This article is best read when you take off your marketing hat. Shed your professional role, and get back to being a person.
People – by that I mean human beings – care very little about Apple. Just like they don’t care about Honda. Or Nike. Or Coca-Cola. People never really cared about these companies, in the emotional sense. The recent Meaningful Brands report by Havas (http://www.meaningful-brands.com/) shows us that most people would not care if 74 per cent of all brands disappeared for good.
What makes a brand meaningful?
We need to look at what people really care about: family, friends, ourselves. We care about looking good and feeling healthy. We want to eat when we’re hungry. Sleep when we’re tired. We want to perform at our best in school, at work, or on the playing field.
People become loyal to brands that fulfil their wants and needs. The brands that make us feel safe, comfortable and happy become meaningful to us. So what does this have to do with the future of digital marketing? “Digital” is the rapid evolution of technology and access. It has driven change in human behaviour – how we perceive, receive and communicate. Not online, or social, or smartphones. Those are just tools. This is a shift in how we find and consume content, and have meaningful experiences. Many challenges lie ahead and we must evolve or fade away.
Challenge: The agency/client relationship has, and will continue, to drift. Traditional agency roles and traditional marketing channels are losing relevance. We must adapt to this new marketplace, and identify clear, better, more relevant metrics for success.
Solution: Adapt to new production models and be responsive to constant change. By finding new partners, identifying new processes and working in an agile start-up method, we’ll be better prepared to deliver meaningful brand experiences to an audience’s expectations.
Challenge: Marketing budgets are getting smaller and stretched across more channels, resulting in fragmentation of budgets across traditional offline, broadcast, CRM, display, social, mobile and more. The end result is large sums of budgets going towards the wrong channel at the wrong time. Solution: The brands that fulfil peoples’ needs at the right time, in the right context will win. Marketing must be positioned to create dialogue with people. The most successful brands of the future will capture people’s hearts with powerful storytelling and engagement, in the right context from mobile to desktop to social to wearables and more. Brands must reassess marketing budgets and optimise the best media to be contextual to peoples’ needs and wants.
Challenge: Audiences are increasingly tuning out of our marketing messages. They’re consuming new kinds of content in very different ways. This will continue to be the case as the next generation of spenders seek content within their own context.
Solution: There will be less media spend on TV and other traditional media as we focus more on storytelling. Successful brands will get ahead of audience expectations by diversifying media channels to reach new audiences, through different, more relevant kinds of content.
It’s evident that the current model of promoting brands, products and services is outdated. No longer a product-oriented approach of repetition, or segmentation. We need to evolve with technology and the access it provides to drive Human Brands that create a meaningful dialogue with people, not a target audience.
Michael Lisboa is an experience director, Havas Drive, Havas Worldwide Bangkok.