When Brands Tap Into A Tension And Go Against Conventional Thinking To Help Solve It

Apple recently announced the introduction of a new software tool to help wean people off their devices, offering users a ‘digital detox’.

There’s a couple of things going on here that I like.

Firstly, Apple have taken an active approach in addressing a tension that has arisen in society around the impact of excessive use of devices and social media on wellbeing (which, in part, is their creation), and they have adopted a counter-intuitive approach in developing a way to address it. They have identified where something has gone awry with their user experience and tried to become part of a solution, instead of just ignoring the problem.

This got me thinking about business strategy and brands that have the courage to take something that initially might seem illogical and flip it into a strategy for success. When conventional thinking in business says we must focus all efforts to ‘increase market share, push user penetration and sales’, its smart brands that understand the power in really intimately getting to know the problems going on in their consumers world and gearing initiatives to help solve those problems and improve their lives (which has been proven to ultimately assist in driving growth as a result anyway).

Heineken is another example of a brand that took this counter-intuitive approach. Instead of maintaining a laser focus on increasing consumption, they developed a long-term brand initiative committed to tackling the misuse of alcohol and help make responsible, moderate consumption ‘aspirational’, which has driven campaign strategy and execution in the years to follow.

Or the idea of a supermarket chain offering an in-store health clinic where customers can see a dietitian for guidance on food choices for starting a weight loss program, providing patient-centered clinical nutrition counselling in the retail setting. An initiative already in play in the United States within the Kroger Co. supermarket chain.

As consumers, we place great value in brands that help us solve problems. Because when they do this, we feel empowered.

All brands can tap into consumer and society tensions and apply a counter-intuitive lens in developing initiatives that will create impact. In fact, when brands simply prescribe to conventional thinking or avoid becoming part of the solution to bigger issues, it’s a missed opportunity.

Written by Laura.

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