Is There Meaning in Your Marketing?

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In 1955 Edward Bernays, one of the forerunners of modern branding, wrote in his book ‘The engineering of consent’, that human desires and motivations rest in our subconscious.

In this Vlog, Grant explains what that means and how it relates to your marketing today.

Many of us hang on to family heirlooms. It could be a great grandmother’s ring that we’d never dream of wearing or some cheap cufflinks that belonged to a great grandfather or an old milk jug that we remember our mom or grandma using.

None of these things may be worth very much at all, but if we lost them, we’d be devastated. It’s because we don’t value things. We value their meaning.

This isn’t just true when it comes to family heirlooms. This is actually true in our lives. We don’t necessarily value the products or services that we’re going to buy, but what they’re going to do for us and what they mean for us.

Edward Bernays, in many ways, was one of the forerunners of modern branding and in his book in 1955 ‘The engineering of consent’, he made the point that human desires and motivations rest in our subconscious.

What that means is that if you can understand the desires and motivations that are linked to the products and services that you sell, you can make your marketing a lot more powerful by giving your communications that meaning.

For example, the HR consultant needs to understand that far from being really motivated for the HR services themselves, what someone really wants is the reassurance of knowing that they’re doing everything compliantly and right.

Similarly, the toothpaste manufacturer needs to understand that the subconscious motivation is knowing that I have the confidence that my breath will smell great. It’s not just important to understand the problems that your products or services solve or the benefits they offer, but also to be aware of the motivations they’re linked to, and in that way you can ensure that your communications are truly effective.

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  1. We value their meaning.

    Spot on Grant – again!

    Perhaps we should talk not of simple Messaging but of Meaningful Messaging. Just a thought

    1. Author

      Hi Chris,

      You are absolutely right, we must create meaningful messaging. It is important to understand that the meaning is emotional. The ‘feeling’ is vital.

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