On Your Path of Desire

Thinking about the places and ways in which people’s lives intersect with various brands, products and services can get rather messy. We are, after all, subject to serendipity – which often borders on chaos. Think about your most prized possession, and then think about how it came to you. Now, tell me, was it planned or was there an accident involved? Was it an unexpected gift?

My bet, is that for many of you, the item that you most love has come to you thanks to a series of apparently random events.

100_7750 The thing is, however, that we often mistake chaos for randomness. It isn’t. Underlying random events is Desire as an organising principle. What this means is that we seek out, attract and are attracted to things that gratify our desires. And in the process we unconsciously order our world and make decisions and choices that obey the laws of desire – not the laws of logic. It’s why we buy things like Alfa Romeo cars and Ducati motorbikes – not because we are smart, but because we feel compelled to.

When we step onto the web, this is amplified in sometimes surprising ways.

Mike Arauz has put together a great deck that shows how this can play out. Called Desire Paths, Mike talks about the way that brands need to be begin connecting with their audiences in ways that align with an individual’s passion. He points out that these paths are OUR paths – and that they cannot be made by institutions – and therefore that brands can be invited on our journey along these paths on the condition that they are useful to the person travelling this path.

Desire paths tie-in nicely to social judgement. Certainly there is a great incentive for brands to tap into the collective power of a desire path; after all, we do not walk these desire paths alone – and technology is making it ever easier for us to find like-minded travellers all around the world. As Apple has found, good design is not just appreciated by “me” but also by “people like me” – or perhaps as Mike would term it, “people who walk with me”.

After a desire path and a brand collide in this way, the outcome is transformative – for everyone involved. For the paths that we take, and the choices we make either unconsciously or deliberately, also mark us as belonging to this tribe, or that – and this is perhaps, the heart of social judgement, and why understanding its mechanisms remains elusive.

7 thoughts on “On Your Path of Desire

  1. This is cool. I guess the point of it is ‘purpose’ (‘societal purpose’) and connecting through supporting. enabling.
    I try to get as much of this sort of thinking happening with my clients. Really believe in it.

  2. “…brands can be invited on our journey along these paths on the condition that they are useful to the person traveling this path.”
    Couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m going to use that.
    Thanks, Gavin.

  3. I’ve been a huge believer in the idea that we attract seemingly random events to us – and this is partly fuelled by our desires as well as our behaviours.
    Dressing like a successful person soon results in you being perceived as a successful person and eventually that brings opportunities that transforms you INTO that successful person. These thoughts obviously come from my days as an employment consultant motivating the unmotivated that they can create their own luck and guide their lives closer to their desires. But I hadn’t considered it in a brand marketing way before. ‘Desire Lines’ illustrates exactly how we can identify how to tap into passion rather than mere consumption.

  4. Oh the online marketing and business writing is just the latest in a long line including nightclub DJ, radio announcer, video editor, caretaker, single Dad, and others too gross or embarrassing to go into here…

  5. Really insightful thinking. Also when applied to cause related brands (largely not-for-profits) it makes even more sense, or at least effortlessly.
    It’s in their DNA to care about something. They don’t have to find it. It’s their purpose for being.
    Take Inspire Foundation -they increase mental health and well being of young people, with websites actnow.com.au and reachout.com.au. They care about young people.
    Amnesty International. They care about humans and protecting their rights.
    The Smith Family care about struggling kids and their families.
    Next step: showing all NFP’s that intercepting their audience and demonstrating support along their digital desire paths will compound the positive effects of their programs.

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