I’m no futurist, but the more Gullan&Gullan offers its clients digital and social media services the more we have to be at the cutting edge of online communication strategies and trends. Here are some online trends to look out for in 2011.
1. Pay attention to consumer attention
There are so many tools to measure digital marketing initiatives but my fear is that too many marketers rely on reach and impression metrics to measure the number of eyeballs that may come into contact with your brand in the online space. Unfortunately, impressions might not offer accurate results especially in spaces that are outrageously cluttered.
Facebook for example, can be personalised based on the individual’s preferences. This means that Facebook ads and news posts may literally be hidden by the user, or may be lost in the clutter. Twitter has a deluge of tweets going out every second –many will never be seen.
2. Brands as content curators
The ability for people to create content is another interesting phenomenon that marketers should be mindful of. First, there is a myriad of information sources to choose from on any one topic or search term. Secondly, there is often too much info and too little time resulting in user information overload.
The marketing trend?
Brands can become curators sorting out the high-brow from the low-brow – depending on their strategy. For example: Vespa South Africa recently curated movies people made about the brand in its Vespa Takeone campaign. The campaign called for its online community to vote for the best movie. This created a viral effect placing the brand in front of more eyeballs than the original target audience. In addition, the movies were authentic as told by real people that resulted in the campaign being even more effective.
3. Brands as utility
Digital has changed consumers viewing habits. They want uninterrupted entertainment, on demand. And they want it through the device of their choice. On top of that, they want to participate in and even be part of the entertainment.
This is why brands that offer value added utilities will break through. Instead of the old interruptive marketing model, or cobbled product placement, marketers will start creating value added utility that will enrich the audience’s entertainment. For example, Gullan&Gullan assisted in the launch of Women’s Health magazine last year and part of the brand strategy is to offer its readers value added utilities, such as online BMI calculators, exercise DVDs and calorie counters.
4. More media snacking on rich brand stories
People love stories. And technology has changed the way consumers’ share stories. We’re now a society of media snackers, skipping from one piece of content to the next across a variety of platforms.
Marketers need to recognise that not everyone will digest a story from start to finish. And remember that a story that’s told on Facebook should be different from what’s conveyed in a mobile application or through online video. Also, stories should be told in an authentic voice relevant to the platform.
5. Thought leadership
Consumers are more inclined to research reviews and opinions from experts before making purchasing decisions. Marketers will do well to activate credible experts who can become “brand ambassadors” and create or curate content and conversations about their brands. At Gullan&Gullan we have had much success achieving this for our clients with our online PR activities. In addition this can be achieved by deploying ambassadors into social spaces that your brand owns, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.