Four lessons when communicating with consumers
Recently, five fabulous members of the Bastion Amplify team attended Mumbrella 360 to take the pulse of an industry in flux. Professional marketers and communicators need to have a deep understanding of how consumers are taking in information, and how changes in these behaviours will impact the future of consumer engagement.
That’s why our team here at Bastion Amplify loves attending events like Mumbrella 360 – we are continually looking for new information and insights that give our clients the cutting edge. So, what were biggest lessons we took away from the event? We’ve brought together four insights that everyone in the business of communicating with consumers should know.
Lesson Number One – The Metaverse has arrived, get used to it!
Is the metaverse the newest market for digital OOH?
According to Phill Hall from Ocean Outdoor UK and Industry legend Anna Parsons, the Metaverse is expected to contribute $3 trillion to global GDP by 2030 and ultimately be the new digital OOH.
But let’s take a step back… don’t know what the metaverse is? The metaverse is a virtual reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. Plenty of us (mostly Gen Z’s) are already big users, and brands are starting to get on board.
It is said to be a far less cluttered space for brands to push their product and activate their brand in a really creative, engaging and far more cost-effective way. Just imagine going into the metaverse, seeing something that you like, and going and purchasing it in the real world? This could be anything from fashion, food or retail, to land / property which showcases how your future home could look.
As we move from viewing content to immersive content, the latest in virtual technology is bringing brand new media opportunities and an entirely new realm of DOOH to life.
The Metaverse is cool, but how can brands use it now?
A lot has been said about the potential for brands to utilise the Metaverse, but a lot of these ideas seem way too far in the future or too fanciful to even get off the ground. However, what was really insightful from the conference, was the potential in the Metaverse right now for brands to do something innovative and unique.
Brands shouldn’t be afraid of embracing these new frontiers, especially as there are rich territories for brands to be first-in-market within the metaverse. How do you get started? Talk to your agency partners, you’ll be amazed at how many brand campaigns and concepts can transfer into a digitised landscape, which can also greatly broaden the reach and engagement of your campaign.
Lesson Number Two – The consumer is now in charge!
Sustainability Goes Local
According to a new global survey conducted by WE, Australians are bringing their sustainability values down to the grassroots level. While they align with global standards of demanding action from the business community on creating a greener future, Aussies specifically want tangible community action from businesses that seek to minimise or address issues related to climate change.
What does this insight look like? Well, it’s a business committing to helping the NSW North Coast rebuild post-floods or businesses implementing financial support for farmers experiencing drought. It’s all about how businesses are actually helping address the human impact of climate change – while also delivering on broader goals to lower the world’s carbon footprint. In fact, Bastion Amplify recently helped facilitated media at the Forktree Project and tree planting working bee at Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia – a perfect example of exactly the type of action Australians want to see.
How to Design (and Grow) Your Brand for Trust
Many big brands in the last two years have lost a lot of trust from their audiences. Sure, a pandemic hasn’t helped, but a lot of big brands also didn’t help themselves when they were given opportunities to rebuild it.
Trust is the foundation for any lasting relationship, yet many brands still struggle to build it, which reduces spend, loyalty and advocacy. This comes from a lot of brands putting in place reactive measures to managing feedback and complaints, not having enough resources on hand to tackle the growing number of enquiries and also not implementing trust internally. Ensuring trust between a brand and its customers actually starts from within the team itself, allowing employees to manage their own responsibilities / strategies without having everything micromanaged by their senior leaders.
With the mistakes made by bigger brands in the last two years, this lends opportunities to smaller / middle sized brands or start-ups to learn from these mistakes and engage the customers who are considering making the move to use their service instead by building a new relationship based on trust from the outset.
WeAre8 and the New Way Forward for Social Media
Over the past few years, the roles and responsibilities of social media platforms has been thrust into the spotlight like never before. We’re talking everything from fake news, hate speech, and ads – so. many. ads. Those same ads have also become a race to the bottom, with ‘best practice’ being to make shorter and shorter video ads to match our waning attention span.
Founded by an Aussie tech entrepreneur, WeAre8 is marketing itself as a new age social platform that is seeking to harness the best things from social media while leaving out the worst. For 8 minutes a day users are shown ‘inspirational’ content and then the idea is they get out and live their lives instead of endlessly scrolling. Also, instead of users being shown an indiscriminate amount of ads, they choose to view ads on their own terms (results are really strong compared to traditional social ads) – and the kicker is for every ad they view, money is donated to charity and to offset carbon.
Lesson Number Three – More so than ever before, make it relevant, cool and contextual!
The State of Shared Experience in a Time of Hyper-Personalisation
The algorithms driving today’s streaming services have changed the way we seek out and consume content. What we want, when we want it, even when we didn’t realise we wanted it, on whichever device we choose – it’s all there, and it’s all laid out specifically for us according to our tastes, moods and time of day.
In this session we explored the ‘magic’ of why collective cultural moments are so powerful – for example why watching a big sporting match live on tv is so much more fulfilling than watching a replay at your own leisure after it’s happened, or the watercooler conversations happening the day after a Married at First Sight episode airs (as opposed to bingeing the whole season in a day). This talk was great in the sense that it highlighted the boundaries of our hyper-personalised world and reinforces that brands can still very much leverage shared cultural moments to drive recognition and impact.
All That We Cannot Leave Behind: How Nostalgia is the New Cool
From Millennials’ obsession with the ‘90s, to an endless stream of TV re-runs, to millions flocking to watch aging rock stars in leather pants, nostalgia is one of marketing’s most powerful yet under-appreciated devices.
Tyler Greer, Head of Strat @ Mediacom shared some incredible insights into how nostalgia, when used correctly, can provide consumers with an emotional experience – most interestingly, often with people who weren’t alive in (or old enough to properly remember) the decades they’re reminiscing about.
It’s impossible to ignore the nostalgia impact major franchises recreated – Star Wars: The Force Awakens was essentially a retelling of 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope – with enough of the original to bring audiences new and old along for the ride. Stranger Things put Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill at the top of the Billboard 100 almost 30 years after it flopped on release. Metallica has a wave of new fans who’ve only ever heard Master of Puppets because of the Netflix Series.
The children of the ‘90s, fresh off the Wall Street fuelled excesses of the ‘80s, Desert Storm and Reagonomics, who created their own post-punk counterculture of music and anti-establishment moments – there’s a parallel between them and Gen Z of today. These kids were born and raised into an era of social-media capital C “Celebrity” excess, have only ever known the world post-9/11, and economic uncertainty that has them relating to and pining for the idealised versions of ‘90s life as if they were actually there. While we often see fashion as cyclical, it may, in fact, be that it’s this same nostalgia that carries it forward.
Lesson Number Four (more of a reminder) – In agency-land, expectations are everything!
Client Longevity = Better Brand Outcomes
Is it better to stick with your retained agency or go out to pitch? This is a quandary that faces many clients and drives many comms agencies up the wall. Well, we got close to an answer for this question! Or at least acknowledged agency turnover as a pressing issue for the comms industry.
Spark Foundry did a sweeping study on the effectiveness of client longevity on actual brand outcomes and found that sticking with an agency definitely brings better brand outcomes as the years go on, but agencies need to get better at closing the gap between expectation and reality to lower client dissatisfaction.
The findings outlined that average retainer time periods have reduced from 7 years in the 1980s to 2.5 years in 2022, with brands much more frequently shopping around in recent years. This can be traced to the fracturing and explosion of agencies but has also parleyed into a culture of ‘comms FOMO’, with brands thinking their missing out on something.
The solution? Well, it’s pretty simple – we need to be more honest and upfront with clients about the likely outcomes of their preferred strategy. Interestingly, this gap was significantly more impactful on a client relationship than staff consistency – brands can manage the release of old staff and acceptance of new staff members if honesty is at the core of the relationship.
Influencer marketing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
For better or worse, the impact of COVID-19 has been felt widely – within our industry, marketing budgets are under scrutiny, campaigns are in limbo and brands are doing their best to navigate through these unprecedented times by pivoting, pausing, or in some case cancelling campaigns altogether.
Among this uncertainty it has become evident that digital marketing is on the increase, as consumers spend more time on devices, get more comfortable buying online and marketers look for efficient ways to move inventory.
It begs the question as to where influencer marketing sits in all of this?
While most of the world has come to a halt, the collective craving for community and authenticity has only increased. Social influencers have become more relatable. Just like the rest of us, they are self-isolating and sharing very personal experiences – directly from their loungerooms to ours. As marketers, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of this.
Influencers doing it well are building stronger, deeper connections with their audiences, making their endorsement more valuable than ever before. For brands, this presents an opportunity to grow their share of voice online and connect with consumers in a more meaningful and impactful way. If done right, the connections made now will last well after the crisis has passed.
However, it is important to consider your approach to messaging with influencers. Sales based campaigns aren’t quite right for now. Consumers are increasingly looking for helpful and hopeful content and seeking out a sense of “community” to help satisfy their longing for personal interactions – be it with friends, family, colleagues and even influencers. They are hungry to know more and eager to find ways to cope. In fact industry research shows 70% of influencers’ audiences are turning to them for guidance during the crisis.
While the basic Do’s and Don’ts of influencer marketing remain, brands do need to navigate through this carefully. Below are a few key considerations marketers need to keep in mind when looking to implement a successful influencer marketing campaign amidst the current environment.
Understand your customer’s mindset
Influencer marketing is about understanding your customer’s mindset – what drives them – and being able to generate a positive message and feeling while delivering content that is unquestionably genuine and not generated purely by self-interest. Timely, purpose-led and empathetic storytelling is key.
Influencers’ reach does not trump relevance and authenticity
You need to re-evaluate your mindset in terms of what metrics are most important to you and what authenticity and relevance means to your brand. Don’t be blinded by the number of followers an influencer has as this doesn’t necessarily translate to authenticity and credibility. First and foremost, you need to foster relationships with influencers who have a natural brand alignment and shared ethics.
Brands need to put a higher focus on social responsibility
While brands are in the business to sell, social responsibility has never been more important than now. Brands are responsible for supplying consumers with content in a moral, conscientious and transparent manner. It’s important you re-think the way your brand would traditionally work with influencers to seed product and messaging, because transparency is critical in times of uncertainty.
Consider your messaging and tone of voice
Don’t be silent or tone deaf through all of this and avoid using language that can be perceived as negative or scary. Instead, provide context to the situation and work with influencers to offer solutions and inspirations – this can really help “humanise” your brand. You can acknowledge the situation at hand by using hashtags like #StaySafe and #StayHomeWith[insertbrand] and stickers that raise awareness, for example Instagram’s “Stay at Home” sticker.
Continue to reassess, always
Just as the Coronavirus situation is evolving rapidly, so should your brand’s influencer strategy, creative and messaging. Don’t be left behind – what was relevant one week ago might not be appropriate today. When engaging influencers, do your due diligence upfront and keep the brief flexible to allow for any necessary amends.
No doubt, the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak will last for a long time. Through this, influencer marketing shouldn’t come to a standstill, but rather, brands should embrace this as an opportunity to harness authentic relationships and connect with consumers through purpose-led content – whether it’s educating or bringing them laughter, joy or inspiration. After all, we are all humans, full of emotions and desire to form meaningful connections, even in times of crisis.
Manningham Council Appoints Bastion Effect for New Local Tourism Campaign
Bastion Effect is excited to be rolling out a new tourism campaign to drive visitation to the Doncaster and Warrandyte region of Melbourne, after winning a competitive tender called by Manningham Council.
Working with sister agencies Bastion State (creative and digital) and Bastion Latitude (research and insights), Bastion Effect has been appointed to deliver a new creative positioning for the area and showcase it through compelling content and influencer engagement.
Bastion has developed a visual identity for the campaign and a core theme that highlights both the natural and urban delights of the area. The campaign will include the development of a short social media video series as well as an influencer campaign to drive day trippers and regional visitors to artistic, delectable and historic destinations such as Heide Museum of Modern Art, Kellybrook Winery and Mullum Mullum Trail.
Bastion Effect CEO Richard Chapman said: ”We are really excited to have the opportunity to showcase the hidden attractions of Manningham to a broader audience. This campaign is an example of the power of the Bastion Collective. Our solution brings together the research-driven approach of Bastion Latitude, the creative nous of Bastion State, and the influencer expertise of Bastion Effect, creating a tailor made solution for Manningham Council.”
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