When Brands Become Philosophers

Ethos, Pathos, Logos
July 15, 2022

Future Commerce recently published our newest podcast series, VISIONS. To celebrate, we’re giving our readers a chance to win a VISIONS starter pack. Learn more about the giveaway here.

“Every company needs to build a culture of being curious in every single level of the business. Everybody has to be a behavioral psychologist. There's no way around it, no matter who your customer is. You have to understand what it is that they want.” — Grace Clarke

A bit shorter of an email today, futurists. We want you to spend the bulk of your attention-budget on our newest Future Podcast series, VISIONS. The launch of Episode 2 introduces the content from our Visions Summit, and the seven panelists that helped us to build out the audio and video portions of the report. 

In today’s episode, The Discourse, we call into question how operators of brands participate in conversation with the customer. Rather than “pick up the f***ing phone”, as Mike Lackman, CEO of Trade Coffee put it, we passively surveil our customers and try to glean insights based on their browse and purchase behavior. We trigger their emotional respones by offering deep discounts, and call it “loyalty”. 

For all our cleverness, eCom in 2022 is likely to be a losing battle. We’re losing out to utility; base-level functionality that is devoid of life and joy. Those utilitarian channels are as special to a consumer as their power, water, and internet providers are. What is needed is an existential crisis for a brand: why do we exist?

To this end, brands would do well to understand philosophy. According to Aristotle’s Rhetoric, to truly persuade someone in a discourse, you must appeal to Ethos, Pathos, and Logos; credibility, emotions, and logic.

That’s where our newest episode picks up. Listen now on all major platforms, or right here.

— Phillip

A Post-Prime Society? Prime Day broke its previous records, selling $11.9 billion worth of online items. And while customers may have said deals were not as good as usual, Forbes reported that data shows overall prices were actually 3% lower site-wide. According to Acadia, the average deal ranged between 20-30% savings.

The Homogenization of Experiences. According to a new study, consumers . Check out this Media Post write up referencing our latest Visions report.

More Sights & Sounds. Instagram is expanding its subscription program and will now allow creators to gate posts, reels, and chats behind a paywall. Stori, a Mexican fintech startup, has raised $50 million. After launching a new Gen Z brand, Victoria’s Secret has merged with Pink, and is also reducing headcount by laying off 5% of its management.

The Power of the Sun on Your Wrist. The future is found in the past with this new colorful sundial watch from STAPLE x Fossil.

Fast, Faster, Fast-est Fashion. Fast fashion giant, Shein, is aiming for a U.S. IPO as early as 2024, but the company has been under scrutiny previously regarding dangerous working conditions in factories.

French Fried Spoons. Heinz has a new limited offering — “Heinz Spoon Friez” — for customers in the UK who are “friestrated” that they can’t fit enough ketchup on their regular old thin fries.

Soda’s Successors. Pepsi’s portfolio of beverages seems to be moving farther and farther away from its original soda lineup. Energy drinks and low-sugar drinks have been a heavy focus, but the company is even acquiring seltzer and wellness brands.

The Holiness of Self-Denial. In this super interesting piece for WIRED, Anthropologist Manvir Singh writes about the culture of self deprivation and near “Shamanification” of CEOs in the tech community. Diets of only fruit, alphabet eating, intermittent fasting, and fasting dopamine are just the beginning.

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