Four doors, man opening one to view of sky and clouds

Credit: Printing Impressions

As marketing executives and brand counselors, it’s our job to create strategic messages and then communicate them to consumers to help sell more of a certain product or service.  It involves a complex process and is often very difficult to do effectively.

But why should it be?  Being a consumer certainly isn’t a simple or easily role to assume.

At least not in today’s world.  In fact, it’s actually pretty damn tough.

The Economist of January 15, 2011 reports that the average supermarket in Western countries stocks some 30,000 items and America’s patent and trademark office issues 200,000 patents a year.  That’s a lot of marketing executives and brand counselors trying to communicate messages and sell more stuff.  In turn, that’s a boatload of purchase decisions consumers have to wrestle with everyday – from where to buy a car to which model to buy to what type kind of gas to put into that car to the brand of air freshener to rock on the rearview mirror to make it smell minty fresh.

Try counting them in that sentence alone – if you get less than 100 you need to stop fast forwarding through commercials.

And now, on top of that we’re asking them to not only buy our brands, but to help build them as well.  Whether it’s Converse asking their 2.7 million fans to “like” them or Doritos imploring consumers to craft their TV ads, it’s a lot of responsibility for a group who already has their hands full as targets for savvy marketers whenever they venture out to buy frozen pizza, beer or cheese doodles.

Over the past several years, brand executives have ratcheted up their attempts to create emotional bonds with buyers by providing them with proverbial tests drives to the company car via social and digital media.  At its core, it’s an invitation to the boardroom, a dog in the fight and a reason to care.

And consumers love it.

From Old Spice receiving more than 28 MILLION views of their recent commercial triumph to Taylor client partner 3 Musketeers interacting with 283,000 Facebook users, consumers have stepped up to the plate showcasing astounding engagement levels and a desire to hang out with like-minded people in these new virtual watering holes.  They’ve rewarded openness and embraced transparency in their daily routines while realizing how nice it is to interact with brands so reliable that they have to make one less decision while they’re out.  When it’s done right, it’s a beautiful partnership and a justification of the work we do everyday.

So my new goal is to embrace the occasional difficult brainstorm and press release that gets edited seven times before it hits the wire.  Because this job isn’t easy – and it shouldn’t be because we have the weighty responsibility of and opportunity to alleviate at least one more decision for consumers today.  And Lord knows they have it tough enough already.