The comfort of sameness: the happiness of routine: the absence of newness!


Look no further than whatever meets the eye or gets your hear: you will see a sea of messages screaming Back to School. I reckon its the new ‘Come September ‘tune that a brand Venture(s) into.  Across products, categories and media platforms, brand messages pour out, selling, cajoling, coercing, bribing, reminding, pleading, imploring, threatening (almost) and more. Well its doing the obvious, I guess. And the comfort of the safety net that comes with it.

What is it (you begin to wonder) that drives brands to depart from the nomenclature with unabashed disdain and find solace in the sameness of being? I understand that routine has its compulsions at being consistent but is this mind numbing consistency generating customer constituency? Are customers really coming ‘back ‘year after year or they have begin to see through it all?

Often times we have heard about following the fundamentals; ‘instead of sharing from the same size of the pie, grow the category ‘; the cola wars, the two wheeler battles, the smartphone skirmishes and all of that are constant reminders. So, ‘growing the category’ would be a comforting prognosis here. To use an overused adage ‘ Birds of the same feather, flock together ‘, but what about wanting to actually have a feather in the cap and doing something that gets you there. Once upon a time it was called the good old ‘differentiation ‘and here is where I have a serious difference of opinion. Times have changed, or have they?

Stationery cannot be stationary, on shop shelves. Shoes have to stand on their own two feet, often with no soul searching. Uniforms cannot be the same, year after year (there is no uniformity in that you see), there is more to a Tablet than meets the eye (must be the Retina Display), the thirst for new water bottles leaves you wet behind the ears, the need for a new printer leaves you reading between the lines and you cannot be more unsmart at being still seen with the same smartphone in week 12…..

The excess baggage of Back to School campaigns, take flight, year after year, unfailingly. Probably the reason why most marketers do not feel the need to go back to school and re think their strategy. All that is needed is to share a few ‘same pinches ‘and it still doesn’t pinch them. Why should they, when they all seem to be laughing their way to the school…I mean bank!