Friday, 19 September 2014

Engaging thoughts

All posts tagged: Twitter

Is Twitter helping to define brands of the future?

Thu, 9 Jun 2011

Unless you’re Ryan Giggs, it would seem, most celebrities are big fans of Twitter.

Many are active not only in informing their adoring followers of every new development in their lives but also in interacting in a way that previously would not have been possible. Twitter makes our celebrities (and our brands) more accessible. It has become the forum for interacting with consumers as well as the playground of the famous; the sniping and counter-sniping between VIPs in the Twittersphere is feeding the media with content in a way that once only ‘exclusive’ interviews in celebrity magazines might have done.

I wonder, though, if this emergent behaviour in media shows us the way that brands and marketing may begin to go generally. We are moving towards a position of sharing a brand with consumers, who will purchase on an increasingly pragmatic, needs basis. If this is the case, it places a greater onus than before on how to customise products and involve consumers in your “brand”.

In the mass-market, people are increasingly turning away from the physical to the online and this is perhaps the defining move of the new digital age. Fewer and fewer people are buying ‘physical’ music any more, books are increasingly digital and our lives are lived online. What does this mean for the consumer and the brands of tomorrow?

The music sector is already embracing this quite effectively. For their new album, Kaiser Chiefs have made 20 tracks available and when fans buy the album they can choose which ten tracks they want to be on their particular version of the album. They can set the track listing, and choose the album. If fans then sell their particular ten track album to others, they will receive a £1 commission for each one sold.

From people I’ve spoken to, I can see that many consumers are already wrestling with the implications of this and it’s not necessarily split down age lines as one might expect. The suggestion is that a book or a vinyl record has more inherent value that the digital copy of the music or the e-book which is merely reproducible content. This may be down to cost but also down to markets splitting between products of either actual or perceived high added value versus those that are seen as functional commodities.

So there seems to be an ever-growing divide between consumers who still want to own physical product and people who really don’t care anymore as long as they can access the actual content; a divide between the niche “haves” and mainstream “have nots”. Consumers battle between their heads and their hearts, where the heart says physical but head says digital. The key for brands is to learn the lessons of this development and be on the right side of that battle.

Back To Basics - Social media offers nothing if you don't get the fundamentals right

Wed, 13 Apr 2011

Simon Carter, marketing director of Fujitsu’s government arm, was quoted in Marketing Week as saying that marketers are becoming lazy by over-using social media and ignoring the skills and disciplines traditionally learned by marketers.

And we think he may have got it right. The Internet explosion and the seemingly exponential growth in social media provides enormous opportunities for brands to connect and engage with consumers. But at the end of the day it is just another channel to market – a powerful one – but just another one. Getting the most effective use out of social media requires the fundamentals of marketing strategy to have been conducted first.

This means identifying achievable commercial objectives and appropriate demographic groups, arrived at through effective customer insights, which are then used to inform strategic marketing planning. Only once the strategic building blocks have been put in place can you look at the tactical roll out and which channels or communications tools are going to be used to bring your proposition to market. Leaping right in with your social media – or indeed your PR, your direct marketing or your advertising – is like building something on shifting sands. It’s not secure and you can never be absolutely sure it’ll be there in the morning.

Some brands are so eager to leap on to the social media bandwagon that not enough consideration is given either to the synergy with the brand or product or whether the form of social media being used builds a bridge with the consumer.

We think that it’s important that social media is used as a natural part of an integrated marketing programme. Marketing this week reports on how Comparethemarket.com has almost defined the way to use social media with its ‘Meerkat’ campaign. Although the social media campaign was successful, this was only because it formed part of a well thought-through and well conceived marketing campaign brought to life by iconic television advertising.

Craig Inglis, director of marketing at John Lewis, is quoted in the same article as saying: “You should not let the channel dictate the communication. Start with the big idea then the media channel comes second.” He’s spot on!

Carter believes that social media has made some marketers less concerned than they should be about accuracy and targeting. Some marketers, he says, no longer worry about even getting email addresses right. “If something goes wrong it’s like ‘so what, we’ll send another batch of 10,000”.

True marketing, though, is all about targeting and messaging – it’s not always a case of reaching the highest numbers full stop. If you get the fundamentals in place, you’ll reach the numbers you need and your message will be more relevant and accurate for doing so. And that’s the key route to achieving brand cut-through – social media or no social media.