Knowing the difference between inspiration and aspiration can help fortify brand consistency and awareness.
We all remember the “Be Like Mike” *You Can Watch It Here* Gatorade commercial; the catchy jingle. The flashy cuts of His Airness gliding through defenses. A memorable campaign that sold the idea that to be like Mike (Michael Jordan) one had to drink Gatorade. This is a prime example of how to promote inspiration with advertising from within a brand.
Simply buying one Gatorade wouldn’t make the average person the “Michael Jordan” equivalent in his or her life. But that’s what inspiration is, the temporary awareness of new possibilities. The campaign was really saying “Be like Michael Jordan and drink a Gatorade. But you won’t BE Michael Jordan”.
If Gatorade wanted to make people aspire to be the ‘Michael Jordan’ of their life, the campaign would have taken a slightly different tone. If you know anything about the 6 time NBA champion, it’s not Gatorade that made him the best player on the court, but rather his preparation and determination that separated him from everyone else.
Gatorade could take the position that their product helps fuel that extra mile, or take that extra practice shot, or do one more sit-up. All of these might be extreme examples that seem too specific to the professional sports world, but if you apply the same mindset to your life, over time one could become the best at what you do. This calls for long-term change as opposed to single meaningless transactions.
Inspirational marketing was a popular tactic in the 1990’s but consumers became fatigued by the idea of being inspired constantly by celebrities and polarizing athletes pushing a product. Today, social media has given businesses the power to call on consumers to share their stories, opinions, and progress within campaigns, thus reinforcing an aspirational call to action.
The biggest difference between the two is what is being evoked. An inspirational advertising message would be something that is slightly memorable. Something that would quickly call on the consumer to buy or participate but not necessarily ask for long-term commitment. Whereas an aspirational approach would be to convince the customer on serious change that takes time and effort.
So how does this apply to your business? Simple. Think about what it is you do. What is your brand reputation? What makes your business thrive? What do you want out of your audience (aside from selling a product or service)? This will shape how you want to appeal to your audience. Are you wanting them to choose one cold beverage on a hot day, or are you wanting them to make long lasting change?