My friend Lindsay Mask, Founder of Ladies America, sent along an interesting HBR "Daily Stat" article to me, which came from a paper entitled "Can Our Favorite Products Provide Emotional Support?" The study showed people making positive emotional attachments to a new sparkling water brand that they consumed while watching a horror movie. This is very intriguing although I would caution that it may be a risky proposition to try to emulate in a real-life marketing campaign.
However, when a brand is expressed correctly, it takes on manifestations of a real-life character. I often say, to drill down to what a brand is about is to ask, "What do people think about when they think about X?" ("X" being the brand in question). So in this case, because the brand has a "personality" it makes some sense that one might positively attach oneself to a "person" that one went through an ordeal with. One may derive comfort and trust from the "shared" suffering. Just don't give your Pellegrino its own seat at your support group; that would be weird.
The biggest problem with the tech giants is not their monopolistic control of the market, it is their unrestrained and growing control of Americans’ behavior. The power that the large social media companies wield over our lives and the level to which they are controlling us is frightening.
Imagine if we used our current experience to reinvent schools and redesign cities. If we had a mixture of learning online with “playing” on-site; if we gave less real estate to our cars and more to housing. The beauty about going through such a time of fracture is that the opportunity cost for deploying bold ideas seems low.
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