Fact is, people  will often tell you what they think is socially acceptable, rather than how they actually feel or think. Now that social media is making lots of people create a ‘better version of me’ alter ego, not only does it mean social media gurus should watch out spouting ‘free research’ and listening exercises as reliable, it points to something fundamental.

You need to work out if you are targeting someone’s self image or the real thing.

The best exercise is to resolve the tension between both.

Nobody admits to be influenced by celebrities. Still, gazillion of people are following Ryan Seacrest and some mutation of the Kardashians. We love celebrities, we just don’t admit it.

As a brand, do you omit celebrity endorsement and communicate it to the world? Do you target the social self? Do you target the reality of celebrity adulation and use celebrity – but make it relevant/authentic and even ironic to make it socially acceptable?

Just like the myth that Millennials are spoiled brats hating on baby boomers because they wrecked the planet. When, in my experience, young people are just getting on with it and work hard.

We all do. And brands should find a way to own the idea of hard work and finding a way to make it cool. Responsibility, caring of others  and being involved are new social norms. The real opportunity for brands is to bridge the gap between controlling your own life and the realities of the skills and confidence of real people out there. Big chance to provide real help -or resolve tension to make us feel good, to provide an outlet.

‘Just Do It’  does it right.

This is important.

Advertising really deals with how you feel about a brand, it creates memory structures that make the brand easy to buy/use/share.

The long term effect of this lasts longer than the ‘messaging’ that quickly gets forgotten.

So, when you think about how you want to make people feel, ask yourself which person you’re trying to get a response from. The real person, or the one they want people to see. Ideally, find a way to deal with both and resolve the tension between cultural pressures and the pressures of everyday life.