Embracing brand communications 2.0 in 2020

Point of View –
Sandhya Subramanian –

In a world teeming with technological innovations, consumers are better connected than ever before. The business mantra ‘Consumer is King’ is an undisputed reality given the extent of control they hold at their fingertips.

Access to mobile phones, apps, social media sites, online communities are just a few ways in which consumers today are speaking to each other and the world about the things they favour, appreciate and dislike.
Today the consumer not only has opinions, but also has platforms to talk about them — Twitter, Quora, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, vlogs, chat rooms are ways in which consumers are sharing their views and connecting with each other. With this paradigm shift in consumer behaviour, organisations must catch up and target their communication efforts to keep their audiences engaged and brands relatable.
Most mainstream communication tools are quickly losing relevance in today’s world and are paving way for more innovative forms of brand communications.
Seth W Godin, American author, entrepreneur and marketer said, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories that you tell!” — Storytelling has become an essential brand communications tool, which companies are successfully utilising to build awareness and following.
It is not so much about your brand, but about the story you are telling through your brand! Nike launched the ‘Dream Crazier’ campaign in which 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams narrated the 90-second spot on female athletes who have broken barriers, brought people together through their performances and inspired generations of athletes to chase after their dreams.
In recent times, this is one of the best examples of storytelling by a brand. This campaign went viral reaching over 30 million views and 655,000+ engagements since its launch in February 2019. With its innovative storytelling of how women are breaking the glass ceiling, Nike told its own story — Just do it! On the journey to become a successful brand, organisations have realised the importance of taking their most loyal consumers along. Online brand communities are now part of many successful brands’ approach.
Several brands have come to understand the importance of bringing together their loyal consumers who are devoted to the brand and not just the product. Brand communities are great platforms for consumer engagement, content sharing and creating brand ambassadors.
Sephora’s Beauty Insider Community is perhaps one of the best examples of using an online community to build strong brand loyalty and fervent brand ambassadors! On the forum, users can ask beauty and make-up related queries, post photos, and have conversations in real time.
Sephora successfully created an online space where consumers can give their opinions and find out the latest trends in the beauty industry and Sephora can collect feedback directly from its consumers to understand them better — all through a single channel ‘Beauty Insider’.
A win-win for both the consumers and the brand! Another highly successful trending tool today that brands utilise is influencer marketing and early adopters are already reaping the benefits.
The key to successful influencer marketing is finding the right influencer for your brand — an influencer who your target audience identifies with and trusts. Daniel Wellington the renowned watch manufacturer relies heavily on influencer marketing for the success of their brand. They employ a large number of micro-influencers (Influencers that have between 1,000 to 1,000,000 followers/audience members and are considered experts in their respective niche).
Several influencer-marketing tools are available in the market today for brands to be able to plan out their campaign, track performance and their ROI.
Consumers relate better to brands, which are focused on shared progress. Today it is important for brands to be socially conscious, to have open conversations with their audience and to proactively work towards social causes. (Did you know 92 per cent of consumers have a more positive image of companies that support social issues and environmental efforts?) A great example of this is the tech giant Google — for more than a decade, Google has worked towards making its data centres the most efficient in the world. Google designs, builds and operates them to maximise efficient use of energy and resources, thereby improving their environmental performance.
Social consciousness helps build trust, awareness and engagement with consumers and the community at large.
Brands evolve and so do its consumers. To meet the demands of the evolved consumers, brands must to be prepared to adopt different strategies to be relatable and relevant. New technology and ease of access to information has made the market more competitive than ever before and brands must develop their communication strategies keeping this in mind.
Scott D Cook, Co-founder, Intuit famously quoted, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is — it is what the consumers tell each other.”
Sandhya Subramanian Communications and Brand Strategist sandhyasubramanian87@gmail.com