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.
Most businesses understand that it is critical to target the right audience with their product or service. However, in order to reach today’s more informed, media savvy consumer, businesses must go beyond traditional demographic segmentations and speak to what truly motivates people – their core values. You wouldn’t try to sell World Series tickets to someone who doesn’t like baseball, so why try to motivate someone with a message about, say, innovation, when their values markers indicate that they tend to favor the status quo? In this post, I will discuss why understanding your customers’ values is more important, and more possible, than ever.
It’s no secret the field of public relations is changing dramatically. What can you do to stay at the top of your game? At Zenzi, we believe that having great media connections is only just the beginning. Now’s your chance to put your talents to work across emerging communications platforms like social and digital. Our campaigns go beyond traditional marketing, using psychology and data science to motivate and inspire action. If you’re ready to learn from the best and take your skills to a new level, Zenzi could be the just the place for you.
Maybe you are assessing key terms and language prospects use to find your web site in your SEO campaign. If so, it’s a good start. But, are you also considering another important aspect of how customers may find you online— through the ‘back door’ with long tail key words and questions they’ll search on to address their specific needs.
Core values are a driving force behind much of contemporary consumer behavior. In order to set themselves apart, brands now need to create value-based relationships with their customers in order to establish long-term relationships that will ensure not only immediate success, but also future engagement with the company as well. Recent research has shown that 47% of consumers report buying something monthly to support a cause. Furthermore, when quality and price are the same, consumers now say social purpose is the most important factor in their purchase decisions, with an increase of 26% from 2010. Many brands, such as Patagonia and Sephora , have successfully integrated a sense of corporate responsibility in their messaging, yielding positive results. Conversely, yoga brand Lululemon serves as a cautionary case study of the potential pitfalls of ignoring or misreading societal trends, as well as the values of its own customer base.
Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) is not a particularly important historical holiday. However, it is an important holiday for both beer drinkers and beer companies, given that more than $600 million worth of beer is consumed on Cinco de Mayo, more than on The Super Bowl or St. Patrick’s Day. This is one case where the market research supports my anecdotal experience: some people (and I fall into this group) just want an excuse to have a party.
We here at Zenzi are constantly touting the benefits of value-based marketing, and why incorporating values into an advertising or PR campaign is imperative for the long-term success of the campaign in today’s changing consumer landscape. But why, you may ask, are values so important? Consumers are driven to purchase by a number of variables, including price, quality, reliability, convenience, and service. What are the tangible benefits of creating value-based connections with consumers, as opposed to more traditional marketing techniques such as promotions and advertising?
Are you using Twitter for your business?
And if so, are you using it effectively to engage with your audiences and gain interest for your brand?