Customers – What do they want? Transparency! When do they want it? Now! No longer are brands and marketing professionals around the globe ‘talking to’ their market, they are answering them and answering to them. The buying public is taking no prisoners if brands don’t play by the new rules; holistic accountability to the everyman is now a legitimate and unavoidable consideration for marketers and brand managers.
It’s no secret that the Internet has re-defined communication. Branding is no longer solely the domain of the brand owner or marketer. Whereas once the brand lifecycle was linear and tightly controlled, it is now more fragmented than ever. To prosper brands must embrace the new order that is dictated by the voice of the consumer. Internet democracy, particularly social media in all its forms, means this voice that was once a whisper is now a multitude of megaphones with their volumes set to loud. Direct conversations are the norm and brands that harness this new flow are empowering themselves to take back some control, albeit a collaborative dominion.
So how do brands embrace this new MO? Engage. Buzzword or not, engaging with your target market ensures conversations lead to positive development, rather than a one way shout bound to fail. By engaging we mean making emotional connections because now more than ever, consumers desire to be heard – and understood. Never before has consumer behaviour been so quantifiable, where the abundance of information available means that marketers are now able to encompass consumer preferences and expectations into their plans and tailor the brand experience to fulfill the needs of the consumer.
The new order has not only impacted the branding process, it has also affected the market reception of the companies that own the brand. Creating brand image and shaping brand perception has become increasingly difficult as a result. Brands must be particularly well placed in consumers’ minds to thrive. No longer is a chocolate bar or taco the solution to satisfy hunger – the chocolate bar or taco has become a multi dimension personification of the brand and consumers want to know not only is the chocolate bar or taco good for them, is the maker of the chocolate bar or taco also doing good for the community as a whole. Brands must stand for something, and that something better be bona fide in essence and visible in practice.
Creating emotional connections with consumers through social media requires brands to be nimble and consistent in order to maintain cohesion across all channels. The number of channels available means establishing and rolling out your marketing plan is increasingly complex, and how viewers consume content is a far wider consideration than before. It does however open up more exciting opportunities for engagement.
To explore more ways to capture and engage your audience with effective multi-channel marketing contact us.