Philips, Batman and Concentric Circles

Andy Nairn posted another great article on Campaign today tackling the cliché of putting consumers “at the centre” of an organisation.

First of all, I hate the term “consumer”. It implies a degree of passivity that is born out of the primitive ‘The Hypodermic Needle’ model of the early 20’s and 30’s. It’s arrogant to assume that people spend their days thinking about your product, service or business.

I digress. But only slightly.

Nairn worries that “putting the consumer at the heart of the organisation results in over-thinking, and imagining that they are more interested in our brand than they really are”.

Positioning them “at the edge of your organisation” as he goes on to suggest, is far more conducive to producing “imaginative, and effective solutions”. Dealing with your insignificance is incredibly important for businesses and brands.

And this is why Mr. Nairn’s post is so timely. Because Philip’s are in the middle of a communications campaign that could not have put their ‘consumer’ [shudders] more central.

The engineering and electronics company are asking people to de-pixilate their new logo/shield before the global launch on 13th November.
There’s no reward.
No real incentive.
And those who participate in giving Philips this digital-hand job have the #UncoverPhilips hashtag stamped on their timeline and their face stamped on the website. Who gives a fuck?

Some of you may remember the marketing campaign for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ which began in May of 2011 which I posted about here. Fans of the franchise, of Batman and of movies more broadly took part and uncovered the first official still of Tom Hardy in character within hours. A similar technique was used in 2007 for the launch of ‘The Dark Knight’ – although it didn’t have a fully-fledged Twitter and Facebook at its disposal.

As both of these campaigns employed a similar tactic, I wonder if there is a type of model one could make for this based on how involved their target audience is. Here’s my initial thought:


A = deeply involved, interested or passionate about the product, service or business.
B = Somewhat involved, interested or passionate about the product, service or business.
C = Not at all involved, interested or passionate about the product, service or business.

The closer an audience is to the centre, arguably, the less that business or brand has to do in order to either entice an audience or persuade them to spread their message; they are already engaged.

Likewise, the further away it is – slipping into the periphery – the more a business or brand may have to do to even gain the attention of their desired audience.

As before, this is just a thought. Slapdash finger bashing on a keyboard. What began as an initial ripoff of a blog post on Campaign has traversed Batman to wind up to a wanky planner set of concentric circles.

I’m still learning, reading, writing and thinking so any thoughts and builds are, as always, appreciated.


3 thoughts on “Philips, Batman and Concentric Circles

  1. Your beautifully drawn ABC model reminds me of Byron Sharp’s book “How brands grow”. He makes the good point that those already engaged in your brand and loyal are the easy ones to target, really you should be looking at those (group C) who are you haven’t yet captured the attention of. Sadly brands are too lazy most of the time to pursue the attention of this group because it’s too much hard work. Sigh.

    • I think this is what I was trying to get at – it was just finger-tapping in my lunch break.
      Focusing on the less interested audience is to where brand have a chance to grow. I read ‘How Brands Grow’ earlier this year but didn’t properly use any of his thoughts in this. I should have. It’s simple and clever stuff. I’ll work on this a little bit later when I get home but I do appreciate the feedback Tick-Toch.

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