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December 26, 2011, 4:41 am UTC
We look at social, cultural, technological and political trends of 2011 to find out what they teach us about branding and marketing
It is that time of the year when you take stock of the past year so that you can build your road map for the next. At imediaconnections.co.in we take stock of a few learning that the changing tide of events and technological growth in 2011 give all of us.
Socialize with your customer, talk directly to them: 2011 was the year when social media finally showed it true strength. Riding on the growth of technology, social media reached the nooks and corners of the world that was previously thought unreachable. What this has meant in terms of branding and marketing is that you now no longer have the luxury of ‘mass’ communication. The customer will no longer buy the old world ‘one message fits all’ formula. You have to individualize and you have to socialize with your customers vial social media, be it Twitter or Facebook or any other means. Today it is not about convincing your customer about a product, but about initiating a conversation with him and letting him be convinced himself. Nothing stayed away from the purview of social media, neither news nor revolutions.
Most people got breaking news not from the 24x7 news channels, but from their Twitter and Facebook walls. Not just that, the two social media giants helped fuel revolutions in the Middle East, India and the western world. So, if there was any strong message this year, it was that you can no longer relegate social media to the periphery of your branding or marketing exercise. In 2012, it will become the centre of your universe.
Recession continues smarten up: The markets recovered after the recession of 2008-09. Or so we thought. As the volatile markets of 2011, the fall of the dollar, the rising oil prices and the volatility in the middle east and even in European countries like Greece have shown us, the recession is far from over. For the marketing and branding man the message is to not splurge money needlessly. Invest wisely in your message. Make every penny count. And developments in the social media landscape and its widening reach have indeed allowed the branding and marketing people to do this. The use of the same will definitely increase in 2012.
Tell the truth, consumers will find out anyway: Today, with the increase in mobile services across the world as also the devices that carry these, information is literally at the tip of a consumer’s fingers. Hence, one of the greatest lesson branding and marketing professionals should learn from 2011 is to be honest. Tell your consumers the truth for if you don’t, they will find out anyways.
The consumer is not an idiot, adapt: Before the ‘Arab Spring’ shook the world off its wits, it was believed that the age of revolution is passé. As it turned out in 2011, it is not so. Very few corners of the world were spared unrest and revolutions in 2011. It is not that people were unaware before, it is just that with revolution brewing in one corner, others felt inspired and this fuelled revolutions in other corners. What the marketing and branding wo/man needs to remember from this is one little thing: the consumer is not an idiot. Indeed, s/he is just the reverse. Today they are aware and connected. And if you managed to fool them in the past, stop now. For it did not work in 2011 and in 2012 it won’t work either. The solution is thus to adapt to the changing times. To give consumers the best and they will reciprocate to the same.
It pays to care for the planet: It was not just nations and markets that warmed up to change. The planet is also warming up faster than expected. And the best thing is that the awareness of the same is spreading amongst consumers. As it has been increasingly seen in the last few years, it pays for brands to seem caring for the environment. Consumers will like you better if you care for their home, i.e. planet earth.
The world doesn’t end, keep growing: Doomsday predictions come and go, the world goes on. The world was supposed to end in 2012. Earlier the world was also supposed to come to a halt at the turn of the century as the Y2K computer virus was expected to hit. But as we have seen, the world is stubborn, it survives every time. As you move deeper and deeper into 2012, you’ll realize the same about 2012 being the end of the world. Hence, predictions about end of the world or rise and fall of markets are at one place. But what you need to remember is that things to do go on. And the brand that survives, is the one that keeps adapting and growing no matter what the times or the situation. Thus, don’t stop or pause too much because of some generic predictions. Go on, learn, adapt and whatever happens to the world, if you are on the right path, your brand will survive.
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