Despite changes in technology, there’s still a prevailing perception out there on the internet among the blogging community that companies have direct control over their brands. Their brands depend directly, they tell us, on the decisions marketing departments make on a day-to-day basis, and that the penetration of any particular brand into the consciousness of consumers is under their control.
But is this really what happens anymore? The problem for many companies is a new type of consumer. Tech-savvy Millennials don’t care all that much about what a company says about its services. They know that businesses will put their best foot forward and avoid, whenever possible, the negative aspects of their services. They’re much more interested in what their peers think of a particular company.
This means that the nature of brand management has changed completely. In fact, this is something that is becoming increasingly recognized by institutions that offer an integrated marketing communications degree. In the digital world, it’s consumers who make brands, not flashy advertising and long-term exposure.
So what can your business do to respond to this new marketing reality?
Find Great Partners
One of the keys to success in the age of the internet is to seek out new partners. A partner could be anybody who helps you to innovate and sell more products. But usually, when people talk about partners, they mean influencers in the digital community. Online influencers are key these days for getting information about your product out to potentially interested customers. Large tech companies do this all the time, especially those targeting Millennial audiences. Instead of spamming them with PPC and Facebook ads, these companies get in contact with the producers of the content most young people consume online. Then they ask the creator of that content to review or showcase their product to their audience. The influencer then gives their opinion of the product and hopefully, sways their viewer’s opinion that your product is a good buy.
Of course, this is a risky strategy and one of the reasons why companies aren’t really in control of their brands anymore. There’s nothing to stop an influencer who is unconnected with your business from creating a negative review. Ultimately, this means that the product needs to be right before you begin sending out review samples.
Sow The Seeds Of Future Success
Although your business can’t affect opinions so strongly through direct marketing, it can help create the conditions which will improve its brand. How? The first step is to begin by producing content that people actually want to consume. Providing value in exchange for brand exposure is the new normal and, in many ways, a fairer deal for consumers.
It’s also an opportunity for companies that are able to create content people love. If you succeed, your brand will slowly become associated with genuine value and feelings of satisfaction. And this, in turn, will make it more likely that a person will choose your brand over somebody else’s. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different strategies until you find one that works.