Ambassador [Dr] Charles O’Tudor is the Group Principal Consultant of Adstrat BMC, Africa’s premier brand management consulting firm.
I would like to start by quoting Samuel Scott’s last paragraph from his in-depth piece titled “How Google Analytics ruined marketing.”
“There is a whole world of marketing out there beyond attempts to answer the flawed question: What content should I publish on my website to get the most traffic and customers?
Here is the real question to ask: How would you market yourself if the Internet didn’t exist? Answer that, and it’ll help your online marketing too.”
THE NEW MARS
5.16 billion; this figure by Statista is the number of internet users globally as of January 2023. This is a stunning 64.4% of the global population. Of this total, 4.76 billion people, or 59.4 per cent of the world’s population, were social media users.
The internet has become the ninth planet in our solar system, and its population keeps growing.
The marketing communications industry has undergone significant changes in recent years. With the advent of new technologies, the proliferation of social media platforms, and the rise of the internet, the way brands communicate with consumers has been transformed. As a result, brand management has become increasingly complex, requiring a sophisticated understanding of consumer behaviour, market trends, and the latest digital tools.
One of the biggest challenges facing marketers today is the fragmentation of media. Consumers now have access to an unprecedented array of platforms, each with its unique audience and set of communication channels. This has made it difficult for brands to develop coherent messaging strategies that can reach all of their target audiences. To succeed in this environment, marketers must be able to tailor their messaging to fit the specific needs and preferences of each platform.
Another challenge facing the marketing communications industry is the growing importance of authenticity. In today’s hyper-connected world, consumers have become increasingly sceptical of traditional advertising methods. They want to engage with brands that are transparent, genuine, and socially responsible. This has led to the rise of influencer marketing, which involves partnering with individuals who have a large following on social media and who can help to promote a brand’s message in an authentic and relatable way.
But this is also not entirely foolproof; according to Meta, which owns competitor platforms Facebook and Instagram, it estimates that fake accounts represent about 5% of monthly active Facebook users, based on its most recent 2021 fourth-quarter data.
Since influencer marketing has grown in popularity, a new type of fakery called FAKE FOLLOWERS has emerged. Hundreds of accounts interacting with a product are no longer sufficient to judge its authenticity; instead, customers require more established channels of contact with both real and fake products and services.
At the same time, marketers must also be mindful of the need to protect their brand’s reputation. A single error can swiftly spin out of hand and harm a brand’s standing in the age of fast feedback and internet reviews. Brands must be aware of their core values and be prepared to act quickly when those values are violated to prevent this.
THE NUMBERS GAME
“Doing business without data may make a company’s life easier—but it will definitely make it shorter.” – Brand Trust.
Looking ahead, the future of brand management will likely be shaped by several emerging trends. For example, the growing importance of data analytics will make it possible for brands to develop highly targeted and personalised messaging strategies. At the same time, advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning will enable marketers to automate many of their processes, allowing them to focus more on developing creative and strategic messaging. In all of these influences, the greatest hack for brand management consultants is to stick to the basics of Brand Management, understanding the core of a brand’s existence, the why, and how to express that why in a way that helps the brand exist with proof.
What are the numbers saying in this regard?
All existing social media platforms gather user information, both actively through the development of user-profiles during platform setup and passively through user interactions and transactions. Businesses use this data to monitor user behaviour both on and off the network, including status updates, likes and dislikes, cookie tracking, photo publishing, etc.
According to Internet Live Stats, 2022, Google processed more than 8.5 billion searches daily.
Total worldwide emails sent per day is 347.3 billion in 2023 – Oberlo.
The average Number of Tweets Sent Per Day is 500 million – SocialShepherd.
70% of Internet users are active on at least one Meta platform – Hootsuite.
As of June 2022, more than 500 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube every minute – Statista.
Brand managers can now learn more quickly, act more decisively, recognize market trends earlier, and appraise them better thanks to data-based brand management. They can also avoid letting experience slow them down.
If you are unaware of the foundational elements of the brand, all these metrics are meaningless to your strategy.
But how do you understand a brand if you do not question its basics, why, how, and feel?
The increasing significance of storytelling is a further significant development. Consumers are inundated with information in the current digital era. Brands must be able to tell captivating tales that connect with their target audience to stand out from the competition and grab their attention. For this, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of consumer psychology and the capacity to create a message that speaks directly to customers’ wants and needs.
In the words of J.K Rowling, “No story lives unless someone wants to listen.”
According to renowned cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner, the human mind is approximately 22 times more likely to remember facts if those facts are part of a story; this is further supported by Search Engine Watch, which states that storytelling can increase conversions by a staggering 30%. Storytelling basically helps prospects remember your message.
The “Share a Coke” campaign, which involves modifying the usual wrapping around the Coca-Cola bottle to say “Share a Coke with…” and a well-known name, is a great illustration of how narrative can lead to conversions. The campaign’s goal was to forge closer ties with customers and elicit happy memories that could be shared.
When Avis management was questioned by DDB, the company’s advertising agency, about why people leased vehicles from them, “We Try Harder” was born. The comment was that Avis will always work harder as the competitor to keep the client happy because it was second in its market after the market leader Hertz. Doyle Dane Bernbach was able to turn being the number two car rental brand in the market into a true marketing advantage. Due to their creative effectiveness, the market share for Avis grew from 29% to 36%.
In conclusion, the marketing communications industry is in a state of constant flux, driven by new technologies, changing consumer behaviours, and evolving market trends. To succeed in this environment, brands must be nimble, adaptable, and willing to take risks. They must leverage the latest digital tools while staying true to their core values and developing authentic relationships with their customers. By doing so, they can build strong, enduring brands that stand the test of time.