Today’s digitization of almost everything produces an overwhelming flood of information, therefore it is the more surprising to see how companies react, namely embracing even more channels to impose the same old messages by force to anyone within reach.
However, customers adapt quickly and simply blending such companies out, besides avoiding annoying advertising today more than ever: There is television without advertising at Netflix, radio without advertising at Spotify and Adblocker brings us the Internet without advertising.
According to a study, the majority of millennials successfully manage to block all kind of online advertising that way, hence, it's time to rethink marketing communication.
It’s important that brand communication proves to be beneficial again, instead of a nuisance, and strives towards "useful brand experiences", instead of losing even more customers.
Considering, that there is an app for almost everything - and the younger generation is using anything that’s useful - shift in perspective is needed on three levels, if we want to sustain the media contact between brands and consumers:
1. From sending to empathizing: Instead of showering our audiences with annoying advertising, we should start a personal dialogue with our target groups - listening to them, accompanying and observing them – to get to know their day-to-day problems.
2. From seducing to supporting: If we solve the problems, then the audience - if done well - will use these solutions regularly and spread the perception to others that advertising is no longer annoying, but makes life easier. And if the solution has something to do with your brand, then the brand benefits by making expertise and customer proximity tangible, which has of course a positive effect on awareness, sympathy and loyalty.
3. From optimizing to innovating: Do we really want to use our creative energy to increase the click-through rate of a Google ad from 0.5 to 0.52? Why not using the entire field that digitization provides to help our audience and brand? We should dare innovations as the costs are manageable by now.
Not to mention that the fundamentals of brand management are still valid in the digital era, just that in an increasingly digital and virtual world, the physical, multi-sensory experience of a brand is merging even more. In fact, the options can just be adumbrated, when looking at the whole picture. If only one percent of the around USD 60 billion that flow annually in advertising in Asia Pacific would be invested usefully in brand communication, there would be USD 600 million available each year to facilitate the everyday life of our fellow human beings.
Digitization has opened up completely new possibilities we should use, especially smartphones. According to eMarketer, Asia Pacific boasts more than 1 billion smartphone users and is expected to gain further momentum in the years to come. With the China smartphone market seemingly slowing, India for example has now emerged as the largest potential growth market for adoption of the devices.
Most importantly, the proliferation of cheaply manufactured devices and a drop in the cost of service plans gives the smartphone uptake across the region a boost.
Not to mention that the younger generation, known as digital natives, has learned that for most everyday problems there is a digital solution.
By Daniela La Marca