MAKING CONSUMER CONNECTIONS WITH CREATIVITY: HELPING BRANDS NAVIGATE THROUGH THE UNKNOWN

A recent report from Dentsu “Brave New Normal: Creative Trends 2021” suggests that, for brands, being directly connected to communities they wish to engage with is vital. The report states “a new commercial model is emerging rooted in direct, disintermediated relationships between creators and the communities they serve.” You may think “So What?” but actually this insight is seismic and points to big changes ahead.

 

Just think about it for a second. The pandemic has changed everything and it is not too far-fetched to say that the commercial landscape for brands has changed irrevocably. The questions now are “Where to next and how can we engage with consumers in the way they want?”

 

First, let us look at behaviour. According to a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology “It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic. So, if that’s the case, remembering that we are almost 400 days into this pandemic in Ireland is sobering to say the least. It’s safe to say that we will not be going back to what was our previous “normal” because new patterns of consumer behaviour and spending are embedded and here to stay.

 

Secondly, with continual changes to the ebb and flow of consumer sentiment and spending patterns, brands need to adapt quickly. Connecting directly with audiences is now paramount. For most brands, this is unchartered territory because the rule book of media planning has become redundant and has now been replaced with new Rules of Engagement.

 

What IS clear from the past year is that brands who chopped budgets, shed campaigns and deferred new initiatives in 2020 are now having to play catch-up as their visibility dropped and consumer engagement fell, exposing their market share to more active competitors.  Cutting advertising is simply not the answer, so what is?

 

The New Authenticity

Dentsu predict that “simplicity, authenticity and community” powered by “fresh voices” will be the most desirable form of content for consumers in 2021.  If the choice comes down to perfection or transparency for brands, Dentsu reports that “authenticity beats perfectly crafted artifice.”

 

Our heroes are now created in the image of everyday people; frontline workers, retail staff and other essential workers.

 

With more time for people to pursue passions, we have seen a growth in micro businesses, from wreaths and jewellery to cupcakes and macaroons. This, coupled with the drive to “buy local” encouraged consumers to engage and build relationships directly with suppliers.

 

Brands are finding niche communities to partner and co-create with, adding credibility and depth to their messaging.  Now, more than ever, brands need a fresh, creative approach that will translate generic national messaging into brand engagement that feels authentically local and resonates enough with listeners to convert to purchase decisions.

 

Expert Connections

This perfectly positions IRS+, the media sales and marketing hub that represents 15 independent radio stations across Ireland, to help brands connect directly with consumers locally in a meaningful, creative way.

 

We recently launched IGNITE, a one-of-a-kind new suite of ready-to-go products – Spotlight, Boost, Elevate and Burst.

 

Our Spotlight product works perfectly to deliver on the predicted creative trends outlined above. Offering a two-minute content package supported by pre-promotional spots and live reads, this on-air content of locally relevant brand marketing messages adds value and depth to messaging. It supports traditional campaigns and presents an opportunity to deliver more complex, content-based messaging in a way that cannot be achieved through traditional advertising.

 

As a result, brands have an opportunity to inform and change consumer behaviour or understanding, reflect their expertise by conveying valuable, useful, information and service to the community while also having an opportunity to engage with audiences about their environmental social or sustainable activities.

 

Another key factor that makes SPOTLIGHT appealing to brands is the local content production, using local voice – it is what makes it stand apart from just a regular campaign and gives brand creative a sought after “fresh voice”.

 

If last year has taught us anything, it is that local is the new national and local is only going to get louder in 2021. Our new IGNITE range offers brands an opportunity to leverage our expertise to propel them directly into the heart of local community life in a way that is creatively relevant, and predicted by experts to be the most engaging, influential approach that companies can take.

 

Find out more about our ignite product range here.

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