Ad exec’s buttom line: Just be relevant

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All right, marketing aficionados. It’s time to debate the column Young & Laramore President Tom Denari wrote in the March 21 edition of Advertising Age.

Denari Denari

Denari makes the case that firms often think people actually care about their brands. They think the task is “simply to convince people that we’re better than our competitors.”

But the executive of the Indianapolis ad agency argues such details are lost on most people “who don’t have the time or energy for the kind of analysis we expect them to perform.”

Lots of details, he says, could have the unintended effect of inhibiting people from connecting with a product.

“As sad as it sounds, we’re more likely to choose an insurance company based on a TV ad we remember than by reviewing their A.M. Best ratings,” wrote Denari.

He suggests that, rather than proving their products are better than those of competitors, companies need to prove they’re “culturally relevant.”

Denari doesn’t define cultural relevance, per se, but points to brands like Nike, Apple and Starbucks. They all put a proverbial stake in the ground and stood for something, he said, “which can rub some people the wrong way.”

Among more contemporary examples, he points to Nest, a high-style, high-tech thermostat. While doing the same job as other thermostats, the product has proven to be “a fun, almost game like-toy. I might not want a better thermostat, but I do want a Nest,” he writes.

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