Welcome to the Future of Consumer Engagement: Does Your Brand Have What it Takes to Survive?"
This post is part of the September blog series. With FutureM coming in October (do you have your pass yet?!), we're thinking a lot about marketers and consumers, and this series reflects that. We asked our writers to answer this question: "what is it going to take for marketers to catch up to consumers?" We'll be sharing several posts each week of the month. Stay tuned for diverse viewpoints and creative answers to this question. This post is by Spencer Bramson. Spencer is a charismatic and young influence marketing leader who is passionate about connecting brands with college students. As a serial entrepreneur, Spencer left school after sophomore year to co-found Buzz University, a marketing agency that he and his business partner grew to $200k in revenue by age 21. At BuzzU, Spencer managed a team of 180 university ambassadors across New England and personally engaged with hundreds of thousands of students where he captured leads, distributed swag and steered the strategy of college marketing campaigns for ROCKSTAR Energy Drink, MilkyWay, Zumba, and Proctor & Gambel among other well-known consumer packaged goods brands. Spencer has been a presenter at the 2012 Social Media Week and the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), has been awarded the 2011 Future Forward Game Changer and the 2012 Most Likable Entrepreneur and holds 3 WOMMA certifications.
To reach the consumer and truly engage with them has been an age old task. So many marketers today see the connection between consumers and brands to be all about the return, but the fact is it’s about creating a genuine bond. Single campaigns are no more; instead we need to create long-term and engaging communities. At influencers@, we’re all about building brand awareness by connecting with our demographic on a very personal level. The key idea behind marketing is the creation and implementation of the culture and values that a brand wants to embody. It involves more than just producing an awesome product; it has to have a meaning behind it. When you assemble all these pieces correctly, consumers become part of a club that says it’s “cool” to love your product.
Now, we not only engage consumers in new and exciting ways, but we realize that consumers are usually influenced by their peers. So now you, as a marketer, have to not only think about the consumer enjoying the product, but create some way for them to easily share that feeling through word of mouth and social media. The fastest way to gain buzz is organically.
Marketing needs to feel natural to the consumer, it shouldn’t feel like “marketing.” Marketers need to be able to adapt to activities, plug into channels, and locate the places that their markets thrive in. They need to be able to translate positive feelings and experiences into brand association and loyalty. Nothing speaks louder to a young demographic than a brand’s ability to convey authenticity through their words and then back it up with action.
Being authentic and being able to relate to your consumer market is crucial. Everything from your reps, style, messages, and branding needs to be in touch with your market’s styles and preferences. The ability to adapt quickly and effectively is key. If they switch what they think is cool and what relates to them, then you as a marketer have to switch and adapt, too. It’s your job to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest.
My final thought: go offline! The digital world is great and a very useful tool, but don’t forget about the power of some good ol’ fashion peer-to-peer engagement. People respond exceptionally to personal interaction and feel individualized. Get out there and make it happen!