I had one of those gems of a taxi ride in Amman, Jordan.
I was going from the city’s largest mall to my hotel. The driver was a Jordanian who had spent time working in Spain. He spoke Arabic and Spanish, but very little English. My Spanish is negligible; my Arabic toddler-level.
We probably have utterly divergent life experiences and paths. And yet, we both enjoyed being in that moment, finding out a little bit about each other's lives, laughing as we tried to understand what each other was saying, trying to communicate by bolting together words from the various languages we know. And deliberate using funny words. Thus laughing. Lots of laughing.
It was 10 minutes of pure human interaction; for the sake of the interaction alone. There were no end-goals, no them vs us, no trying to change someone's opinion, or to prove a point, and no ego... It was great!
If markets are conversations and we clamour for authentic engagements with brands, is it possible to replicate my experience with a brand? Is it possible to create a 10min or 10s experience with a personality (a brand) that is purely about the simple unadulterated joy of engagement?
(Or have I just demeaned the moment by trying to bring marketing/branding into play?) This then begs a more fundamental question – is it possible for marketing/branding to really engage deeply and openly with our humanity? Or is the practice already steeped beyond salvation with lip-service and cynicism. And that a fundamental reinvention is required?
I think brand-based blogs (when done authentically), or blogs around a passionate topic that happens to involved brands, go some way towards addressing this…