How can brands attract the postmodern consumer?

It is chaos out there, to put it lightly.

A key idea behind postmodernism is that consumerism is king. An incessant choice is behind every purchase and we are constantly bombarded by the messages of companies trying to convince us to spend money.

There is a lot of noise in today’s world, most of which is broadcasted by the same brands we buy into day after day. It is becoming increasingly harder for them to stand out from the crowd.

The main challenge facing your average marketing manager is how they can tap into the postmodern consumer’s mindset. This has been an active challenge for some years now, but the solutions presented so far have had varying degrees of success.

Essentially, it comes down to this: how do marketing professionals make a brand’s product or service resonate with the target market they have identified?

The answer is one that is simple on paper, but complex in execution.

It’s this idea of the ‘brand narrative’, the story your brand promises to tell, that’s more important today than ever before. The problem? Consumers can smell a false brand narrative a mile away.

An authentic brand narrative plays into the postmodern idea that people are free to have choices and make decisions between brands. These are more personal and meaningful, speaking to them in a tone they understand.

But a narrative that comes across as forced, flimsy and argumentative will undoubtedly do more harm than good.

To make things even more challenging, the postmodern consumer doesn’t like being sold to outright. People are very aware of the ‘selling’ aspect that brands can sometimes be tempted to cash in on.

Just ask PepsiCo’s marketing folks how they feel about brand narratives, having had to claw back their pseudo street protest advert due to the insensitive overtones it generated.

Authenticity is vital, in my opinion. Creating a story that is shallow in order to generate a quick sale can and will be found out and exposed.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your brand is – if you lie about your true intentions from the very beginning, the relationship is doomed to fail. Postmodern consumers are too well informed to be insulted with cheap messages and phoney aspirations.

Of course, brands are free to ignore all this mumbo jumbo and begin to engage other brands in a price war, a race to the bottom, so to speak.

To add value to your brand, you need to be engaging your consumers in this postmodern world. It’s important for a brand to project a feeling, a response, an interaction that they can benefit from, rather than a traditional, emotionless purchase.

Written by Mike Swan, managing director at RealEdge