It’s no secret that brands have shifted their efforts to create personalized messages and offerings to earn consumers’ attention and wallets. However, personalization tactics alone won’t be enough to foster more meaningful, long-term relationships with their customers. According to SME’s fifth Annual Marketing Report, which surveyed marketers from around the world, 36% of consumers are increasingly looking for more than just products or services from their favorite brands, and they want to buy from companies that prioritize social causes, diversity and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
The responsibility of marketers to establish relationships with their consumers is greater than ever because consumers now have more choice. In response to consumers’ demands for more transparency from brands and that brands align with important social causes, marketers must not only make a meaningful brand promise, but also deliver on it, to attract consumers and increase loyalty.
How to navigate the two-way relationship between consumers and suppliers
Previously, the relationship between brands and consumers was purely one-way and transactional—brands provided a good or service for which consumers paid. With more buying power, consumers are now able to advocate and critique brands through their networks. As a result, marketers have had to pay closer attention to consumer sentiments to ensure consumers’ expectations were being met, especially when it comes to brands supporting social causes.
SME Scarborough data reveals that 52.3 percent of American consumers buy products that give back. 36% more expect their brands to help social causes. Global marketers responded that diversity, equality, and inclusion are important aspects of their marketing campaigns. They also emphasize diversity and inclusion when ad content is purchased. Although marketers are prioritizing these efforts, consumers aren’t convinced: More than half (55%) of consumers feel as though brands are not making true progress when it comes to championing social causes.
Marketers have to establish trust with customers and let them know how brands live up to their social responsibility commitments. Authentic, consistent messaging through a mix of channels can help establish and fortify brands’ purpose to consumers, shedding light on direct actions that keep the brand’s promise.
Influencer marketing and social media can amplify brand messaging
According to SME’s 2022 annual marketing report, 64% of global marketers agreed that social media is the most bankable channel, with many finding success on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. The effectiveness of social channels in evangelizing brands and making clear their social causes is a key factor. They can also be combined with other media to amplify the message.
To reach right people on social media, marketers might consider investing in influencer market. Though not necessarily a new channel, influencer marketing’s popularity has grown as consumers have sought more interpersonal connections, and global consumers rank it as a credible marketing tactic, along with recommendations from family and friends, branded websites, ads on TV, and TV program product placements.
Marketing strategies that use influencer marketing must be effective. Marketers need to identify people who share the same values as them. This gives influencer marketing campaigns authenticity and increases the likelihood that customers will interact with the content.
Safety for brands
Marketers should also consider the context within which they are seen, as this can have a negative impact on their brand promise. One example is the rise in hate speech online during the Asian pandemic. This was due to the xenophobic, harmful rhetoric about the COVID-19 viruses. However, the advertising industry remained unaffected by hate speech, and brands could be linked with it through an adjacent placement.
This means marketers need to have heightened awareness surrounding the content adjacent to their advertisements, which the overwhelming majority of respondents (85%) in this year’s annual marketing report stated. It is important for marketers to consider the impact of brand safety on their campaigns. By working with brand safety partners, publishers and ad tech providers to glean better insights into ad placement options, marketers can stay vigilant in keeping their brand reputation—and therefore promise—intact while meeting consumer demands.
Make the brand promise come true
Marketing professionals must be more personal in their messages if they want to establish deeper connections with consumers and improve brand loyalty. Marketers can foster deep consumer engagements by ensuring that they keep their promise to consumers to match consumer sentiments. They also need to differentiate themselves from other brands, use different social media channels, prioritize safety and leverage different social media channels.
Original version of this article: dmcny.com.