Yesterday, I was re-playing the surreal Assassin’s Creed , a RPG in which the central character’s movement is based upon the principles of Parkour.
What’s that? A traceur, or practioner from Parkour North America breaks it down:
“Parkour is an activity with the aim of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body. In a lot of ways, parkour is a means of reclaiming what it means to be a human being. It teaches us to move using the natural methods that we should have learned from infancy. It teaches us to touch the world and interact with it, instead of being sheltered by it.”
It got me thinking…don’t brands aspire to the same skillset? They seek integration into the consumer’s life- always looking to dodge competition, scurry into the consumer’s imagination, and seamlessly navigate the dynamic environment that is the consumer’s mind.
Brands do want in, certainly, but it might work both ways. Gen Y consumers may actually be calling out to their preferred brands, as per this week’s AdAge:
“Talk of restricting behavioral-targeting practices is heavy in the air these days. But what if Generation Y — the first demographic to grow up totally immersed in the digital life — actually wants to be behaviorally targeted by marketers? Forrester Research’s Emily Riley made a strong case for this idea. She even suggests the creation of a web portal that would enable Gen Y-ers to post their wants in an organized manner — so appropriate marketers could more efficiently respond to them.”
Social networking is accelerating this trend. Facebook recently recalibrated its marketing machine; brand pages will now move from segregated areas of Facebook to within users’ social graphs, giving the brands greater conspicuity and continuous consumer interaction.
While this may leave sinister brandcrafters rubbing their palms in anticipation, it would do them good to remember another principle of Parkour:
“Because individual movements could vary so greatly by the situation, it is better to consider Parkour as defined by the intention instead of the movements themselves. If the intention is to get somewhere using the most effective movements with the least loss of momentum, then it could be considered Parkour.”
Ah, the heart of the matter, brand intent. Increased exposure combined with insider consumer information has endowed brands with sizable power. How they wield this power will make all the difference to their long-run viability. If the brand intent is driven by customer value-creation and backed up by momentum-conserving campaigns that choose clarity over loudness, that’s true Brand Parkour- an art that strengthens brand identity, customer loyalty, and all the rewards that go along with them.
Brand Parkour- sign up for your first lesson today!