Enchantment is the new black but brands are failing to keep consumers spellbound

Kim Dolengowski, Foundation's head of strategy, questions where all the marketing magic has gone and why its vital brands find a way to look beyond the allure of efficiencies and bring back some of the much need enchantment.

The marketing world has become fixated on hyperrational efficiencies – quick conversions, algorithmic decisioning, and fast acting optimisations.

In times of market pressures, our natural reaction is to default to our rational brains, especially when fear strikes. The lust of immediate efficiencies are being rewarded with short term results.

But we’re losing brand magic as a result.

For one moment, let’s step outside the rational safety blankets and jump into a place of enchantment, because people need brand now more than ever.


Wunderman Thompson calls them Generation dread. Mintel describes them as The Hyper Fatigued. Ultimately, it’s this sweeping state of exhaustion we all feel right now, which is the direct result of the slew of problems we’re facing including inflation, daily stressors, climate change, poverty, mental health, and access to affordable healthcare – all off the back of a pandemic.

The antidote? Marketing magic.

According to Wunderman Thompson’s recent report called the Age of Re-enchantment, it found “65% of consumers want to live in a world where brands think giving customers goosebumps are important” and “61% want brands to help me feeling intense emotions”.

People want to feel more from brands. They’re screaming out for brands to awaken them, reignite their sense of wonder and make them feel a sense of joy amongst all this dread.

In my belief, we are on the cusp of the most enchanted and creative era of brand marketing.

It’s up to us in the industry to create this age of consumer and brand re-awakening. This level of awakening taps into marketing gold – consumer emotion.

When marketers focus on the creative power of brand they see a 12x multiplier effect on campaign effectiveness – from market share, loyalty, performance and sales growth.

Like many of us, what keeps me inspired is the belief that brands can make people feel something. Bring happiness. Inspire and bridge. Be a part of something bigger than themselves. But it doesn’t start and end with a cool creative execution – what’s most important is how we move a brand through the world with enchanted connections behaviour.

Instead, I invite you to have an enchanted mindset when it comes to brand building, shifting away from traditional way of thinking about brand – mass reach and traditional media channels – and instead focus on creativity, resonance and meaning metrics.

Instead of thinking asset first, consider all the magical marketing tools at your disposal – from earned, owned, experiential to creative use of paid media to sprinkle more enchantment into your campaign plans.

Find ways to tap into consumer senses and bend the minds of your audience. A perfect example of this is artist Andrés Reisinger’s building take over with millennial pink fluffy makeover.

Create a brand escape that brings people into another universe like Netflix’ Stranger Thing’s season launch promotion utilising disruptive OOH to create an underworld portal on Bondi Beach.

Reign disruption on the streets like Vans did with their giant sneaker car to launch their new line.

We can create this entirely new enchanted era of marketing. Let’s liberate ourselves from hyper rationalisation and begin to enchant consumers with brand magic, emotion and sheer ingenuity.

Kim Dolengowski is head of strategy at Foundation.


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