As I sit in my Ola for the long journey from Bandra to Kandivili, it was encouraging to see that my Google Maps disclosed I was only 1h 45m away from my location. This was great time in peak rush hour traffic. As the navigation told the driver to turn right, he started going straight where the entire road was blood red and packed with traffic, but when I told him, he rubbished it and was sure it would be empty. We went straight, it was packed, and I ended up taking, what I dreaded, 2h 30min. This sparked a thought as to why the driver wanted to apply his mind, when there was a technology guiding the way.
Technology, digitization, and ‘smart’ everything has bored our minds. We want to use them, but there is nothing to use them on because everything you could imagine from watches to toilets have become ‘smarter’. Which can be read as intuitive. Which can be read as ‘no need to use your brains’. This has been great for the evolution of human kind, but maybe not for the human mind. The human mind needs to think to survive, and if advancements have restricted its need to think, it will start to think about things which are less important leading to a problem of over thinking each situation. There is no proof that this could be the reason behind the rising divorce rates and suicides, but it could be because maybe their mind started to think of less important things and made them bigger issues than they were.
Bringing it back from the rather grim ending to the last paragraph, this ‘smart’ era has given a particularly large boost to the marketing industry, and not for only the obvious reasons. While not everyone is getting divorced or contemplating suicide, we still need something to apply their mind to, such as my driver aspiring to out-smart Google Maps. Consumers have started getting very choosy about the products and services they use, they have information at their fingertips, and people to talk to about before making a decision. Add to this to the rapid increase in competition across every industry, and it’s clear to see how the marketing industry would great profit from this change in consumer minds.
It’s easy to see the change in action. If anyone one from today’s generation goes and browses across hundreds of styles and brands to get a pair of socks on their phones, our grandparents would be quick to interject with ‘we never had time for such things’. What they mean is they never had time to think because their minds were busy doing things our ‘smart’ things do for us today. It wasn’t only the monopolistic/oligopolistic industries that transformed into strong competitive markets, it was also the death of a monopolistic attitude, where once a consumer likes a product, dare call it a brand, he/she stuck to it because there was no mind space to reassess a new one.
So maybe consumers only want some reasons to apply their mind, discover a new outlook on life, or just have something to think about is the key to marketing in today’s generation. This could be the reason that some of the most applauded campaigns are the ones that make people think and sparked a thought. Maybe consumers get excited when a brand actually makes them apply their mind as our regular life has certainly reduced its need. As technology advances, we better find some better ways to get consumers to think, as they will start craving for it even more going forward.
Aniruddha Bhagwat is a Co-Founder & Director of Ideosphere Group. He completed his MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communications (SIMC), Pune after 12 years in Michigan, USA. Post his MBA, he joined Good Relations India, one of the oldest PR & Communication companies in India, as an Account Manager. He has been awarded with the Young PR Professional of the Year by the Indian PR & Corporate Communications Awards 2014 by exchange4media. He has also been a part of the jury for DMA Asia CreateEffect Awards in 2016. He was also listed in PRMoment Top 30 under 30 list in 2017 and Impact Top 30 Under 30 of Indian Media & Advertising in 2016.