The new year is already well underway, and many brands are already starting to implement their marketing strategies and tactics to reach consumers in the new decade. But how effective will these campaigns be at connecting with audiences?
Consumers have become more wary in recent years when it comes to how brands talk to them. With the almost universal adoption of social media and how widespread false information is on different platforms, audiences have become more skeptical. Our Marketing Director Maribel Michel believes that it’s important for large CPG companies and power brands to come from a place of authenticity in 2020 to regain consumer confidence and become more effective at marketing.
This is more than just a question of authentic messaging. How a company or brand behaves behind the scenes is often more important to consumers than what an advertisement tells them. As Maribel says: “It is not enough for brands to say that they should be trusted. They need to show that they should be trusted—from the workplace culture and packaging, to the sourcing of materials and impact on the community they are based.
“For example, I don’t think it’s enough for a company to brag about a one time donation to an environmental charity in a blog post. The donation is useful, but in 2020 eco-conscious consumers expect more. Is this announcement part of a larger overhaul of the way the brand and company cares for the environment? Will the company now introduce sustainable packaging, transportation methods and factories? These larger initiatives have an impact on marketing by making a brand more believable in the eyes of consumers.”
Pride Month provides an interesting case study around brand believability. Many large brands had activations at various events across the country, as well as special Pride-themed product collections. However, reception was lukewarm at best, especially on social media. Many members of the LGBTQ+ community did not feel empowered, but used. Some media outlets pointed out the contradiction of certain brands with Pride product collections and having manufacturing plants in countries with anti-LGBTQ legislation.
Compare this to Smirnoff and their Pride initiative which was very well received. Their program, Soho Angels, partners with the City of Westminster and the LGBT Foundation to make sure members of the LGBTQ+ community can enjoy a night out safely. This program runs year round on Friday and Saturday nights. Because it does not attempt to piggyback on Pride Month and engages with LGBTQ+ people throughout the year, Smirnoff now is received favorably within the community. Their future marketing campaigns will resonate more because they have established a relationship.
Building this relationship is not quick and can be costly, something Maribel acknowledges. She says: “Some brands may have to look at how they operate internally to communicate well with external audiences. If that means making internal changes to culture or the product, it may mean losing out on profits in the short term. When looking at the long term however, the value is there.”
For 2020 and beyond, authentic communication strategies need to be paired with personalization. We have already talked about this topic on our blog before, but it is worth repeating. Believable advertisements are more valuable if personalized. Maribel says: “With all of the data and analytics available, messages can be made more relevant than ever. If your brand wants to share its ecological mission for example, each message can find its way to the best target based on location, age, earnings, and other information.”
Personalization is a way to connect with consumers that travel on different customer journeys, but also a way to connect with consumers when they want that connection. Just because brands have the ability to push messages whenever they want, it doesn’t mean that they should. Maribel says: “Recently I looked at a pair of tennis shoes online. While using LinkedIn, advertisements for the shoes started appearing. Even though I was interested in making the purchase, for me, that was not the space or time where I would have preferred to see those ads because I use that platform professionally.
Power brands need to be careful to not be too pushy or invasive with their messaging. There really is a time for everything. I recommend that using the data they have on consumers to pinpoint when it is best to push certain messages should be a priority for marketers in 2020. If I am a consumer that is using Instagram to relax after a long work day, that is the time I want to see an ad or content that entertains.”
With the amount of content and information available to consumers, the believable brand is the winning brand. A great place to start will be from the brands values, and assessing if those values are being lived by the brand. Find and build partnerships that show consumers your brand cares about more than just profits. And of course, talk to them through different personalized content formats at the moment they are ready to listen. The year ahead presents its challenges for power brands, but it also presents opportunities.
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Last Edited on May 25, 2018