Yelling loudly in a parking lot

A few weeks ago I wandered past a parking lot on my way home. There was a chap in there that had clearly had a few too many pints and was yelling indecipherable nonsense at the top of his lungs.

This parking lot wasn’t remote, in fact during the day it is a busy and frantic business district but it was near empty at this time of the evening.
So while me, and a few other passers-by would have had a chance to see and hear the man, most of the people he could have bothered had already left.

A lot of brands these days remind me of this man, drunkenly hurling messaging into an almost empty space with only passers-by to bear witness.

The promise of a connected social web where consumers share, engage and love brands has turned out to be a myth. Social channels organic reach is fast approaching zero, meaning even those high-loyalty consumers who connected to you are not seeing your communications. Evidence of brand building or sales growth from these channels is negligible for mass brands, and the cost to produce and manage “always-on content” has spiralled out of control.

To recover from this there is a need to remember that while media channels have become increasingly fragmented, and consumer access to information has grown exponentially the role of advertising for brands remains as it always has; to be a nudge towards selecting Brand X over Brand Y when at the shelf.

The people we are most able to nudge are those who are promiscuous in the category. These are also the least likely to connect with you on social media as they are not heavy users of your brand – it of course makes sense that those who use your product most in turn like it most and as such are most likely to want to ‘connect’ with the brand in some way.

So brands need to focus not on forming deep relationships and connections with consumers, but on using mass media (including digital and social) to deliver fewer, higher-quality assets to as many people within your target audience as possible.

That way they can be speaking to a crowd from a podium, instead of drunkenly yelling in a parking lot.

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