Many are the tactics that brands deploy these days across all platforms of human outreach. Still, consumers in 2014 are in emotional rebellion, causing brands to rethink not just their campaign budgets but their subliminal desires to touch audiences with an emotional hook. One wonders what’s wrong with audiences when they do not respond well to advertising, and the answer is pretty much this: consumers have shaken themselves out of their 2008-11 crisis "funk" and have adopted a reactionary approach to the world and everything in it. Consumers are bringing the Bauhaus back: less is more, simple is better, individually gathering a social collective that is rebuilding a new world order by sheer disruption of the system, putting counterculture on the menu, Breaking Bad-style – "I am the one who knocks", which translates into: "I’m the one who Tweets."
It is the Instagram avengers who decide what everyone should buy off the shelves within seconds. The social media content publisher is not Condé Nast but your younger sister who apparently is followed by tens of thousands on Instagram. Dissatisfied and suspicious of "cheap" marketing tactics, consumers are taking brand messages into their own hands via their individual weapons of mass distribution: social media.
Suspicious of 'cheap' marketing tactics, people are taking brand messages into their own hands
The average consumer mentions specific brands 90 times per week in conversations with friends, family and co-workers. A whopping 92 per cent of people trust social recommendations from people they know, and confirm that friends and family impact purchase the most (87 per cent). Why are other people’s feelings and personal takes so important? Because, today, the societal trend nestled in the heart of every consumer is the old poem that Muhammad Ali recited at a Harvard class of 1975 commencement address: "Me, We." We are all one, so if a product works for you, I’m going to go with your Webber recommendation no matter how many times I’m blasted with a banner on barbecues on the John Lewis newsletter.
People are connected to each other not just digitally but also emotionally. The trust in personal recommendations prevails even when the product reviews may have been paid by the brand – with free products or perhaps a cheque for becoming brand ambassadors. We still subscribe to their personal YouTube channel and watch with devotion how they wax lyrical on tech gadgets or beauty products.
People want more, they want it better and they want it now. The code word is "love", whether I Tweet "Love my new trainers" or Lily Allen Instagrams "LOVE my new Air Balloon nails designed by winner @sincerelykimbui". Brands must be part of this conversation. They have to graciously hijack the one-to-many recommendations and hack the new micro-branding.
Inma Martinez is chief executive at Swoon Media
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