If you want to understand consumer tastes’ and preferences in 2017, then you have to understand the complex nature of the evolving digital landscape.
Consumers now live in the digital world. Teens spend up to 9 hours a day consuming and interacting with media – 60% of which is done via smartphone. But it’s not just young people, comScore’s Future in Focus report shows that the average American adult spends well over 2 hours a day on their smartphones consuming information. That is like 30 days a year!
We live on the internet!
As you might expect, brands are investing billions and billions of dollars to try and keep up with rapid growth of the social media industry. eMarketers reports that ad spend is expected to reach over $35 Billion on social media platforms this year.
What is this tremendous influx of capital and investment doing to the media ecosystem?
Sadly, we’ve seen a flood of advertisements, sponsored content, and partnership deals. Experts estimate that the average consumer now sees between 4,000 and 10,000 ads every single day. Most of these are subtle, but nonetheless leave an imprint in consumers’ minds.
As someone in marketing, when I first saw that number, I got a little bit scared.
How were we supposed to compete with these thousands of brands?
More importantly, how could we stand out to customers? How could we get people in our target audience to not only see us, but also remember us?
Without a huge marketing budget, this task can feel impossible. All the social platforms just want you to spend money on sponsored ads, but doing so is often unsustainable, especially with a limited budget.
The other alternative is to try and differentiate your content. This is also hard without tons of resources.
Thus, I present you with the only guaranteed way to differentiate yourself in this hyper-competitive, constantly evolving marketing world.
It does not require any additional capital. Nearly every brand in the world can afford it.
It is not a growth hack. It is not magic. It is not a secret.
In fact, it is quite the opposite.
The best way to stand out is to be real. Ironically, in this world of materialism and technological advancement, being real and human is the single best (and easiest) way for a brand to be different.
Most companies are encouraged to take the the opposite approach. If you’ve ever read a marketing blog or a big press headline, everyone tells you to step your game up and increase your budget or start paying for some consulting help. While all of that may help in the short run, all it’s really doing is taking you further away from the real core of your audience.
When brands outsource their marketing or social media, they tend to build up a persona that is not aligned with their own. It’s fake. It’s ingenuine.
Generation Z, or the group of consumers born since the mid 1990s, greatly appreciates authenticity. Consumers just want to know that you are real.
Since they were born, these people have been bombarded with millions of advertisements SELLING them the best thing since sliced bread.
Be different by being real. Be transparent. Talk with your audience about real world problems. Take off the mask and makeup and start having legitimate conversations about your customers’ needs.
Talk with your customers. Not at them.
That is how you stand out.
Luckily, technology can help you do this at scale. Specifically, platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are great at this! Stories are a great way to share intimate moments with your audience.
The best creators are going all in on Stories because they realize that this is the perfect content medium to build a transparent relationship with their audience. These platforms, if used correctly, will be your bridge that can connect your brand’s voice with the right consumers.
At Storyheap, we’re committed to helping you do just that. We provide a suite of tools (analytics, publishing, archives) that make it easier and faster to be authentic online.
Start a Free Trial, or send us an email – excited to help you level up!