The contradictions we live

Getting Jaden to wear what we thought was a lovely checked shirt with a hood wasn't easy. The more we tried, the more he balked. For some time we couldn't get it. Why would he not wear something that looked so good on him?

And then it dawned.

There wasn't any other kid the in the neighbourhood donning the shirt with the hood. Jaden, we guessed didn't want to be the first one. Getting him to wear would mean showing him people wearing shirts with hoods. We figured we could start that at home. So last Sunday, Brooklyn and I got into the act by wearing jackets with hoods. Voila, Jaden acquiesces. He wears, and even starts to like the shirt. In the process we learn a lesson that's relevant to the world of marketing.

As consumers we live out contradictory desires. Our craving for a distinct identity is tempered by our need to stay within norms that guarantee acceptance. Brands that seek our patronage need to know this. They must construct for us our desired selves whilst keeping it all within what is socially acceptable. The envelope must be pushed, but not too further away.

Getting this balance right won't be easy for brands. The ones that can will be the ones we'll buy.


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