As a Millennial, I feel like psychologists and integrated marketers alike look at people my age like wild animals you should be wary of spooking.
Tons of studies, surveys, and articles seek to gain insight about the buying habits and market interests of my generation.
Many of these studies and surveys have found that Millennials are less responsive to traditional integrated marketing efforts.
It’s not only Millennials, however, that have become skeptical of these campaigns.
In general, buyers, regardless of their age, aren’t as receptive to traditional communications efforts as they once were.
A 2016 Nielsen survey, for example, found that 44 percent of respondents aged 35 and higher said they want no ads under any circumstances in the content they view.
With this shift in perception towards the work communicators do, it can be tough to connect with your intended audience and build awareness of and interest in your brand.
There are ways to continue to make your brand likable and engaging to your target audience, without inundating them with overt communications tactics.
- Be responsive
Due to social media’s ubiquity, consumers not only prefer responses on social media platforms, they expect it. Social media allows for easier conversations and faster responses between consumers and brands.
Of course, social media is not the only outlet of communication for customers to get in contact with companies. Maintaining open lines of communication, via customer service phone lines, submission forms on your website, and/or email, and responding to these queries in a timely, friendly manner makes your brand more favorable to consumers.
- Be relatable
This can be tough. There have been mixed reactions to corporate social media accounts getting sassy or using pop culture references.
Customers have criticized some accounts for incorporating memes and topical references in their content, claiming it feels like an inauthentic attempt to connect with consumers.
Finding the right tone for your accounts can enhance engagement opportunities and distinguish your brand from the other noise online.
The TSA’s Instagram offers a great example of a corporate account making a good impression on audiences. Although the government agency’s account, which boasts 796,000 followers, could easily be limited to boilerplate content like regulations and safety updates, it often shares images of the craziest stuff that passes through airport security lines, like this massive lobster traveling through Boston’s airport, accompanied by sassy captions.
Although these photos are humorous, they also share links to information about regulations on packing and bringing certain items on planes, turning the account into a humorous, informative outlet for users.
- Tell a story
Similar to the previous item, telling a story helps your brand relate with its intended audience. Chances are, your customers and potential customers would like to watch a minute-long video that tells a story about your brand or how it affects people rather than a thirty second ad that outlines the features your newest product offers.
Dove is an excellent brand to look to for inspiration when creating relatable content. Their line of female products often features an array of women in their ads, promoting a brand story of diverse, authentic women.
In 2013, Dove released “Real Beauty Sketches.” The three-minute film featured FBI trained forensic artist Gil Zamora sketching a group of women. Gil sat behind a curtain and produced one drawing based on a woman’s description of herself. Gil then produced a second drawing of the same woman based on a description from a stranger.
In every case, the sketch based on the stranger’s description produced a happier looking and more accurate portrayal of the woman. Within 12 days of the film’s release, it racked up 50 million views, and has since been viewed nearly 180 million times, proving the success of authentic storytelling.
- Don’t be annoying
With so many available channels to reach consumers, communicators need to make sure they’re not overwhelming users with content. Manage and revise your email settings and moderate how often you post to your social channels.
Adobe recently conducted a survey about how 1,000 white-collar workers feel about receiving branded emails. Overwhelmingly, the survey found that people want fewer emails. Half of the respondents said that receiving email too often was the most annoying aspect of getting brand emails.
Additionally, 40 percent of respondents answered that, similar to item three, they would prefer the email’s content to be informative rather than promotional.
- Think outside the box
Regardless of the line of business you’re in, the market is absolutely saturated with competing brands publishing blog content and social posts at an unprecedented volume. You have to stand out to make an impression on your intended audience.
This could include sharing content to a new social platform, offering a valuable promotion for your service or product, or hosting a unique in-person event that draws people in.
As part of the marketing and PR campaign for the recently released remake of Stephen King’s It, for example, Warner Brothers opened “The It Experience: Neibolt House Hollywood.”
This 5,000-square foot haunted house, which opened about a month before the release of the movie, brought guests through a replica of the villainous clown’s home portrayed in the movie. During its month-long run, 35,000 people visited and the waiting list to get in topped out at 85,000. The film has gone on to gross over $370 million worldwide to date.
An event of that scale, of course, requires a lot of budgeting and effort to execute, but it shows the value of generating unique ideas that create interest and engage potential customers. Modifying this type of idea for your brand, perhaps with a lower cost digital event or promotion, has the potential to make a greater impression of your brand on consumers.
As consumers’ perceptions of PR and marketing campaigns continue to change, finding effective ways to make your brand appealing, including being responsive and relatable, telling stories, moderating the frequency of communication with consumers, and being creative, can make your brand stand out and achieve its goals.