With citizen journalism, the rise in content and growing competition for ad dollars, what is the future of media? This was the topic of a highly-attended session at FutureM/Inbound in Boston, an event drawing over 10,000 marketers from around the globe, with keynotes from Martha Stewart, Guy Kawasaki and others.
When discussing Zenzi’s Social Values practice with business leaders and decision makers, one question we hear a lot is:
“I think this is a fantastic idea, but how would social values apply in a B2B environment?”
Well, the short answer is that values play the exact same role in B2B marketing as in B2C. At the core of any business transaction is the relationship between the buyer and the seller, and that relationship is built on factors such as trust, comfort level, emotional response, personal history, and risk perception – all of which are influenced by the values of the company and the individuals involved.
It has been said that more than 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and that half of the brain is dedicated to visual function. As marketers, we’re always looking for the best way to stand out among the crowded media landscape and resonate with brands’ customers and potential customers. Enter the infographic.
It used to be that the Wall Street Journal was the Holy Grail of PR, and every company executive wanted to know how to get covered in the paper. Now, with more blogs and emerging sites, companies are not just asking about the Journal—perhaps it’s Forbes, USA Today, The Rachael Ray Show, Yahoo! Finance…. Regardless, virtually any executive can relate to the anticipation and excitement of being featured in a major publication or television show, being recognized for the great things your company is doing, and obtaining increased awareness and interest a national outlet can provide.
An archetype is a recurring symbol in art or literature that represents an idealized example of a person or thing. Archetypes can range from Biblical figures such as Jesus or Moses to entertainment characters such as Harry Potter or Darth Vader. Each of these characters takes part in a larger than life journey that teaches us a universal truth about human nature, and embodies a moral that serves as a blueprint for how we should live our lives. Psychologist Carl Jung theorized that archetypes are part of the collective unconscious, and proposed several representative archetypes such as the Shadow, the Wise Old Man, and the Mother.
A recent study by Forrester revealed that though 75% of marketers are increasing their content marketing budgets in 2014, over half feel that their efforts are largely ineffective, and 26% more feel that their efforts are “neutral”.
The increase in spending clearly indicates that marketers believe content can have a big impact on sales. So why are so many failing to achieve their goals?
How do you take a complicated product and make it easy for prospect to understand and see the value? How do you step away from the intricacies, code and features of your technology to talk about what you do in bigger, more important terms that will engage your prospects and get them excited? And, why should you even need to even take a step back in the first place?
As the global consumer base continues to shift away from traditional advertising and more towards reviews, recommendations, and social media to inform their purchase decisions, many brands are beginning to create their own content, or letting their customers create content for them. The aim of this branded content is to stimulate conversations, discussions, and viral “buzz” around their brand, as opposed to selling the consumer outright on their product. Industry influencers such as Richard Edelman think this is the wave of the present and future for marketing practice. We here at Zenzi agree, but we also believe that to optimize the reach and effectiveness of any branded content, it must speak to the core values of the target audience. Our data shows that content targeted to values is more likely to be shared, becomes more a part of the consumer’s identity, and leads to greater brand connection.
‘That’s what we storytellers do . . . We restore order to imagination.
We instill hope. Again and again.’ – Walt Disney
I went to college with MacRumors founder Arnold Kim and remember his excitement when the domain name, MacRumors.com, became available back in the 1990s. His blog now reaches many million Apple fans each month, and is profitable enough that he has since left behind a lucrative career in medicine. One thing I have learned from him is that people are often most successful doing something they are passionate about, and Arnold is absolutely passionate about technology. From the perspective of someone who studies people’s deeper motivations, this could be the subject of this article, as clearly he is successful because he has found work that is a calling, and not just a job or career. We should all be so lucky to do as well at something we love.
Yet, given the work we do at Zenzi, helping business owners better understand their own customers’ deeper motivations, I wanted to probe a bit deeper here and see what Arnold’s thoughts were about his audience and how this fit into the paradigms we use at Zenzi. As you’ll see, like a lot of business owners, Arnold doesn’t necessarily spend a lot of time thinking explicitly about “values”…but he does have a clear idea of his audience’s wants and desires and how to communicate with them, while also building new audiences.