Seth Godin: “We’ve Branded Ourselves to Death”


This just in from the IAB’s MIXX event in New York City today, where Seth Godin gave the keynote and fired up the crowd with this comment: “There is too much clutter … because we’ve branded ourselves to death.”

Godin’s beef: Savvy consumers are over-saturated with the glut of brand advertising and “no longer want to be spammed with information about a product, service, or experience; they want to feel a connection to it,” as Emily Molitor reports.

The key takeaway: “People need a reason to purchase, to be part of something bigger, to join a tribe.” Godin has been banging the “brands must have tribes” drum for a while; see the 2009 video above. His latest examples?[more]

Nike: People always had running shoes, but Nike created a tribe of runners who are proud to wear a swoosh because of what “Nike” represents to athletes driven to achieve glory.
The Beatles: Teenagers already were a tribe, but needed leadership. The band capitalized on the opportunity to build loyalty with a pre-existing group seeking a champion for their message.
Zappos: The now-Amazon owned e-tailer doesn’t just sell shoes — it sells an experience that customers appreciate and want to share. It’s not about the shoes, it’s about the principle of service.”

Godin continued, “Ideas that spread, win.” Using his iPhone as illustration, “No one bought this phone because it’s a good phone. Everyone got it because it’s a badge that you’re on this team, not that team. Marketing management is now tribal leadership. It needs to be renamed, re-measured.”

The job of CMO today, added Godin, should stand for “chief movement officer” and not chief marketing officer. In short: don’t market — inspire, lead, tap into your brand’s passions and you’ll tap into consumers’ passions and build a small and committed following that will scale through word-of-mouth. Agree?


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