Monday, August 4, 2008

Love in the commercial world

There's love and then there's love. Love in the first kind is an emotion that transcends all other feelings, rational thought or personal barriers and gives itself wholly and uncontrollably over to another. In large part this kind of love is between two people or a person and their religion.

Then there's love...

Giving ones self over wholly to another, you could say, is pretty much what the commercial world is all about. All the advertising in the world, the press releases, the media stunts and the awards ceremonies, they're all there so that you as an individual can see, recognize, remember and want something or someone.

Giving yourself over to an idea is the essence of what a brand or organisation wants in this world. It's pretty simple, everything else - sales, repeat patronage, loyalty - will follow. Once you succumb to the idea, the rest just follows.

Kevin Roberts, worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi and the man behind the 'Lovemark', in a recent speech, outlined a fairly comprehensive list of instructions on how to find love in the modern world. Summarised, it's about big ideas; mystery, intimacy and alluring the senses; and making dreams a reality. This is really big picture stuff, and the more cynical out there might even say it's a bit Willy Wonka-ish. But, really, who wouldn't want a chocolate factory?

With technology closing the gap every day between what we can imagine and what is possible, the possibility of finding commercial love is becoming more of a reality for more organisations.

In the online world the social connections that companies want to make with their customers; organisations with their members and political parties with their voters; are becoming more and more easy to make. Websites, blogs, video-sharing, social networks and communities, are all tools that help us build commercial love.

In the physical world the technologies that let us create or replicate dreams are also within our reach. Audio and visual technologies are allowing us to step into dream worlds. Where once we had to push a button now we just say a name. Where once we had light and dark we now have all the colours of the spectrum. Searching is becoming obsolete because I already know what you want. Customisation is not an option, it is expected. Transactions are instant.

So that's pretty much what this blog is about. I'm on the hunt for what makes someone give themself over to an idea. It's not love in the first sense because we have to admit that this love is transient, it is replaceable and it is not physical. It's commercial love, a second more commoditised version of love. I'm going to call it, love number two.

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