According to an article on Fast Company.com “Digital media form an intrinsic part of consumers’ interactions with businesses. So it follows that digital should be central to building relationships with your customers and enhancing their experience. Yet rather than taking a holistic approach, many businesses just use digital media as a promotional or idea generation tool.” While I agree this is true for some products it does not apply to other products. Just look in your fridge and tell me how many of those products/brands digital was an important tactic to get you to purchase them ?
Consumer-created content and conversations are driving organizations’ image, reputation and bottom line. This represents a significant shift in dynamic. As consumers become increasingly influential, businesses are becoming less powerful. Of course this is true but ask yourself this question as well “who controls our brand ?” Many marketers like to think that consumers control their brand but that is bunk. You control your brand but the days of one way conversations are over. No longer can you push irrelevant messages in a time of information overload where time is the new currency.
Now the article was written by someone at Interbrands and I am always a little skeptical when I see an agency person writing an article because they usually are doing it to get more business or support the fact that they are asking clients to invest a lot more in their digital marketing. Sure, you can invest more in digital marketing, but SHOULD you invest more in digital marketing ? The answer to that is understanding what drives a consumers to become a customer and also understanding that only 23% of the consumers in a study said they have a relationship with a brand. In the typical consumer’s view of the world, relationships are reserved for friends, family and colleagues. That’s why, when you ask the 77% of consumers who don’t have relationships with brands to explain why, you get comments like “It’s just a brand, not a member of my family.” (What consumers really want when they interact with brands online is to get discounts).
Another key point of this article that I have a problem with is this notion that interactions build brands and lead to conversion. No, they don’t. Shared values build relationships. A shared value is a belief that both the brand and consumer have about a brand’s higher purpose or broad philosophy. For example, Pedigree Dog Food’s shared value is a belief that every dog deserves a loving home. Southwest Airlines’ shared value revolves around the democratization of air travel.
Of the consumers in a study who said they have a brand relationship, 64% cited shared values as the primary reason. That’s far and away the largest driver. Meanwhile, only 13% cited frequent interactions with the brand as a reason for having a relationship.
Agencies love brands and marketers to invest more in digital marketing because it can be a bottomless pit of invoices from agencies. Understand just how important digital is to your brand and invest according to its importance to consumers not your agency.