Building your brand into the future

The future is here and there is a lot of adapting to do to get your message out there in front of your customers.  With all the social media channels available and online innovations it can seem like the playing field keeps shifting out of focus, forcing companies to constantly adapt their marketing strategies. Look at Google and Facebook where the user experience is constantly being updated and tweaked to keep their users engaged.
While some fads have faded others are becoming strong trends that will have an impact on a business’s future.  As with all things new it is easier to get a good foothold if you are an early adopter rather than a Johnny-come-lately. If these are not in your marketing mix already then they need to be placed on the high importance list of things to do ASAP.

Mobile is the medium of choice
In South Africa, we may not all have a laptop or desktop but we are all connected through our mobile devices. Facebook has recognised the global mobile preference with their auto play videos and a smart-touch-screen-friendly interface. Google is also pushing mobility recognising that amongst other things, a non-responsive website viewed on a mobile screen is quickly abandoned by the visitor.
The companies that are capitalising on this trend are actively producing videos and generating content for social media platforms.

Social is the new sales pitch
Tied in with the mobility is the preference of users to stay connected 24/7. Companies are in a unique position to build their brand as their followers are only a message/notification chime away. However, as the nature of the connection is intimate we can’t sell, sell, sell anymore. Users will quickly block or unfollow abusers of their ‘personal online presence’ and time.
Creativity is winning the day with storytelling, graphics or posting useful information to keep followers engaged. However, a complication of the audience being ‘always on’ their mobile devices has greatly reduced the users attention span, impacting the communication window for your message, a phenomenon dubbed the Goldfish Syndrome.  In this instance, the goldfish may have a longer attention span (just over 8 seconds), now a marketing message needs to grab the users attention instantly or it will be lost in a flick of a finger and the scroll of the page.

The power is in the hands of the youth
It is the generation of the digital culture, where the youth are communicating, connected and informed through social media and their online interactions with their peers.  If they don’t have the answer they will instantly ‘Google it’, where ‘Googleing it’ may be anything from # tag search in Facebook, twitter or a keyword or phrase search on Google to find the information.  Posts and information are shared through their network and companies that are making an effort to understand this generation are on the marketing fast track.

Responsibility and transparency are important
With mobile devices comes a multitude of users that can document, share and post information about companies.  Any dirty, greedy deeds committed by a company will be photographed, videoed, posted, shared, blogged about, commented on…etc.
Social responsibility and greening are now the order of the day, companies need to be seen to be putting more back than they are taking.

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