By DANI APGAR
Can we be honest with you? Now that every brand is a “publisher,” there’s a lot more noise that consumers inevitably drown out. That’s why simply pushing out content is no longer enough; brands need to be editors, too, to truly stand out. Consumers are sharing an unprecedented amount of personal information about themselves and demand that brands supply alluring and personally-meaningful content and experiences in return. The editorial ability to reliably serve audiences with experiences that speak to them in a distinct and accessible brand voice will give today’s brands the winning edge.
This paradigm shift in thinking, from publishers to editors, was a topic of discussion at the recent Brand Innovators Content Marketing Conference. Panelists from top global brands shared creative ideas for connecting with audiences personally and emotionally to establish brand awareness and value. In their words, learning to both listen to customers and respond accordingly has major payoffs.
Marketing’s Double-Edged Sword
Personalization can be a double-edged sword, used either to push consumers away with dystopian-level accuracy or to strengthen consumers’ brand trust through delight and relevance. Western Union, a worldwide money-transfer service, exemplified personalization done right with a recent campaign that sought to increase social media engagement with Mexican Americans who are prospering in the States. Senior Marketing Manager, Javier Santos, summarized a clear and replicable strategy:
- Be honest
- Understand your customer’s world
- Model your brand to fit the values shared with that group
Western Union’s campaign emphasized their audience’s commitment to hard work and family, while also playfully featuring various cultural customs. One ad featured a picture of a mortar and pestle making guacamole and it said, translated from Spanish, “If this is your ‘blender’… you’re one of us!” Posts like these sky-rocketed engagement on social media.
Going From Buzzword to Beneficial
Often-used but little-understood, “influencer marketing” was another topic of conversation at Brand Innovators. Italian liqueur maker Campari demonstrated that influencer marketing, when leveraged properly, is worth the hype. Their strategy?
- Use data to identify advocates based on demographics, brand fit, and engagement level
- Listen to your advocates and reward them
- Amplify your advocates amplifying you
This last step is especially important, and it’s the one most frequently ignored by brands. Whether we’re talking about marketing strategies or a great golf swing, it’s all about the follow-through– so if you have influencers evangelizing your brand, but you aren’t also amplifying their advocacy, then you’ve missed a huge window of opportunity to generate brand awareness, start conversations, and drive entries, clicks, downloads, and purchases.
When brands use language that’s emotionally relevant to their target audience, it both differentiates and strengthens brand identity. And the returns on investment are the robust consumer relationships that ultimately drive action.