signed me up for their email marketing list. I was getting [00:06:00] these emails that pretty much told me how inadequate I was and how I could never distribute my press release, as well as it would be distributed if I paid them $1,000 or whatever. It’s so obvious to me, because I’ve studied this stuff. It’s like, “Disempowering marketing, some more disempowerment marketing, then finish up with miracle pill. Here you go, $1,000 please.”

Mike: Yeah, there’s formulas to copyrighting and it’s amazing how quickly it has to evolve, how quickly marketing has to evolve to keep up with the consumer because the consumer’s [00:06:30] the one that’s evolving the quickest and finding new ways to avoid that advertising. When you go to a copywriter, a lot of the time they’re still operating on these older methods and tactics of marketing. The first thing they’ll tell you is, “Find the pain, find the customer’s pain. Exploit that, point it out, make the pain bigger than it seems.”

Euvie: Yeah. A really good example of this that has actually seen a backlash recently is the beauty industry. Beauty magazines and beauty brands, makeup brands, perfume brands, [00:07:00] deodorant brands, have really pushed this idea that you’re not pretty enough, you’re not good enough, you’re too fat, you stink, your zits are horrible, your hair will never look good enough by itself, so you need all these products to make you pretty and desirable and all this stuff. It’s definitely seen a backlash recently and a lot of blogs and even brands like Dove, for example, they’re trying to push this idea that everybody’s beautiful and you’re beautiful the way you are, [00:07:30] you just need healthy skin or whatever. I think that’s a lot better but it still has a ways to go.

Mike: Basically, we’re going from the oral traditions to the broadcast era and almost back to the oral tradition, but this time it’s globally distributed.

Euvie: Yeah, it’s in the digital realm. People are not isolated anymore like they were in the 50s, in their bedroom communities and they only knew a few neighbours or didn’t even know their neighbours and they just [00:08:00] drove to work and did their shopping in the big malls and didn’t talk to anyone. Now, social networks are huge again, everybody’s on Facebook and Twitter and Reddit and everything else. That information, once again, is getting shared and everybody is powerful in telling those stories and sharing that information. For example, in the past, if a company did something really shitty or made you wait on hold for 40 minutes before they gave you customer service, they could just get away with it. [00:08:30] Now, somebody will write a passionate, terrible review online and it’ll get shared 5,000 times and, suddenly, the company’s like, “Shit, we got to change our ways.”

Mike: Yeah, it’s actually amazing what kind of power the individual has now, especially when it comes to hotels and travel destinations and restaurants and everything. We live off of Trip Adviser and Air BnB and these other sites that are just completely recommendation-based.

Euvie: Yeah. I always check for reviews when [00:09:00] booking [inaudible [0:09:01] or booking.com, and I always leave reviews to make sure that other travellers have that information.

Mike: It’s a really great way to force companies to submit to the will of the people, which is the way it should always have been. For a while, the powers really centralized and put in the hands of a small group of people. With the internet, we’re able to expand that back again. The idea between disempowerment marketing and empowering marketing is that disempowerment [00:09:30] pokes your fears and presents you with a miracle pill to solve them. Empowerment marketing makes the story about you. You are the hero of this journey, you the customer. You’re trying to achieve something in your world, or maybe you’re living in a status quo that’s just not satisfactory to you.

The idea with the empowerment marketing is that the brand has to position themselves as the mentor. They’re the one with the information or the power to help, [00:10:00] or the product that is a tool to help you achieve a better life. It’s not about saying, “Hey, you’re not good enough, here’s a product.” It’s saying, “Hey, honestly, if you want to go here, here’s a product that might help you. It’s more of a stepping stone than a cure. You’re still going to have to do the work.”

Euvie: I love that idea because people appreciate that so much more. If you get something without some sort of revelation or inner journey or you had to [00:10:30] do something to get it, then you don’t really appreciate it. People appreciate it so much more when it’s their own journey, they decided on a destination in their own mind and then there’s something out there that helps them. Whereas, with disempowerment marketing, it’s brands creating this non-existent fears and non-existent problems. With the deodorant industry, that was never really talked about until somebody invented pit stick, and they were like, “How are we going to market this? Okay, let’s tell people that they stink.”

Mike: [00:11:00] Yeah. Marketers have done this to themselves over several years. They’ve made themselves the opposition to the customer. It’s been about, “How much money can we extract from the customer’s wallet.” Really, I think it’s a missed opportunity for both sides – for the customer and the brand. The customer might want to achieve something that this product can solve, but they’re so sick of advertising and so sick of being told how shitty their life is [00:11:30] and how much they need this product that they just ignore everything. They put on blinders and ignore everything. The brand misses out, as well, because they’ve done the same message, they’ve done the same thing for so long, and they’ve made the customer get used to a certain way of speaking, a certain message, and so now they’re stick, there’s no way to get through anymore because the customers just turn on their blinders.

It makes me feel bad for both parties and I feel like we’re missing out on a big opportunity to all work together. You could imagine [00:12:00] if a company with billions of dollars created a plan to actually make the world better, to start working on renewable energies. Imagine if these companies did the work because the people had the power and they simply demanded it.

Euvie: I lived in Denmark for a year and I know that the standard for produce there is so much higher, just because people refuse to buy milk that hormones in it or vegetables that were sprayed with pesticide. People just simply refused, so companies had to follow. [00:12:30] Yeah, the standard of produce is much higher there for the same price that it is in North America. People are powerful and they will tell you what they want. It’s just in the company’s interest to listen. People are talking about this on Twitter or on forums, so companies just have to go there and read about it. It’s easy. Why don’t we talk about some companies that are doing it right? We mentioned Dove. Yeah, some people criticized it because it’s still focusing on this external thing, which is beauty, [00:13:00] whereas, they could have maybe been focusing on building self-esteem, or getting people to get involved in something less superficial. For example, Toms shoes, I like the way that they do their marketing because it’s based on doing something good in the first place.

They wear their ethics and their beliefs on their sleeve. It’s a company that for every pair of shoes they sell they donate a pair of shoes to an underprivileged child in [00:13:30] Central America and I think other places, too. I think that’s really cool because people buy those shoes and they feel good about themselves. It’s not, “Your feet are ugly unless you wear our shoes.” It’s something bigger. I can’t say anything good about their manufacturing practices and I actually don’t feel qualified, because I don’t know, but Nike, I like their message, “Just do it.” It’s not about, “You’re inadequate, you need our shoes to feel cool,” [00:14:00] it’s more about, “You will be a champion or you will win the race if you work really hard for it and stay diligent and become the best athlete you can be.”

Mike: And Nike is just the shoe or the clothing is just a tool to help you get there. Yeah, I know what you mean. Think about it, we’re talking about them because of their marketing but we’re also including that information that their manufacturing processes are still shit. I think storytelling can get you talked about, empowerment marketing can get you talked about [00:14:30] but the message is still there and the people still have the power to talk about the negative things you’re doing. It’s like, yeah, you can shine a spotlight on something but is it good? That’s exactly what’s happening right now is we’re saying, “No, don’t buy Nike.” What do you say to companies that are still like, “Fear effects the bottom line. Poking at your fears or your insecurities or anything like that, it does sell more products. Why would I be motivated to empower people?”

Euvie: We already talked about [00:15:00] the idea that people are fighting back and they’re exposing companies who are doing shitty things or don’t have their ethics in the right place. They’re using Adblock Plus. On some websites, it’s like over 50 percent of people are using Adblock Plus, especially on tech websites. Tech savvy young people under 30 especially are using it. That’s obviously one reason, a bit more of a selfish reason if you’re a marketer, or company, or brand wanting to reach people. I think on a deeper level [00:15:30] that kind of disempowerment marketing is just affecting us as a society. It’s creating this society that’s drenched in fear and insecurities and all the things that come out of that, like vanity, people becoming really vain to mask their own insecurities because they feel ugly and small and not good enough. So, they wear a shit ton of makeup and get plastic surgery. From the outside, it looks like they’re confident and vain but, in reality, they just feel shitty [00:16:00] inside.

Mike: Yeah. I think it’s created a culture who seek to solve their problems with external solutions, it’s always external. It’s hard to go inside and be quiet and look inside yourself and try and find the solution to your own problems, or to accept yourself. It’s difficult to do that self-reflection. I think because of the training, because of the marketing messages for several decades, it’s easy for them to just look for the external solution and put a band-aid on it and take a pill for that. [00:16:30] It’s really too bad, because it has really reinforced the society that lives for now, doesn’t look at communities, and causes us to not take care of our groups.

Euvie: It encourages addictive behaviour, both with consumerism and with food and pleasure-seeking activities, gambling, all these things. All these industries are playing on people’s primal urges and reinforces this childish behaviour. If you advocate against that, people [00:17:00] just call you a monk. They’re like, “I want to enjoy myself. You can cut sugar out of your diet, go ahead, but I want my ice cream and donuts.”

Mike: How happy does that really make you? You have it and you feel worse usually.

Euvie: You’re like, “God, I’m such a fat pig.”

Mike: Exactly. These things never make you feel good.

Euvie: Yeah. It’s just that moment. I think, a lot of the time, people don’t really think about it, but it’s one moment of feeling good and then maybe a day of regret or [00:17:30] maybe even longer, it depends on what you’re doing. If you gamble away $50,000 in a night, it could be years to recover from that.

Mike: How fitting is this – we just came back from another meditation retreat this year. I guess we’re doing it annually now. This one was really interesting, too, Euvie and I got a lot of insights out of it. Again, the big thing is how much do you want to seek pleasure and pay for it tomorrow?

Euvie: Yeah. It’s not to say that you should just quit sex and quit drinking, [00:18:00] become a monk, sleep on a board for the rest of your life without a pillow – which, by the way, we had to do at the retreat, it was brutal – but what I’m saying is just do everything in moderation and be aware when you’re seeking stimulation to cover up some internal pain or anxiety or fix a problem with something external. It never works in the long run.

Mike: Exactly. Moderation is the big thing. This is going back to [00:18:30] looking inside rather than picking something externally. When people decide, “I’ve had enough, alcohol’s becoming a problem in my life,” they just cut everything. They just clear the table of everything. I don’t want to encourage drinking but you might miss out on opportunities to socialize with people who are in that environment. We’ve had a lot of business deals go through over drinks. It’s true. It’s social lubrication. There are ways in which living for today or living for the little bit of pleasure actually gives you more benefit. I think it’s just important [00:19:00] to know what you’re sacrificing to get that benefit and that you do things in moderation. You know when you’re over your limit.

Euvie: Yeah, having a glass of wine with dinner and then chilling out with your friends or talking about a business deal, it’s not going to hurt you in the long run. There’s actually research that came out – and I’m going to try to find a link for it, which will be in the show notes – that people who drink moderately, like a glass of wine with dinner a [00:19:30] couple times a week, have longer life expectancies than people who don’t drink at all. It seems that that little bit of drinking is actually beneficial to health.

Mike: Yeah, I would say there’s a lot of correlation to go along with that though.

Euvie: Yeah, it’s just correlation, it’s not causation. Either way, the numbers are there. Also, wine – I can’t say the same for beer – has been shown to have health benefits, like strengthening your heart and whatever else [00:20:00] they want to claim.

Mike: Make me dance better.

Euvie: Yeah, it does make you dance better.

Mike: Makes you sexier.

Euvie: Nice.

Mike: That was rude, I’m sorry about that. You’re totally sexy.

Euvie: Alright, back to marketing. What can companies do to connect to their audience? I’m going to answer the question myself. Actually, Gary Vaynerchuk talks about this a lot. [00:20:30] I think you got to be human. You need to talk to people like a human being, not like a faceless corporation. For example, in our podcast we swear because it’s a human thing. Sometimes you just need to swear for emphasis and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that in moderation. I got, not hate mail, but a comment once on Twitter I think about some guys that said, “Podcast is horrible because the [00:21:00] guest was swearing constantly.” I suspect that was the John Myers, Terry Lin episode.

Mike: You sons of bitches, swearing all the time.

Euvie: It’s like, it makes you human. If you talk about something that’s slightly controversial, brands are so afraid of talking about anything controversial because they have to keep up the corporate image, button up shirt all the way.

Mike: Yeah, they don’t want to offend anyone, that’s the big thing. When you got products on the line and a business on the line you don’t want to say anything that rocks the boat [00:21:30] too much. I think if you’re a brand and you’re making good money and you’re creating value in the world, you have an opportunity to do more with that little bit of money. It doesn’t even have to be much, just take a percentage and dedicate that to something that makes the world a better place. Tell those stories, it’s really easy. You can base all of your marketing around what you do for the world.

Euvie: It doesn’t even necessarily [00:22:00] have to be a charity, because a lot of brands do this, their corporate giving, they just give their one percent to charity and forget about it. I think it should be more involved. Brands that are starting their own… Not necessarily charity but world development projects, as I would call it. It’s not just a band-aid solution. Educating people or giving people opportunities or scholarships for students in the developing world, or something, [00:22:30] something that actually helps people become better. That feeds right back into the idea of empowerment marketing because you don’t want to just provide a band-aid solution for people or a miracle cure that will just make them feel good for today. You want to help them achieve their own life goals. It’s the same in your marketing and in your doing good for the world projects.

Mike: Yeah, I feel like it’s not even going to be a matter of companies deciding [00:23:00] that they want to do this out of the goodness of their collective hearts. I think it’s going to be no other option. I could be totally wrong about that. Again, this podcast is all about speculation. It just seems like the way people are talking about brands and the willingness to do a little bit of research to find reviews is increasing. We’re going to have to have that social proof, it’s going to be more and more important for our brand.

Euvie: Or, at the very least, clean up your act, stop doing [00:23:30] unethical stuff. Stop manufacturing your products using 13-year-old slave workers in the third-world, which, unfortunately, a lot of companies are still doing until they get exposed and then, suddenly, they’re like, “Okay, let’s divert attention to something else. Kim Kardashian over here, look at Kim Kardashian’s butt.”

Mike: Shiny keys, shiny keys, shiny keys. Yeah, it’s really funny the way they treat us actually, [00:24:00] on Twitter with their stupid little marketing campaigns, taking advantage of social events. I love how that backfires. What are some examples of backfiring Twitter campaigns?

Euvie: Oh my God. What was that airline that somebody tweeted…

Mike: Yeah.

Euvie: Oh my God, that’s my favourite one. Somebody tweeted a picture of a woman with her bottom half naked, shoving an airplane down her hoo-ha.

Mike: Her hoo-ha.

Euvie: [00:24:30] Vagina. A toy airplane. They tweeted this image at an airline and the airline accidentally retweeted it, because they messed up the link, they thought it was a link for their customer support or whatever – at least, that’s what they’re saying.

Mike: That was just an accident though. I think a better example would be My NYPD, or My LAPD, I forget which one.

Euvie: NYPD, yeah.

Mike: Was it? That was hilarious. [00:25:00] New York Police Department had this idea to stir up support for the police department, to create a hashtag campaign called My NYPD. They wanted people to send in pictures of them interacting in a friendly way or whatever with the police. Of course, people went the other direction. They were trolling and they found pictures of police brutality and them getting taken away in handcuffs. It was predominantly black people being arrested. It was just a complete disaster.

Euvie: [00:25:30] Social media disaster.

Mike: It’s hilarious. I checked it recently, actually. They’re still posting stuff to that. It’s just got a life of its own. Awesome. Really, if you are doing the wrong thing and then you want to draw attention to yourself, people will talk about it.

Euvie: Especially if people just have their motivations in the wrong place, they’re doing it to cover something up, or out of ego, or if they’re trying to distract people [00:26:00] with a viral campaign but they’re still doing unethical things behind the scenes, people are going to talk about it. It’s actually going to give them more ammunition to talk about it.

Mike: Exactly, yeah. Very true. People’s bullshit detection is excellent, again, to quote Gary V.

Euvie: Especially younger people who grew up with advertising, they’re very sensitive. I think baby boomers are… I don’t want to make a blanket statement but I think younger people are especially sensitive to ads.

Mike: Nobody owns a TV, [00:26:30] no one cares about cable. One of the biggest celebrities on the planet is a guy that sits in front of a computer and plays video games and comments on them. South Park just did an episode on Pewdiepie recently. Kids recognized Pewdiepie more than Beyoncé, more than any other celebrity.

Euvie: More than Barack Obama.

Mike: Yeah. He’s just a dude in his basement recording these videos, it’s great. Anyway, the final lesson here – what should brands be doing, what should [00:27:00] customers be doing? Let’s talk about the way to move forward on both sides.

Euvie: We already talked about this. Be more human, clean up your act, start doing things more ethically, start doing something good for the world, and talk about it. Don’t make yourself the hero of your story, make your customer the hero of the story. Get customers to send in stories, inspirational stories of them overcoming something or achieving something and tell those stories.

Mike: Unless you’re the New York Police Department, then don’t solicit stories.

Euvie: God. Then clean up your act.

Mike: [00:27:30] Yeah. Clean up your act first.

Euvie: Clean up your act first, yeah.

Mike: Yeah. You got to dig out of a hole, too. We’re in Thailand, so we don’t cook. We go out and we’re always deciding which restaurant we want to eat at. Every time we go out, I’m like, “Hey, we should go to KFC.” I’m joking because I don’t really want KFC but Euvie’s just so appalled at the idea of going to KFC that she physically reacts to it, it’s so funny. McDonalds, as well. This is after years and years of negative brand association. [00:28:00] You have actually no idea what’s on KFC’s menu or what’s on McDonald’s menu, you just know you’re turned off. McDonalds could have the healthiest salad menu you’ve ever seen and you won’t step foot in that place.

Euvie: Never.

Mike: Brands like that have a long way to go. If you’re a marketer and you’re aware of this kind of negative brand association that happens over time, when a brand screws up enough, you’ve got very little chance of actually changing your mind – and you’re aware of these tactics. The average person who knows nothing [00:28:30] about marketing is not going to be changing their mind anytime soon. Yeah, it’s an uphill battle if you’ve already got some negative brand association and so it should be. If you’re doing the wrong thing and you’ve been doing it for decades just for profit, profit before people, then yeah, you deserve for it be a bit of an uphill climb. You have to do it, you have to try. There are definitely ways to make it easier on yourself – just do the right thing. Do the right thing.

Euvie: Yeah. What about customers? I actually am a proponent [00:29:00] of Adblock. A lot of people in media production don’t advocate the use of Adblock, because that’s how they make their money and a lot of YouTubers make their money from ads. I think there are honestly better ways. I think there are different ways to monetize and people should be exploring different options.

Mike: It’s just that currently it’s a cash cow. Maybe not for everyone, but it’s a way to bring in money so they’re latching onto it an they want to protect it. I’m on the same page. I’ve got Adblock Plus installed. Because I’m a marketer, I do want it off [00:29:30] certain sites, because I want to know. I want to know what Facebook is advertising to me, for example. I know a lot of my friends on Facebook are marketers, so I want to see what they’re doing and I’m interested in that. For the most part, YouTube ads, God, they’re annoying.

Euvie: Yeah, it’s the worst.

Mike: Aren’t they annoying?

Euvie: Especially in Thailand, because they haven’t figured out their targeting properly. They’re loud, they’re obnoxious, in your face, and they’re in Thai. Of course, I don’t speak Thai, so they’re useless to me. Just look at my language preferences, [00:30:00] why don’t they target for that?

Mike: Yeah, it’s so simple. It’s just a button and they would save themselves so much money. So many Thai companies. You can imagine this is happening all over the world in all different countries, people are just not targeting the language. They think a blanket video is just going to work for everyone. I think context is super, super important. You’ve got to have your message in place, you’ve got to be telling your customer’s stories, you’ve got to be doing the right thing, and you’ve got to be thinking about the context [00:30:30] and the location that you’re advertising in.

Euvie: And who you’re targeting. It’s not spray and prey anymore. You have to understand who your customer cohort is. If it’s young, single mothers, then find out what they like, target it by interest, target it by age. If you can find out their marital status and whether they have children, then target just then. Speak to them in a way that speaks to them in a way that they understand and can relate to.

Mike: [00:31:00] If you’re a marketer listening to this, you might thing, “Yeah, duh, that’s obvious,” but if it were obvious to everyone, then we wouldn’t get more shitty, irrelevant ads than we do relevant ads. There would be no reason for me to have Adblock Plus up, because I love everything I’m getting. If the messaging and the context is right, I should want to see the ad. That’s the important thing is that we need to want to work with brands, we need to want to see their messages, because their messages help us, they make our lives better. This is [00:31:30] like the way it used to be where, yeah, we might have actually been looking for the advertisements, or we buy magazines to look for the advertisements. The messaging has to get more relevant and I think, on the customer side, maybe we have to give them a chance, I don’t really know. I don’t want to be advertised to.

Euvie: No. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t’ want to be advertised to either and I think that’s why companies have to produce good content that people actually want to share and people actually want to see. [00:32:00] Back to the Dove ad, so many people shared it because they thought it was inspirational. Why don’t companies make more stuff like that, that people actually look at it and it makes them feel happy and they want to share it, or maybe it’s just interesting, maybe it’s a tech company sponsoring a science show – they create their own science show where they talk about tech innovation. People will want to share that and then, at the end, it says, “This program was brought to you by whatever tech company.”

Mike: [00:32:30] Yeah, there’s so many ways you can make content to help and serve your customers. We come at this from so many different ways but you can make videos to answer your frequently asked questions. Easily, right off the bat, you have a list, maybe you have a frequently asked questions page. You can make a video for every single one and people are looking for those. If they’re asking a question, they want to see the video. Then you can also position yourself as an expert by making a list of the questions that you know they should be asking but they don’t know they should be asking. [00:33:00] What else, there’s so many different ways. Tell your brands story, tell your customers story. Seek to solve problems for your customers at all times. Always be solving problems. Not always be closing, always be solving.

It’s got to be emotionally impactful, right? We got hired a few months ago by a jewellery company to produce a brand story. Basically, he hired us to make a showcase basically start to finish of how the jewellery [00:33:30] is manufactured. With our experience and what we’re aiming to do in the world, we thought, “This is actually a really cool story.” After talking with the owner of [inaudible [0:33:39], we learned that he’s actually really passionate what he does about the stones, about the manufacturing process, about making everything ethically. We ended up just sitting on the couch having a couple of beers and recording – exactly the same way we do with these podcasts. We just asked him questions, “How do you feel about this? What are your goals here? [00:34:00] What do you love most about what you do?”

Euvie: “How did you come to be where you are now? What’s the story?”

Mike: We got the story out of him and it was a third-party thing. I don’t know that you can really do that yourself. He was in a conversation, so he was speaking to us naturally.

Euvie: Candidly.

Mike: Yeah, it was real. That’s how, I think, you make the best story. We did the voiceover and then that dictated exactly what the video was going to be. We had the voiceover and then we just fit in scenes to match with the voiceover. [00:34:30] There’s no shitty sales tactics or anything. Because it’s candid, because it’s human, I think it’s easy to accept. Since we’ve finished this video, he’s shown it to his friends and shown it to customers and potential partners and stuff. It started opening doors because he’s never had this kind of message before. People are seeing this video and just jumping at the chance to work with him, or they emotionally react. He’s shown this to a couple of dates even and he had them almost in tears watching this video. [00:35:00] That’s amazing. Imagine a brand that can do that for you, make you feel so good you’re on the verge of tears. It’s so powerful.

Euvie: We’ll leave you with a question of the day. What do you guys think brands could do to communicate better with their customers? Leave the answer in the comments below.

In the 20th century, with the rise of mass media came a time when companies could broadcast their marketing messages far and wide to millions of people. It didn’t matter if the message was relevant to each person, because as long as a small percentage of people bought the product, it was worth it. Companies also figured out that they could convince more people to buy their product by playing on people’s fears and insecurities. Inadequacy marketing was born.

In the digital age of today, things are changing fast. Many choose the internet over television or radio (for example, I haven’t had a TV network subscription for over 10 years), and tech-savvy internet users install Adblock Plus to get rid of ads. I have heard “experts” say that this will be the death of marketing as we know it, and I agree. Yes, I am saying this as someone who works in the marketing field. It’s time that companies became more human and started making their messages attention-worthy and share-worthy.

In this episode, Mike and I talk about the future of marketing, the end of the broadcast era, and the dawn of empowerment storytelling in the digital age.

In this episode of The Future Thinkers Podcast:

  • The oral tradition, the broadcast era, the digital age
  • Why people buy purpose
  • Authentic brand storytelling: what it is and what it isn’t
  • Disempowerment vs empowerment marketing
  • Looking inward instead of blaming external circumstances
  • Company ethics: cleaning up your act
  • Why companies should fund non-profit projects (and I don’t mean charities)
  • The importance of making relevant, interesting, and honest content

Mentions & resources

Mentioned & Recommended Books:

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