Q&A: The Search for the Next Big Thing with Martin Lindstrom

Brands can be the next big thing by creating immersive experiences for their customers through building content and helpful tools. Personal interactions with their audience helps empower consumers to get more out of the products and services offered.



What strategies are reaching the masses today? 

It all comes down to empowerment. When brands empower prospects to make smarter purchases, and empower customers to get more value out of the products they purchase, it naturally creates meaningful conversations. People don’t simply want to be interruptive with slick ad campaigns. They want brands to help them remove friction and solve problems. That’s what leads to engagement and conversations. These conversations frequently happen online, but it’s important to remember the power of impassioned offline conversations as well. Great brands are built, not bought. They need to build great experiences. Once they do that successfully, they can invest in traditional marketing to build awareness and traffic. 

Who’s doing it the right way?

One of the best examples is Patagonia. They fight friction by defending the environment. It builds immersive experiences – website, documentaries, retail events – that educate the audience about how they can take small actions that will make a big difference. Yeti is also amazing. It has built a series of amazing videos that are truly inspiration. Each one is about eight minutes long, which is amazing given the typical digital ad exposure is only about 1.6 seconds.

Successful companies provide the critical emotional and rational information that prospects need at each step of the journey. The brand story grows and is optimized for each channel. It’s not the same message repeated over and over. As consumers interact with each touch point, they produce behavioral data that enables the brand to optimize their sales and marketing efforts. It helps them understand the psychographic profile of each prospect and identifying their unmet needs. It’s all about providing value. Successful brands empower prospects at every step of the journey.


Do buyers have all the control today?

Yes. It’s because brands are completely transparent. Thanks to the infinite amount of information available through search, social and mobile technology, buyers can see through exaggerated brand messages and can ignore clever jingles. Brands keep investing in interruptions and the audience keeps running away. Consumers want immersive content and tools that fight friction. They have the power to ignore traditional messages. 


How can brands flip the switch?

Successful brands are simply taking a portion of their paid media budget and applying it to owned and earned media. That means rather than buying ads, they are building content and tools that empower the audience. Personal interaction is everything. It enables us to pick up emotional data – “the chemistry” the aspirations” the “desires” and the “out of balances.” Each of these factors form the foundation for successful brands.


What are today’s consumers really looking for?

One of the things I point out in my book is how the community is dying. The reality is that we’ve migrated our social interactions online, and we rarely meet people in our day-to-day life. This is increasingly creating an out of balance in our lives – and thus a gap for a new brand or need. Most consumers are still not aware of this. They just somehow feel they’re missing something, that tactical interaction, the smells and sounds – the camaraderie – the kids playing on the street – the unlocked door. That trend – more than anything – will turn into something major very soon.


martin lindstromMartin Lindstrom has seen human tendencies close up and devoted countless hours to studying them. What he has discovered is that our desires manifest themselves in hundreds of ways each day, from the computer passwords we choose, to where we place refrigerator magnets, and the way in which we take selfies or use emojis. In his book, “Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends,” the bestselling author and noted branding expert reveals how these intricate pieces of information can decipher what reams of big data cannot – how unmet human desires can unlock the next brand breakthrough. The man who Time Magazine once listed as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World” has been called a modern day Sherlock Holmes. We sat down with him to get his take what today’s consumers are really looking for.

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