I am fascinated by the origins of words. The word “Sincere,” for example, is Latin. Some think it’s derived from early day marketing.
As one story goes, ancient Romans used to like marble statues. Why? Presumably—like modern day home exercise equipment—the statues were an ideal spot for draping one’s laundry. Either way, the interest in marble statues drove up demand. As demand rose, quality fell. Less reputable sculptors used inferior marble and filled in the cracks and pocks with wax, which looked great until a hot day when they started to ooze. In order to differentiate themselves from the shoddy stuff, quality sculptors began marketing their statues as “Sine Cera” Sine is the Latin word for “without’ and cera means “wax.”
Now we know something or someone who is “sincere” means it, not fake; they’re the real thing.
[Ironically, the authenticity of this story is debated among etymologists, but I like the story so for this post, I’m going to go with it.]
These days we know that contemporary audiences are becoming increasingly cynical. In focus groups and qualitative interviews, people report that if they sense an organization is “trying too hard,” they are turned off.
This creates a real challenge. How do you position yourself in a crowded and skeptical marketplace? I took a quick gander through my local grocery story to see how the big hitters with big budgets do it. Here’s what I observed:
What does this mean for those of us trying to connect?
Kyndra Wilson, KW Brand Translation
Culture geek. Proud Colorado native.