Who Makes More Noise? Brands With Big Budgets or The Citizens of The Digiverse?

Misguided digital strategies have created “huge volumes of noise, which is polluting the digital world and making it harder for brands to be heard — presenting a major challenge for businesses trying to enter into dialogue with consumers online,” according to a new study from WPP’s TNS unit.

Noise is one way to look at it. However, if you’re the one Tweeting about being bumped from a flight or the loud hotel or the overcooked ribeye, it’s not noise at all.

That’s an interesting study, but what truly motivates our behavior in online environments? It’s a big question. For another answer, let’s see author and founder of Tiny Buddha, Lori Deschene’s thinking:

…there are seven psychological needs we may be looking to meet when we log onto a social media site: acknowledgment, attention, approval, appreciation, acclaim, assurance, and inclusion.

We’re wired to want to be seen, and it’s tempting to chase that instant fix of validation or connection. That’s not to say these are the only motivations, but they’re potential driving forces. If we can check ourselves to understand why we’re tempted to share, we’ll be better equipped to meet our needs beyond the world of tweets and updates.

Sharing can be a beautiful thing if we’re genuinely inspired to do it. But it’s up to us to know ourselves, so that we connect from a place of wholeness, not from a place of lack.

“Connect from a place of wholeness, not from a place of lack.” That’s poetry, and it’s the kind of poetry I need to hear. It’s also something I want brand teams to hear. The advertising business is all about coming from a place of lack, but let’s flip that on its head and see what happens.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.