All major Belgian brands and companies are present at UBA Trend Day in Brussels Today…but only a “hand full” off tweets. Normally this wouldn’t be something I would write as an opening sentence, but with +500 attendees (all “big shots” in marketing, advertising and communication) this only leverages my case: Rethinking Marketing & Communication is a true necessity to survive next years. “Your customers are in control, and you can’t control them” is the bottom line of today! So If you want to have impact on your customers, you need to get involved with them (through conversation, gamification,…). That’s the (only) way for your brand/company/product to start an engaging relationship with your (potential) customer!
When more than 500 advertising people and decision makers aren’t connecting or conversating online, I truly think this branche has a problem. The old model, where the brand had control is switched to a model where consumer has control. If you’re not ready as a brand-builder, you’re missing the train, which has already left the station.
Martin Lindstrom (who gave a truly awesome presentation -if you get the chance to see him, DON’T hesitate!) gave insights on our irrational human behaviour. 85% of what we do is unconscious, so you need to build your brand around “smashables” like the Marlboro red, or Coca Cola Shape, or the Apple icons….all these brands survive thanks to our subconscious attention of their brand characteristics!
Neurological research showed that our mind reacts differently on subliminal brand messages or smashables! (The Ferrari Red f.i. In relation with Marlboro, or the slide movement of Apple which every baby knows at the age of 2, or when in a blind test people like Pepsi better then Coca Cola, but when asked later in a regular they preferred Coca Cola over Pepsi). Our mind plays tricks with us, wether we like it or not!
And above that, our brain is changing thanks to the recent technological evolution. Multitasking still is a true myth, but where an average person can follow-up to 1,3 channels simultaneously, teens can follow-up to 1,4 (up from 1,3 10 years ago). All this available technologies have changed the way our brain works (especially those who grew up in this digital world). So true and sole attention is becoming an illusion, you will need to stand out as a brand/product to realy grab the customer’s attention. What better way to grab that attention when you’re getting involved with your customer with a honest dialogue or using gamification tactics, you need to get grip of your (potential) customer.
True power of word-of-mouth
Lindstrom did research on the true power of peers and word-of-mouth. Inspired by the movie “meet the Joneses” he started a similar project in Los Angeles where an average family “the morgensons” moved into the neighbourhood and started promoting product, brands and services. They truly influenced their neighbours, friends and family members getting them out as true brand ambassadors endorsing and buying the products they promoted. The more gossip was going on about a product or brand, the more positive reactions were measured! Word-of-mouth at work! You can watch the movie of The experiment here.
Looking into the fact of who influences who, it’s only 1 percent who influences the other 99%. So your focus should be on those 1% instead of the other groups. Tina Wells (Buzz Marketing Group) confirmed this story, sideways, by dividing the millennials into 4 categories: Preppies, Techies, Independents, alternatives. Where the small group(s) of Techies and Independents are the most interesting to watch regarding influence and trendsetting, but the money is where the Preppies are. thePreppies get your message out (but the preppies are influenced by the techies and the independents!) Again a small group influences the vast majority! How and why….that’s subconscious, remember! But you need to take time….below the line to engage and involve this 1%-ers, techies and independents. Research shows that the longer you work below the line (trough dialogue and with engagement/involvement) the bigger the total impact when you go above the line with your brand/product.
The future of marketing
According to a TNS Media, AMS and Roularta Media Group study 73% of the surveyed marketeers said their job will change between the next 5 to 10 years. The biggest changes, according to this study, will be the way we communicate and the way we propose the value proposition. This is spot-on if you read my first part. Marketeers need to hand over control to the customer, build a dialogue with that customer and try to establish the most personal brand experience ever (thanks to the big data which accompany this new way of communication), BUT this study shows that marketeers are not prepared to handle this drivers of change. Remember my opening sentence on how the audience barely communicated during the day…So how is the future marketeer shaped? The future marketeer has a huge ability to adapt to different scenario’s and situations, is able to collaborate on different levels with different departments, has a true eye for vision and strategy, is willing to take risks and is able to work with different digital resources and tools….Yes, this profile might be the future marketeer but the road for our marketeers (of today) remains long!