In an age of hyper-competition, commoditisation, globalisation and rapid media obsolescence, marketers are struggling to find new conceptual bases on which to design and deliver their marketing programs. The haunting truth is that traditional marketing is failing. Today’s marketplace is no longer responsive to the strategies that worked in the past. There are simply too many products, too many companies and too many messages.And if mainstream media is a wounded beast then marketers have become disoriented hunters.
Consumers themselves are now becoming the opinion leaders and brand evangelists via social media channels. So how do today's brand custodians influence the influencers?
Perception or reality?
Brands have a remarkable ability to impact the way people view products. Consumers rarely just see a product or service; they view the product through the lens of the brand. and its through this brand association that they view themselves. It’s like being at school and hanging out with the “right” kids. Perception becomes that person’s reality and is far more important than the absolute truth.
Is Dom Pérignon the best champagne in the world? Ray Ban the best eye wear? Or Converse the best sneakers? Brand managers can't create this perception. Only public opinion can. That's why companies spend so much money on product placement and product giveaways to A listers. If they can get an important social influencer to be seen wearing/driving/drinking their product then public opinion begins to take shape.
Getting into the game
The good old days of the ad agency largesse are coming to an end. Throwing messages into the ether, however beautifully crafted, is losing its impact and its audience. Marketers need to hang out where their audience hangs out and become part of the conversation.
And social media is the meeting place for these conversations. Anecdotes, events, photos and videos are all part of the dialogue. And the good news for the modern marketer is that brand distinction has never been more relevant.
A modern tribal culture
This new social free-for-all is not homogenous. Commodities have no place in this world. Facebook has become a tribal hub of “friends” and “like” minded individuals. Twitter has become the cult leader of opinion with its flocks of followers. In this writhing mass of messaging, the individual need for a point of difference has never been stronger. The brand differential is now EVERYTHING.
Ronny Ruhlmann began his career as an award-winning Website designer, having designed and built his first website for Honda in 1997. He currently devotes most of his time to working with CEO's to deliver integrated strategic business outcomes. He is passionate about life, design and the Internet User Experience. He is Founder and Managing Director of cloud-based website builder, OnePage.com.au.