The next time you come to an ad break (assuming you don't then go to the toilet, try to reach the next level of Candy Crush on your smartphone or just fast forward through the ads) try watching the various messages through a filter. Ask yourself, is this brand trying to add value to my life?
Advertisers' brands are obviously all at different levels of maturity and there are some for whom awareness is still the only objective. For those more well known brands, which of them are just selling us stuff, which are trying to wow us with glitzy creatives and which are at least trying to demonstrate that they represent more than just their products?
My favourite ad at the moment here in the UK is being run by one of those mature brands - Barclays Bank - who have endured a fairly torrid time in the past five years and who are going through a revamp of their business. Check it out here.
What does getting older people comfortable with using Skype have to do with banking, you might ask. Well, aside from the fact that - like most things - the future of banking is online and the older generation may not be as comfortable with that as you or I may be, I would argue that it doesn't matter. It makes the viewer feel good. It's why - despite being inundated with countless confusing letters and new passwords as Barclays have taken over ING - I personally feel good about Barclays at the moment. I would also argue that this positioning should be the future ambition of all brands.
We see more and more products as simple commodities, always to be traded based on price. If brands are to be considered on other values such as customer service, value-for-money or just simply making customers proud of being associated with your brand then the hard work starts now. Find out what matters to your customers and help them get there. It will matter less and less whether you are a bank, an automotive producer or a soft drink. Just start making people feel good.