Much in marketing is made of the brand truth, the customer benefit, essentially identifying the problem that any product or service is trying to solve.

Very often the really successful products are the ones which solve problems we didn’t even know we had.

Who knew the old MP3 players were too hard to use? Apple did. It gave us the user-friendly iPod and changed our lives. Until Dyson came along who didn’t want Hoover bags?

So it was interesting to read about The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, a book written by palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware based on her familiarity with the regrets of people whose time was running out:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings (too many suppress them to keep the peace)
  4. I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends
  5. I wish that I’d let myself be happier. Many do not realise that happiness is a choice, and so stick instead to the comfort of stale old patterns

Sadly it is easy to see how these regrets could play out for many yet, in marketing terms, some seem almost uncharted territory.

For sure, number 2 (working less hard) has had industries built around it both in and outside the work environment. Meanwhile the clever people at BlackBerry, and Apple, have allowed us to put work in our pockets 24-hours a day.

Similarly, industries have sprung up to make us feel happier, or to help us deny that we’re not. Perhaps relatively few of these though focus on the same spiritual dimensions that number 5 seems to refer to.

For sure, too, more recently, Zuckerberg and the like have made it easier to stay in touch, if Facebook contact really is staying in touch, with old friends.

Overall, though, if these lasting lifetime regrets do point to some of life’s brand truths, it seems a little surprising that there are so few brands promising to deliver the benefit, or even trying to.

Which product or service will give me the courage to be true to myself? Where can I buy the means to express my feelings, regardless of how others might take them?

The answers to those questions are unlikely to lie solely in any brand communications, but good luck to any that manage it.