In today’s business world which has already been revolutionised by modern technology and the new forms of communication this has created such as messaging apps and social media, public expectations have shifted dramatically. People are becoming less and less likely to loyally believe the polished picture perfect style of brand marketing that existed for so long on television, print and billboards.
Now, with the internet at people’s fingertips practically everywhere and increasing numbers of digital services vying for their attention such as social media, streaming video services like Netflix and YouTube, Stories published by friends, family and celebrities on apps like Instagram and Snapchat and much more, it is increasingly difficult for brands to cut through the noise to stand out.
What is becoming apparent though, is that people’s attention is gravitating towards authenticity and creative storytelling. This explains the success of the disappearing Stories format originally invented by Snapchat, that has subsequently spread to other services like Instagram and Facebook. People enjoy seeing unfiltered glimpses into the lives of others.
It also explains the huge success of YouTube which has given rise to a whole new industry of stars. For younger audiences the stars they follow on YouTube are far more important to them than traditional “celebs” in movies or on television.
So what does all this mean for brands? You need to go where your audience are which is increasingly on digital technology such as smartphones and tablets and services like social media and YouTube. This also means investing less in traditional forms of advertising like TV, radio and print, that are rapidly becoming less popular.
While of course newer technology is more widely used by younger generations, usage among older generations is catching up, plus with each subsequent generation, people will become more and more used to digital technology as they grow up with it from childhood.
It is predicted that there will be over 3 billion social media users worldwide by 2021 (Statista, 2018), with usage having grown steadily every year since 2010. Internet usage also continues to expand across the world which has lead to an ever greater proliferation of information.
While brands may claim one thing in their marketing, if they are being inauthentic or are manipulating the truth, this can be quickly revealed. People can now access the greatest amount of information ever known, simply by searching on the smartphone devices that almost everyone now has in their pocket. This has changed the marketing landscape forever!
Therefore in order to stand out brands now need to be authentic and tell their stories and what makes them unique. It is also important for company leaders and their marketing teams to understand that people care less about the polished corporate image and logos and more about the people behind the company, the morals of the company, what makes the company unique and also what others think about the brands services and products (hence the popularity of review sites like TripAdvisor).
— Andreas & Partners (@ANPtenerife) August 13, 2018
In order to grab people’s attention it is essential to produce creative, inventive and authentic content including videos, photos, blog posts, Stories, Live Videos and social media updates which are then widely distributed across various channels including your website, blog, YouTube channel and social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest and more.
Company owners and leaders need to allow greater creative freedom to their marketing teams and staff in general to tell inventive, funny, interesting and educational stories which draw viewers in and incentivize social sharing. While new forms of technology may prove challenging to teams less accustomed to using them at the beginning, what should become obvious over time is that social media and digital technology is an absolutely incredible tool to reach an even wider audience and grow your client base.
Yesterday we had an amazing evening on-board the @Blueoceanyacht1! We had 4 activities: the Subwing, Jetski, Jetovator and snorkelling, delicious food, drinks, and some good vibes as well. Thanks to all the yacht crew and team members – we had such a good experience! #Tenerife pic.twitter.com/Y76PIZFjtn
— Second Home Tenerife (@secondhometfn) August 17, 2018
Social media, YouTube, websites, blogs, emails and other forms of digital marketing all provide tremendous insights on aspects like views, shares and click-through rates so that is possible to directly see the connection between publishing content online and how this affects sales. This is opposed to Billboards, leaflets, TV commercials, magazine ads, radio adverts etc. which are much less measurable.
The astonishing thing is that so many companies continue to invest the majority of their marketing budgets into these antiquated forms of marketing, rather than diverting funds to pay for modern marketing which will reach people where their attention is.
Of course, if you simply try to broadcast your corporate message on social media and sell, sell, sell people will get bored, stop following and your social media spending will be almost a total waste of time. A clear example of this is what is happening with TV. When the adverts appear people either switch channel, go and get a drink or check their phone. This is also why services like Netflix continue to grow in popularity because they are ad free. The bottom line is, people hate traditional advertising and will try to avoid it whenever possible.
Instead, view social media and other forms of digital tech as a way of creatively reaching your followers and customer base in a way you can’t elsewhere. It’s a massive opportunity that your company cannot afford to waste! Instead of trying to sell, sell, sell, provide added value to your followers through entertainment, humour and education and they will continue to follow your brand and team, share your content and be more likely to trust and buy from you. Being open and authentic across social media creates tremendous value and trust which is something people are increasingly searching for.
Recently our team made several videos for Andreas & Partners, a property development company based in Tenerife, including interviews with the founders Filip Hoste and Juan José Aritmendi Villanueva. These interviews are important for several reasons. They increase trust in the company as it allows people to relate to Filip and Juan Jose more, it is more interesting than simply reading a boring mission statement and increases the likelihood of being shared online for more people to learn about the brand which is great for brand awareness and more potential future clients.
The videos were unscripted and not “perfect”, but this makes them more authentic and relatable, as opposed to the usual corporate spiel that most viewers are able to see through.
As well as the videos our team took several photos, many of which showed the engaging and fun characters of Filip and Juan Jose. People buy from people, not brands, and by presenting the human, fun side of your brand’s leadership and team, this further allows others to relate to the team rather than the polished image of the past which is both boring and untrustworthy.
There were also behinds the scenes Stories taken which were posted on Instagram, forming yet another element for portraying a more authentic, unscripted and interesting side to your company team. The Stories format is growing rapidly and recently reached 400 million daily active users on Instagram (double that of rival Snapchat), making the addition of Stories “Instagram’s smartest move yet”. It also proves the growing desire among social media users for more raw, unfiltered and authentic content, as opposed to the polished content of traditional marketing which had also started to proliferate Instagram feeds.
Our team also recently did a photo and video shoot with Second Home Tenerife, their owner Filip Hoste and some of their sales team. Again this involved a variety of different media including photos, videos, Stories and social media updates. It was also a fun shoot, rather than serious and boring. We utilized a variety of technology including SLR cameras, smartphones and a 3D camera, plus also different apps including Flixel which allows the creation of creative and entertaining moving photographs such as this:
Too many brands and their leaders remain stuck in the past in terms of marketing, but it is never too late to shift focus and gear and realise where today’s attention lies. Like it or not, Smartphones, social media, YouTube, Stories and more are not going anywhere and instead are set to become ever more prevalent in people’s lives. Be open to change and ready to embrace this new world and your company can flourish and continue to grow, by showing your authentic, fun and creative side.
Instead, if you stick your head in the sand and pretend people are going to continue to look at leaflets, billboards and TV ads, then you may find your brand going the way of Kodak, Blackberry or Blockbuster. All of these were once industry leaders and are now almost completely forgotten.
Here at Canary PR we help you tell your story. Are you ready to tell yours?