Imagine a world with no advertising. A world with no brands, radio jingles, television adverts, slogans, billboards or PR stunts. Imagine a blank Time Square, a bare tube station and an unbranded high street. No snowmen from John Lewis, no motivational slogans from Nike and no iconic Apple logos.
Reasons to purchase would become largely influenced by reviews, recommendations and word of mouth. Without the ability to influence audiences through marketing activity, loyalty would come out of positive experiences with companies, services and products. A good thing, you might say, for the consumer, but relationships between brands and end users could also become less emotional. With no strong messaging and no brand story, it’d be more difficult to build that connection which runs deeper than the sale. Our knowledge and understanding of the things that we buy would be based on our own interactions or other people’s interactions with them, and as a result, buying behavior would be largely driven by need rather than desire. Businesses would be under greater pressure to produce quality goods, which in turn could mean the money we do spend is spent more wisely. In addition it would be a case of ‘survival of the fittest,’ where weak products and services get phased out of the market, leaving us with only the best products and services to choose from. Again, we might think of this as a positive, but product choice could become limited and competition – which motivates product and service improvement could be reduced. As such, we might get what we believe to be a great product but only because we don’t know what else is out there.
Cost of Content & Communities
Content would come at a cost and, with no advertisers to invest in social platforms, newspapers and magazines, some may not be able to afford to run. Internet conversation and communities would be fewer and more expensive. Choice of content would be more limited, and you might not get any free news at all. If a variety of publications couldn’t afford to run we could also be in danger of being exposed to only one mindset and one voice. Again, a ban on advertising and branding could really impact the quality of content. The survival of publications and social channels would be dependent on the quality of their output. If publications and social channels depended on public payment, there would be great pressure to produce useful content rather than content for content’s sake. Social channels would be under pressure to provide a great experience and the content that would get shared could become meaningful and important because there’d be less of it.
There would be no marketers or advertisers, no creative agencies or in house Marketing Managers. No Creative Directors, Social Strategists and Brand Guardians. An entire industry would cease to exist. The writers and designers of the world might become novelists, musicians and artists. They would be the product designers, the story tellers and the reporters. There wouldn’t be the need to think up great logos, brand names, brand values and create promotional activity because everything would look the same.
Why we need advertising
Without branding and advertising, how would we promote the latest innovations, fashion, music and sports that make up our cultures? How would we differentiate products and run promotions? When we look at countries where advertising and PR are deemed negative, we have to ask – would the world really be a better place without all the noise? Can you imagine living somewhere like Cuba where the majority of communications you receive are Government led? Wouldn’t a world without our favourite brands and adverts limit our knowledge, stunt economic growth and be less stimulating? While a world without advertising might bring us less noise, fewer interruptions and less temptation, it would also become less interesting and less inspirational. Brands and adverts do more than just sell – they inspire and motivate. When you think of the world’s most successful brands they stand for much more than the products that you purchase. They give people something to believe in – perhaps something to aim for – and people buy into the story and meaning behind those brands because they aid their lives or motivate them in some way. Apple don’t just sell iPads and iPhones – they sell innovation. Nike doesn’t just sell sporting goods – they sell an active lifestyle. And Google is more than a search engine – it’s synonymous with knowledge. Rightly or wrongly, brands and adverts have the power to make people feel good about themselves, their lives and the purchases that they make. They drive economic growth and raise awareness of the great innovations, products and services out there for people to own, explore and experience. They allow businesses and consumers to see the possibilities, and as much as they may drive the desire to purchase, they can help to guide us to make the right purchase decisions. Whether you love it or you hate it, would you rather the world look like this…
when brands can give you this…
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