Mr. Brand was going on a trip. It was a normal day for Marcos. He had arrived at the airport on time, knowing that he lacked things to catch up. Calls, emails, messages, readings, Marcos was aware that to catch up he needed more time, longer hours, 247-hour days. Sitting on the plane seat, I looked out the window at the Rolls Royce engines of the Air Europa Boeing 787 Dreamliner. His secretary sent him good news, the month was closing over budget, it was confirmed by WhatsApp, a platform owned by Facebook. Simultaneously he read some emails on his iPhone X browsing thanks to Vodafone 4G. Once he caught up (although he wondered if it was possible in this era to ever catch up on something…) he took off his Nike zoom shoes and also his Primark jeans to wear, like pajamas, a Cedar Wood State joggers. He drank his glass of Codorniú Brut Nature cava and put his passport in his Samsonite travel briefcase. The brands were everywhere. Everything was brand.
The engines began to rev. Through the same window, he watched an Iberia Airbus 340 accelerate. His flight was the next one in take-off order according to the control tower of the largest airport terminal in Spain designed by the architecture studios of the Spanish Antonio Lamela and the British Richard Rogers. The destination was Lima, Peru. To the right of Marcos, terminal 4 of the Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas Airport, all that together. An attentive hostess offered him a glass containing a “de-tox” juice in the words of the same hostess. “I don’t know what it brings, but they say it’s good.” The trends, even if they are not understood, do apply. In the magazine for sale on board two Rotary clocks on the cover. On page 1 of the menu, chef Martin Berasategui. On the wine list a Desliz (Rioja, Crianza 2013) and an Isola (Vino de tierra de Castilla, 2016). Everything is brand.
His neighbor in the seat is wearing Buffalo socks and has a movie on his screen even though he looks curiously at the remote control that looks like it was copied from the Xbox. And he has the newspaper La Vanguardia in his bedroom, Marcos assumed that he had it so as not to miss the news of the conflict in Catalonia or Catalunya or Catalonia, it all depends on who says it.
Once cruising height is reached, Marcos gets ready to work for a while. His fingers avidly type the MacBook Pro his company gave him and as he writes he mentally reviews, “How many brands will I have mentioned in less than fifteen minutes?” As he rummages through his memory for the answer, his brain reminds him that at this point in the trip he did not even mention the brand of his underwear, Calvin Klein, the brand of his headphones, Beats, or the perfume that he wore at Madrid Duty Free (well, it was a Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue and Gucci Guilty cocktail). Nor did he list the brand of his backpack, Jansport, or his carry-on, Johnny Travel, or The North Face coat with which he always travels.
“Already on,” Marcos said to himself, “I’m going to take the mental exercise a few hours back.” It was proposed to add the beginning of the day to the list. Her Casio alarm clock, her Oral B toothbrush, her Colgate Total toothpaste, her Axe Twist deodorant, her Lipton tea with Hermesetas sweetener. There were so many etceteras that he decided to jump directly to his trip in his BMW 1 series to Madrid, listening to Ondacero and Rock FM. the passage through the office, after disconnecting the Prosegur alarm, taking the package that Amazon had brought him with the Pokémon card game, and the request for a Cabify to go to the airport. As the car came to pick him up, he washed his hands with Nuky soap and then took Lanjarón still water. The Cabify was arriving. Real Madrid faced Unión Deportiva Las Palmas, the driver offered him Cabify water and asked him “if everything was okay, if he was comfortable.” Service is service, Marcos thought as he saw that the illuminated digital panel of the Hyundai i40 read SER and asked him to turn up the volume to listen to the LaLiga game. Cristiano Ronaldo, Zidane, Benzema, Asensio, dressed by Adidas, traveling in Emirates, mobilizing in Audi, taking care of their skin with Nivea, using Microsoft technology and refreshing with Mahou, brands and more brands.
“Will it ever be possible to keep up with this digital age?”Marcos wondered again when he saw how his mailbox and his WhatsApp groups did not stop growing. Ten years ago there were no brands that today are an indivisible part of our uses and customs: Airbnb, Instagram, Snapchat, Uber, Bitcoin, Alexa, Tinder, iPad, Kickstarter, Pinterest, App Store, Angry Birds, Google Chrome, WhatsApp, Slack, Siri, Lyft, Venmo, Candy Crush, Stripe Square, Apple Watch, FB Messenger. Everything that happens with these new brands takes us back to the beginning of the 20th century when large companies rethought their relationship with consumers. The world witnessed how some manufacturers, like Ford, went from meeting consumer needs to creating consumer demand. Today it is also time to rethink, reinvent, and assume responsibly the space of leading cultural transformation.
Upon arriving at terminal 1, he showed his passport from Spain that he had renewed at the National Police to the lady at check-in. Then he put it in his Jansport backpack. He crossed the security arches, but due to his nerves he could not recognize the brand of the manufacturer of the same, and the Prosegur guards hardly noticed his presence, and his nerves. Then he quickened his pace, fixing his gaze on Hugo Boss’s store, then on the packed Starbuck’s, Madrid Duty Free, a Burger King, and on a store that is about to open and will be called Camila’s. He exchanged some currency in Global Exchange, he did not need to use the vending machines that offered m & m’s, Coca Cola and other drinks. He was surprised by the number of people milling around the tower with plugs to (re) charge smartphones, Samsung, HTC, iPhone, Huawei. He entered the Cibeles VIP room and picked up several newspapers, El Mundo, The New York Times and Marca. He went over to the Nespresso and helped himself to a good ristretto. He took the opportunity to keep a water, without gas, Monte Pinos. On television, LG watched Channel 24 hours of TVE. They were showing a program on parliamentary activity; Marcos was the only one in the whole room who saw him. The acronyms of the parties, PP, PSOE, Ciudadanos, Podemos, did not connect too much with the people either. Some young men with brisk steps and glasses Hawkers, Oakley and Arnette passed in front of the television, but they were not going to see the program, they were just passing, both ways. It was approaching midnight on his digital Swatch, but young people wear glasses, sunglasses. A lady does not leave her Michael Kors bag, and another teenager is on FaceTime with her iPad mini,
In this world, brands have gone from quality functional signifiers to philosophical-social-mythical concepts that help many consumers to self-actualize (Maslow always comes back). Consumers are increasingly demanding that brands have not only functional benefits but also purpose and social commitment. We are linked to brands because brands speak of the highest human values associated with such self-realization. That is why we are more attached to some brands than others.
The previous week Marcos had attended a meeting with a multinational that is developing a project that would require their products. He went up to the office in an Otis elevator, the doors were Guardian glass and the furniture from La Maison du Monde and Ikea. At the reception the girls wore Mango casual wear. For the presentation they used the Sony Vaio pc in the room connected to the BenQ projector. At the meeting, a man wearing an El Ganso shirt, a young woman who was dressed as Zara, another dressed as Emidio Tucci, and another young woman who clearly wore Desigual. After the meeting, in the parking lot he paid with his corporate Mastercard and on the back of the payment receipt an advertisement inviting him to try the dishes of the El Pescador restaurant. He got into his BMW and activated Google maps and the GPS on his iPhone took him through Madrid to the DeMaría restaurant where he would eat with some friends and they would toast with a wine, made from Malbec grapes, called Del fin del mundo, and they would talk about blockchain, sillicon valley, start ups, Netflix and Amazon series, the renewal of Leo Messi with Barça and of course Puigdemont and Rajoy. The pancakes filled with dulce de leche Mardel were exquisite and the coffees, Nespresso, were always correct. The shots were a mix of Ruavieja and Zoco. The pancakes filled with dulce de leche Mardel were exquisite and the coffees, Nespresso, were always correct. The shots were a mix of Ruavieja and Zoco. The pancakes filled with dulce de leche Mardel were exquisite and the coffees, Nespresso, were always correct. The shots were a mix of Ruavieja and Zoco.
Brands shape our relationship with the world. There is a new dimension to pay attention to: if people are not important to brands, then those brands will not be important to people. The world would still exist without brands but it would be completely flat, boring, gray. Free markets are only possible through competition and competition is only possible if there is a difference between the products. The society we live in is based on brands. We buy things and spend our money based on our trust in brands. Brands help us define our identity and allow us to belong to something bigger than the individual, the group.
Returning to the flight.
The Dreamliner has already crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and is closer to the Pacific. Marcos fell asleep watching Twentieth Century Fox’s “War for the Planet of the Apes.” He had previously seen “Big Little Lies” produced by HBO and winner of eight of the Emmy Awards of the year. Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, brands, brands, brands.
Marcos is less than two hours from landing in Lima. They bring him a tray with breakfast, a crushed croissant, a Remy Picot butter, an omelette, a bottle of La Española oil and another of Coosur vinegar, the orange juice is Don Simón. Consumers interact with brands at very low levels of attention, they buy and are not particularly loyal, and they have neither the time nor the energy to deconstruct a complicated existential, environmental, business view of a brand.
While they were crossing the Amazon, the BMW X3 of his wife, Marga, is having Michelin tires changed in order to pass the ITV. They will also do an oil change with Cepsa products. While having breakfast he watches a documentary produced by National Geographic and General Electric, it is called “Breakthrough, more than humans” and it is directed by and starring Paul Giamatti, from Billions. It is much better than I expected and he takes out his Lamy pen to take notes on the reflections of the interviewees. The content is very reminiscent of the lyrics you recently read in “HumanOffOn. Is the internet changing us as human beings? From the Deusto label of Editorial Planeta.
In his backpack an Axe Apollo deodorant, a Lacoste perfume, two Massimo Dutti shirts, a Hermès tie and five T-shirts from Nike, Banana Republic, H&M and Domyos. His mind comes and goes as he thinks of the brands that surround him, they define us. Think of the Lego to build that he bought for his son, the Santillana books with which he was studying history and science with his daughter, the notifications of LinkedIn that do not stop and the Japanese restaurant Naomi where he ate before going to the airport . In the Asahi that was drank, instead of the Kirin or the Sapporo and in the dessert chocolate Dorayakis that reminded his children of Doráemon.
“We mistakenly believe”, reflected Marcos, “that everything is the same as yesterday, but the truth is that it is not. Brands have an increasingly powerful presence and influence on our behavior. Let’s think of a brand like Facebook or Twitter or Google They can influence public opinion, elections or the decisions of a parliament. Let’s think about how a brand like Netflix has transformed what free time meant, conversations, content consumption. Let’s think about this Boeing 787 Dreamliner that pollutes Less consumes less and takes aviation efficiency to the next level Think of how sacred cows like Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey who were everything in the world of big and small screens have fallen under their own weight.Let’s think about everything we have learned about the Constitution in recent months, let’s think about Donald Trump and the strength of a brand that leaves no one indifferent. “Marcos confirmed that so many hours of flight sometimes made him more lucid.
They are minutes from landing in Peru, then the mini tour will take them to Mexico and Colombia, all in 7 days, and Marcos continued with his thoughts, “these are fast times, in which efficiency, many times, is eaten at the time of observation, reflection and discovery. Today we have to do everything quickly, and well. Typical contradictions of this accelerated, anxious and wobbly time between how extraordinary and how depressing it is for many. ” The lights of El Callao can already be seen through the window, as well as the Inca Kola, Movistar and Entel posters, brands are everywhere, because everything is brand.
What awaits us in the future in the relationship between brands and people? A new space for relationship, emotion and hope. The 21st century consumer will ‘evolve’ to consume brands in a different way than their parents. It will become ‘post-commercial’, attracted by meaningful, symbolic and value-oriented brands, many of them shared.
Returning to love is actually much of the challenge with the consumer who today completely ignores a brand that believes they are in a purely commercial relationship and not deep and meaningful. Living in a world without brands is living in a gray world where everything is the same, it would be like living in a world without challenges, without motivation, without innovation, without meaningful relationships, without commitments.
As the plane touches the ground, he breathes a sigh of relief, grabs his iPhone to connect to WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram, mail, Instagram, the weather app, emails, newspaper apps, all at the same time and asks himself again: Is it possible to ever be up to date in this era in which everything is instantaneous, distances do not exist and our relationship with the world is through brands? “Good question,” Marcos said to himself, as the flight attendant woke him up from his more than 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep at 33,000 feet. The flight was over.