Prior to the advent of digital era, marketing was done through traditional media (TV, radio, print media, and out of home) with focus on one way communication, where brands broadcast their messages to consumers with not much quantifiable insights in return.
In this digital era, we see that brands are embracing all online resources to market their products & services. All brands want to rank higher in the evoked set of consumers. So, they use various social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter etc. These channels helps brand to create a buzz about their product, promote themselves, and also get some insights about visitor, no. of likes/followers etc.
But that’s not enough and few key questions that brands need to answer:
– Are they creating a deeper meaningful relationship with consumers by engaging with them regularly without making consumers feel overwhelmed with plethora of information?
Does brand involve consumers when they build any product? Do they take feedback from their customers about their products/services? Does brand incorporate these feedback and inform customers about the same to make him/her opinion feel valued? Does a brand know threshold level when consumers start ignoring their messages, just because brands have started dumping loads of information to consumers? Do they know the optimum frequency to engage with consumers?
Brands should use channels which can help them have two way communication with consumers, so that they can interact and have meaningful conversations rather than just broadcast messages.
– Are they using channels which could maximize “Brand Influence”?
“Brand Influence” is mainly about two things. Firstly, “Intensity”, which signifies how involved an audience is when they interact with Brands. Secondly, “Proximity”, which tells how much consumers trust the channel through which they receive Brand messages. There could be various channels through which brand can reach out to consumers, e.g. blog posts, online videos, free product samples, online suggestion from peers, TV/Magazine Ads, Email, Inviting consumers for a house party etc.
Research has suggested that consumers are mostly influenced when they feel involved with the Brand & trust the channel which convey Brand messages. So, when consumers receive free product samples, participate in a house party sponsored by the Brand, or get feedback from their friends/peers about the brand, they get more influenced by the Brand.
– Are they able to identify and reward “Brand Advocates” to make them feel valued?
Is a Brand aware that how many people would vouch for their brand if something negative is told about them in the market? A Brand would definitely want a community of these “Brand Advocates”, which they don’t have access to now. They might have access to “Influencers”, which is arrived by knowing no. of friends/followers, reach, and volume of interactions of a person on various social networks.
An influencer can help Brand in creating social chatter, whose impact is often short term. Brands will have to reward influencers enough to do various activities. While “Brand Advocates” are highly satisfied customers who are very likely to recommend the brand to their friends. They have genuine passion for the brand and can even promote brands without any incentives.
So, in long term it will help Brands to know their Advocates whom they can use as sustainable extended marketing arm.
Going forward, every brand who want to win hearts and pocket share of consumers will have to answer these questions and the answers to above questions should definitely be a “YES”.