Think BR: The fear of missing out
How can smart brands make the most of people's fear of missing out, asks Dom Robertson, managing director, RPM.
Dom Robertson, managing director, RPM
The number of social media platforms is increasing at a fast rate and consumers are choosing to share their experiences online more than ever.
Facebook now commands more than 800 million registered users, with 50% of those logging on at least once a day, and Twitter can point to over 460 million accounts with over 250 million tweets logged daily.
This fanatical drive to publish our lives online means that our friends, colleagues and peers are exposed to a visual account of our existence 24/7 and we become constant ‘observers’ to this social flurry.
This has led Marketers to diagnose a new kind of social anxiety: The fear of missing out’, or ‘FOMO’ for short.
According to JWT’s ‘Fear of Missing Out’ report, 18% of people under 25 cannot go more than a couple of hours without checking Facebook and 65% of 18-33 year olds agree that when they see their friends or peers doing something that they are not involved in, they feel they have missed out.
With the 21st century consumer clearly more caught up than ever with not missing out, how are brands engaging with it?
Some have identified FOMO and used it to create experiences that positively play on it.
For example, Australian entertainment guide Citysearch touched on FOMO quite explicitly.
They created a YouTube clip featuring a doctor’s diagnosis of FOMO. He tells consumers that in order not to miss out on what is happening in Sydney, consumers should treat themselves to ‘a regular dose of Citysearch’.
Similarly, STA Travel has written a light hearted definition of FOMO and used a competition mechanic to invite consumers to tell them about the last trip they missed, in order to win a trip to that particular destination.
They even provide a ‘cure’ to FOMO by advising consumers to book holidays to various destinations.
To truly engage with consumers and use FOMO to its true advantage, brands need to take their approach one step further.
Smirnoff plays on FOMO by creating original events and then ensures it's the brand that helps consumers not to miss out.
It creates ‘one of a kind’ experiences while also facilitating the way in which consumers engage with them, which helps to build trust amongst consumers and eventually brand advocacy.
Smirnoff’s ‘Be There’ message ensures it hosts unique events like ‘The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange’ and ‘Smirnoff UR The Night’, and it uses social media sites like Facebook to heavily involve consumers on how the night will run, drawing out this engagement pre, during and post event.
In the case of Smirnoff UR The Night, consumers were asked to vote for cocktails, DJ’s and themes in order to win tickets to attend the event.
Again with the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange, during which London swapped nightlife with Jamaica, consumers were asked to submit their ideas for the best London nightlife in order to win tickets.
What Smirnoff is offering is exclusivity coupled with inclusivity, and in the case of FOMO, this approach really works.
With the proliferation of real-time, location-based social media, consumers are more preoccupied than ever with not missing out, so the key to approaching FOMO strategically is to ensure your brand offers a value exchange, such as an exclusive event, as well as plenty of opportunity for consumers to interact with or contribute to it.
By building engaged online communities around your event, brands become the facilitators of engagement, and maximise post-event brand loyalty.
Dom Robertson, managing director, RPM
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