We all know that communications and the industry that fuels it is changing. It’s nothing new. People have been saying it for years. It seems that there is always someone who screams, this media is dead or that media is dead and people no longer like brands at all, what are you going to do?
The truth is, everything has changed. Brands really need to get their act together and figure out that people no longer want to be sold to. At all. They hate the gimmicks. They know brands are trying to scam them. They hate the manipulation and the tactics some brands take to force feed their content to consumers. (pre-roll ads)
Ring, ring. Wake up call here. Brands, stop hard selling. Seriously.
Don’t lure them with gimmicks. Don’t flood their day with annoying bullshit. Just listen to them. When you do that, they will tell exactly what they want and how they want it. All you have to do is fulfill that need.
It’s that easy.
But what about the adage of “people don’t know what they want until you give it to them”?
That only holds true if you have a new product that is redefining a category. If someone is going to shop for soap, chances are they know they want to buy soap.
But how to do you make sure they choose your brand? Easy. You listen to what they want in a product and you make it. But what if multiple brands do that? Easy, just focus on the community you have developed through social media channels with your consumers.
Don’t try to sell the entire world your product. Focus on the core target of people that trust you. (We call them Influencers) Slowly that group will grow. Most importantly that group will be loyal to you. Soon, that small group will be a large group. (Influencers spread their love of the product to Early adopters, they in return spread the word to the masses).
It’s your job as a brand to maintain the product quality and service during that growth. But eventually you will reach a point where you max out your growth. Then what?
Maintain it. The dilemma happens when companies try to go for world domination with their brands. Obtaining large portions of the mass market means companies need to make changes to be more efficient in order to keep up with demand. That usually means cutting product quality. Consumers know that big companies aren’t forthcoming with product information. McDonalds having questionable ingredients in it’s meat, Subway having toxic chemicals in it’s bread, the only way this information gets out is from a third party exposing them. And then brands wonder why they have trouble building credibility and loyalty from consumers.
It’s time to wake up and treat consumers with respect. Give them honest products that won’t harm them. Products that really do have their best interest in mine and not just the financial gain of the company.
When I work with small businesses and help them get started in building their brands I always ask them one question – “Why are you doing what you’re doing?”. Usually the answer is to make money. Then I answer with “You’re company will be dead in six months.” They don’t like that answer very much but it’s true. No consumer wants to buy a product or service whose sole purpose for being created is so the companies behind it can get rich. Find a reason to do what you do, make it personal, make it human. Make it relevant. And then grow your consumer base one person at a time, honestly and wholesomely.
It’s a new era of communication but sticking to old fashion values is still the answer. It always has been and always will be.
Until next time.