Nobody likes being blocked. It’s the kind of next-level-savagery on a par with being left on read, or finding you’ve been logged out of your ex’s Netflix. With mobile ad-blocking on the rise (news to no one), there remains a glimmer of hope in the eye of brands trying to connect beyond the cyber wall. The people using those blockers, also tend to consume more media than those who don’t. (Blockthrough, 2020)
Generation Participation are the active consumers looking for brands to play a meaningful role in their lives. The most successful brand strategies are leveraging that desire in an attempt to raise the game, and encourage real interaction with their audiences. From brand ambassadors to influencers, collaborators to crowdfunders, it’s fast becoming apparent that the most effective marketing tool lives amongst people, not alongside them.
Wondering how to love thy customer in the age of participation? Here’s our starter for ten on how to get there.
First things first, take a look at your brand’s life cycle and the points at which it’s engaging its audience. Where are the opportunities for customers to inform, advocate for and support the development of your products, before parting with cash? IKEA chose to gamify their offering with their augmented reality app, allowing potential customers to virtually position furniture within their own domestic spaces. Through participation, customers could align products with their own visions, and share them with fellow shoppers (or disgruntled other halves).
Collaboration, co-creation, whatever you want to call it – is all about seeking audience input to help shape your brand story. Valuing customer opinion, and allowing them to make an experience their own, is crucial in achieving brand brilliance. Whether it’s asking for thoughts on the launch of a new range, or hosting a design competition for a brand spanking new product, the best collabs are win-wins. Brands can also be facilitators; of conversation around their core purpose, communication between audience members through ‘ask the community’ prompts, and working their way into the world of word of mouth.
No, we don’t mean hiring your most loyal customers. But we kind of do. It’s one thing incentivising customers to share with a mate for a tenner off, it’s another to allow them roles within your organisation. Take AirBnB – they labelled the people that kept their marketplace moving, and the chance to earn ‘Superhost’ status. Renters are encouraged to contact their hosts, swap local recommendations, and participate in optimising their experience. Once reeled in and excited at the prospect of playing a part within your brand’s world, let the customers do the legwork. Everyone’s a winner.
Looking to build your brand with customers, instead of for them? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written By Alex Prew, Strategist & Copywriter @ LoveGunn