Oh, Mary

What Marie Kondo Knows About Digital Brand Marketing

June 3, 2019
Maria Robinson

Marie Kondo is a publicist’s dream. She is soft-spoken, unproblematic and charmingly enthusiastic about helping people deal with the literal and emotional baggage cluttering their lives. But beyond her meme-friendly quotes (“I love mess!”) and sweet disposition, something about the KonMari philosophy clearly struck a chord in our stuff-obsessed nation.

Now, lots of organizing experts tell you to throw out your old crap. That’s nothing new. But in the crucible of the most beautiful and transformative times in our lives, the relationship formed with said crap makes it hard to let go. Marie Kondo is the only one who gives that relationship the reverence it deserves.  

Thanking possessions for their place in your life before giving them away is imbued with Shinto spiritualism for Kondo, but it also taps into a very human impulse that, try as we might, we can’t suppress. The need to anthropomorphize absolutely everything.

Roombas, a volleyball, the Mars Rover, and any object that has anything remotely resembling a face is fair game. So, what does this have to do with digital brand marketing? Everything.

Ask anyone about how they perceive the “personality” of a brand with a household name. They will tell you in a word or two.

Coca-Cola? Refreshing and all-American.

Crayola? Fun and kid-friendly.

Enron? That creepy guy in your building who you know has a body count.

Ok, that’s more than two words. But you get the picture.

According to Deloitte, it is how people feel about brands that inspire loyalty (or not). When asked, consumers expected things from a brand like shared values, responsiveness, and care for them as an individual. (i) With the advent of social media, brands can now speak directly with consumers and meet their needs in a more personalized way than ever before.

Some miss the mark.

Chase Bank’s recent social media faux pas was the direct result of not taking into account the existing perception of the brand and its context. In telling people through a snarky meme that they are broke because they spend money on coffee and takeout, Chase failed to realize that this was the digital equivalent of a billionaire yelling life advice out the window of his Rolls Royce at people waiting for the bus. Not helpful, and not a good look.  

More savvy brands use their newfound voice to generate cutting edge content with attentive customer service and relationship building (see MoonPie). For the self-aware marketing department, digital media presents an amazing chance to leave consumers feeling heard and respected, all while engendering a familiarity that will bear fruit well into the future.

Proactive brands like Action Mary client Tree Top even take this a step further and improve product design based on the feedback they receive on social media. After parents expressed outrage on these channels when they found mold in their apple sauce pouches, Tree Top put their money where their (digital) mouth was and designed a clear pouch so parents could See The Good. When it comes to showing consumers you care, actions often speak louder than words.

The fact remains that whether it be your brand or a decrepit teddy bear with a missing eye, people will create a relationship with it. Why not lead the conversation?

(i) Deloitte. (2019, May). Exploring the Value of Emotion-Driven Engagement: The dynamics of customer loyalty. Retrieved from Deloitte Digital:    https://www.deloittedigital.com/content/dam/deloittedigital/us/documents/offerings/offerings-  20190521-exploring-the-value-of-emotion-driven-engagement-2.pdf