Consumers Have ADD ‘Cause Brands Have CDD (Connection Deficit Disorder)
No one wants to die. And if you’re not growing you’re dying. This revolution, like the ones before it, is a precursor to evolution. A primordial mechanism of self preservation and the innate desire for man to morph into creator and manifest destiny.
This evolution just happens to coincide with a global awakening.
Humanity is recalibrating. Full stop. We’re in an exponentially protracting/dilating simmering cauldron of consciousness that’s led to a collective nervous breakdown, including amongst brands. They’ve somehow morphed into the frustrated parents of a teenage girl whose oscillating moods has them reeling and suffering an identity crisis– reacting to every face, every comment every outburst. Trying to connect to intuit, by rocking the clothes and the lingo and falling desperately short. Protesting like parents and brands before them, that “this generation” is different and they don’t get them, they stomp off in frustration and post rants on Facebook supported by photographic evidence that all their kid does is sit in front of some sort of a screen , missing the considerable irony.
The overabundance of information, opinions, 24 hour news cycles and all forms of entertainment on tap that assault our senses, has forced us to weed out. Curation of our content and ultimately our lives has become our own personal sifting tool.
When the brain is overwhelmed by too many choices too much information and faux-formation, it cedes power and acquiesces to the heart, which instead searches for an emotional charge. Human beings are wired for connection and psychologists attest to the fact that most anxiety and existential panic is the result of separation from or connection to something meaningful—something bigger. We curate spending habits, via time or money to our moods. Whether they’re our current one, the ones we aspire to be in, it’s the need for connection that’s the impetus.
While brands frenetically attemping to decode and decipher Millennials (who are getting older by the minute by the way, so brace yourself for the i-generation) is what’s leading to the identity crisis of brands.
In addition to a 39 year old narcissistic, arguably mentally unstable, hip hop genius, who is also a designer, the most rousing devotion from Millennials has been to a 75 year old socialist Jewish curmudgeon from Brooklyn. So I think you can safely blow up your charts and graphs now.
Millennials have connected with their realness and devotion to who they are and their message resonates, because it’s clear. Flawed and authentic, but clear. Although the internet is a homogeneous vehicle and the great equalizer, it’s also been the greatest facilitator and celebrator of individuality. They have clearly defined themselves, by being undefinable—but even that is a definition if it evokes a feeling.
When Mad Men ended, we watched the very successful, devastatingly handsome, self indulgent, hedonistic lothario Don Draper, who was seemingly devoid of conscience and consequence, finally succumb to the repercussions of disconnection and lying to oneself. We were led to believe that his awakening and connection to his true self is what led him to create one of the most iconic ad campaigns in history with a tagline rife with simplicity and oneness. The societal petri dish of the internet has pointed out just how deep and wide the need for connection runs. Everyone has a story to tell and they’re dying to tell it, and as long as their story resonates, someone will always be there to hear it.
Consumers don’t have attention deficit disorder, brands have connection deficit disorder.
Their attention may be spread thinner and wider than ever before with 12 tabs open on 3 different windows, but inevitably when something speaks to them, their attention is rapt. If you want my attention then you have to give me your story—clearly, definitively, succinctly and convincingly.
It’s like dating , whether Aunt Vivian sets you up or you swipe right, eventually you’re going to have to meet in person. And even if I do swipe right, I’m eventually going to discover that you’re not David Beckham’s twin astrophysicist, philanthropist brother, but instead a douchey frat boy who unabashedly hoots at the end of a bar for no reason, and while I will duck out the back of the restaurant, that will inevitably be just fine for someone else.
About the Author
Constantina Varvitsiotis is a Music industry veteran with 10 plus years of executive experience in various facets of the business including radio, A&R, and artist management. Collaborated on projects with Beyonce, Destiny’s Child, Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige, George Michael and Mariah Carey. After taking a break from music, she’s completed a novel, a docu series, and a comedy series.
Kevin Bugielski is the Marketing Manager for Victory Lap, a purpose-driven startup changing the sales game. Avid Snapchatter, SoulCycle lover, newfound runner, but ultimately, a foodie.