In a series of blog posts we present the 5 most significant trends that are shaping the marketing communication landscape as we enter 2012:
1. Now get social – from testing the water to taking the plunge
2. Customisation and personalisation – the individual reigns on their terms
3. Brands become what they share – content as the people’s kingdom
5. Mobile marketing has finally taken off, moving into the mainstream
Related to these but very different from them are 7 necessary behaviours marketers should adopt to adapt to the 2012 trends successfully. They represent the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’.
Authenticity: Being authentic is being yourself rather than pretending, it is about conducting yourself honestly, transparently and responsibly. It is of course more complex for a corporate entity to be authentic than it is for a single human being. However, online communication has opened up more opportunities for businesses to be authentic, bringing human interaction back to the forefront. ₁₉
Beauty: A creative response to consumer expectation will become requisite for brands looking to stand out. With the likes of Apple fuelling consumer desire for creative, beautiful and intuitive design, the bar has been raised and with it consumer expectation. The challenge is how to continue meeting that expectation with beautiful design, delivery and communication – tough economic times or not. ₆
Be responsible – look after your customer’s data: The generation which has grown up with the influence of Facebook and the very public nature of social media (roughly speaking mid-twenties and below), developing their own personal online “brand” identity, is vulnerable. They are not yet fully aware of the potential future consequences of the information they’re sharing (why would an 8 year old on Facebook think about what his future employer might be able to access?). Responsible companies should be looking after their customer’s data, better still educating them on how to manage it and what the risks are.
Engagement: Talking at your audience no longer works, only those looking for genuine engagement will succeed in building lasting relationships with their customers. Strive for personal connection. Create a system that allows you to listen, learn and respond but most importantly that allows your audience to engage on their terms. ₆ (Minecraft is a good example of engagement as it appeals to our basic human instincts: building, survival, health and hunger.)
Gamification: Tune into one of man’s most instinctive traits – competitiveness. Motivate and engage your audience with interaction that is fun and offers progression or a sense of achievement. What goals or rewards might you offer? If executed well this kind of engagement can do wonders for brand awareness and mindshare. ₉ (ZombiesRunGame.com and MineCraft.net we think are great examples of ‘gamification’ executed well.)
Green consciousness: Awareness of product labelling has never been greater and demand for detail is high. How products are sourced, made and sold is under scrutiny more than ever with consumers demanding environmentally green, socially responsible and fair-trade methods, materials and delivery. This trend continues to grow for both businesses and consumers as these definitions evolve. Think about how you can serve the environment and people better going beyond the sustainability concept and better still improving the ecosystem. ₆
Simplexity: Increased desire for simplicity is a strong consumer trend as the complexity of choices keeps growing. Could your products be simpler to use? Could your customer’s experience of interacting with you be made easier? Know what your customers want and know your category to pinpoint those opportunities to make something simpler that at the same time exceeds expectations. ₆ (We think Vox.io is a great example of simplifying telephony.)
Photo credit: Ryan McGuire / gratisography.com, published unchanged