If you are keeping up with marketing trends, then you know that 2012 is all about content, curation and community – that is, inviting your consumers to co-create your brand identity and values through interactivity. How is all this excitement happening? Through social technology.
The trends for cause marketing are the same, except by adding purpose to your marketing, you create an authentic and meaningful reason to interact with your consumers. That’s gold in the age of ‘new consumers’ who care about the social/eco footprint of the brands they identify with.
So how can your brand create a relevant, transparent and meaningful experience that delights your consumers and drives brand interaction? Start with what your consumers care about – make it about them, solve a need, fulfill a want, speak to an issue they care about. Then layer in your brand values and personality to add that stickiness and incite loyalty.
A perfect example of a brand curating a consumer experience that puts people’s needs and social connections front and center is P&G’s Charmin toilet paper brand and its ‘Sit or Squat’ smartphone app. Charmin crowdsources recommendations from brand enthusiasts for public restrooms around the world. Charmin recognized a universal need, and decided to improve upon the awkward, but necessary process of finding a clean bathroom on the go.
While competitor Georgia-Pacific’s Quilted Northern brand is telling consumers “It’s time to get real about what happens in the bathroom,” Charmin is actually helping consumers get real information that makes their day a little easier. Let’s face it, we don’t really want to ‘get real’ with our toilet paper brand, but we do want it to perform as promised. When that brand solves an unspoken need and brings us into a shared experience beyond the brand promise, then we’re seeing content, curation and community in action. And that’s something to ‘get real’ about.
Here’s why the ‘Sit or Squat’ initiative works:
- Encourages consumer-driven recommendations (wisdom of the crown)
- Leverages social channels to reinforce the conversation
- Provides local, relevant info when you need it most
- Is optimized for a mobile experience (maps, easy interface)
- Solves a need that makes sense in the brand context
- Provides a value-add beyond the physical product attributes
- Allows the consumer to take the brand beyond the home
Pawan Deshpande, founder and CEO of HiveFire, shares content marketing trends shaping B2C and B2B engagement in 2012. The key takeaway is to remain authentic and strive to deliver the right information at the right time on the right channel for your customers. As Brian Solis argues in his latest book, The End of Business As Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution, success in the networked economy requires more than content – you must provide the context and create mutual value. The era of broadcast marketing is truly over.
The following trends are particularly relevant for cause marketers because social good campaigns, at their core, are really about an emotional connection to the cause. Storytelling and context are vital to connecting your customers to your cause campaign. You have to make them pay attention at a time when they are bombarded with information and invitations from all over the on and offline worlds.
How do you do that? You make the call to action all about them – not about you. Putting content and context at the heart of your engagement strategy will ensure that you design a campaign that is meaningful and relevant to the individual and celebrates a collective impact.
“2012 will be the ‘year of specialization within content marketing’.” – Pawan Deshpande
Out: Passing Off Marketing Materials as Content
In: Incorporating Your Brand's Message Into a Larger Story
Out: Traditional Content Channels (i.e. RSS Feeds)
In: The Next Big Thing (2012’s version of Google+ or the Tablet)
Out: Stealing Content From Other Sources Without Proper Attribution
In: Curating Content From Multiple Sources, Including Your Competitors
Search Engine Optimization
Out: Driving SEO by Content Alone
In: Viewing Your Social Media Presence as an Extension of Your Overall SEO Strategy
You can read the full post on MarketingProfs.com