Do Customers Care about Brands?

At one of the last meetups I attended, I got approached by one of the attendees with an idea:

I want to create a subscription based blog where I’ll talk about my life in New York. What do you think?

I replied: “What’s in it for the reader? What are they paying for?”

“Well they want to hear about my life, what I am up to, don’t they?, he said.

This got me thinking. Do they really care? Care enough to not only pay attention, but pay for a subscription too?

The Importance of Brands

Marketers often think people care about their brands. However, it has become clear that only the minority of brands are cared about by their customers. Brand, for example of “commodity type products” are far less relevant for consumers (PPAI 2005) than brands within technological or automotive sector. Customers don’t care about brands, they care only about themselves and what the brand can do for them. (Seth Godin 2007, p. 69)

Reflecting over my personal motifs for following certain bloggers, I came to realise that I follow them purely to get something out of it myself. Let that be entertainment, inspiration or education. If I can’t gain any of the above from a blog, I direct my attention and time elsewhere.

The Shift in Getting Attention

Traditional advertising was based on interrupting consumers thereby buying their attention.
Today, attention can’t be bought as easily anymore – especially not online. (Seth Godin 2013)

Globalisation led to an increasingly competitive market with hundreds of companies competing against the attention of consumers. This led us to enter a new era, the Attention age, where “attention has become the greatest commodity” (Endre 2014)


Attention has to be earned

Davenport and Beck describe attention as a “focused mental engagement on a particular item or information”.(Davenport & Beck 2013, p.20)  As attention and action are causally related, it becomes clear how important consumer’s attention is for sales. (Davenport & Beck 2002, p. 21)

However, with too many choices,  the vast majority of consumers are becoming increasingly ignorant to brand’s scream for attention. (Seth Godin 2003) Expecting consumer’s attention without having earned it is an attribution error many companies face. Creating “average products for average people” doesn’t do the trick anymore. (Seth Godin 2007,p. xi)

To have a brand that consumers actually care about, companies have to earn their attention. This need to be done by serving customers in the way they desire and by becoming remarkable.


Davenport, T. and Beck, J. (2002). The attention economy. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School.

Endré, A. (2009). Step Aside Information Age, the Attention Age is Here. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Oct. 2014]

Godin, S. (2003). How to get your ideas to spread. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Oct. 2014].

Godin, S. (2007). Meatball sundae. New York: Portfolio.

Godin, S. (2013). Seth’s Blog: The attention paradox. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Oct. 2014].


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