Changing communication trends of our Society
There have been times where social media has been perceived to be a fad like most other ventures on the Internet. Also the activities that take place in social media platforms are unorganized and hence seen as chaotic. This further lends doubts on the credibility of the medium and the impact it can have for a brand. These are valid observations and must be resolved to win the marketer’s confidence in the medium.
I have tried to map out few changes that have occurred over the last five years. As a society we have changed in the way we consume media and the way in which we communicate. Marketers have to take these trends into account while rolling out their marketing campaigns.
Trend no. 1:
Consumers start the communication cycle today by actively looking for information. The need for the product/service makes them look for the appropriate brand to provide the solution in a platform of their choice. And if during that search the brand doesn’t appear, then it loses out from the consumer’s consideration set. So instead of creating silo-ed brand sites, marketers will have to move their communication to where consumers are spending time – on blogs, social networking sites, discussion forums etc. Coz if their brand doesn’t show up there, then it has lost on the opportunity to communicate with those users.
Consumers are searching for information
Trend No. 2:
People are moving away from being mere content readers to content publishers giving importance to Web 2.0. This provides an immense opportunity to create experiences for the consumers. The move from passive to active consumption of information presents in itself a big opportunity for the brands. Create applications, widgets, tools that provide genuine value and build engagement with the user. Think of consumers as living, breathing, thinking humans and not mere robotic recipients to whom you intend to sell. Create videos for online users that engage at a deeper level and use social media to promote it.
Shift from static websites to interactive communities
Trend no. 3:
People are forming common interest groups and communities online thereby devoting more of their spare time in those activities. This is the most wonderful development a brand manager could ask for. Segment users on psychographic parameters rather than demographic. The impact of this segmentation is higher and also cost effective. Media consumption and social interaction are moving to global platforms, constrained more by language and not borders! To engage with this targeted group of users, brands will have to create presence in these communities. And presence is not reflected by banner ad on the sites but by building conversations. Listening to what they really want to know and then providing it. Develop networks to distribute content that is relevant to your consumer and then build in brand proposition.
Travel community on Tripadvisor.com
Trend no. 4:
People prefer active forms of engagement over passive ones. And this is best reflected with how TV channels have tried to adopt themselves to it. Reality shows have cashed in on user voting; news channels have started citizen journalism to involve the viewers.
Citizen Journalism show on CNN IBN
These trends reveal that brands have to go much beyond the 30 sec TVC to capture the changing consumer. This is where social media scores as it involves brands with users and gets them to participate with them in their communities.