Interactive Marketing in 2021 and Beyond: Is your brand doing it right?

The years 2020 and 2021 have impacted the digital marketing world so much that it made us reevaluate the relationship between brands and customers. Many trends have quickly emerged and one is Interactive Marketing. Are you using this tactic well?

What is Interactive Marketing?

As defined by NG Data, Interactive marketing is a “one-to-one marketing practice that centers on individual customer and prospects’ actions. It is customer-centric and focuses on the ways brands react to customer’s actions and preferences, aiming to meet their expectations.” This practice has been used for years but has become more prominent in the beginning of 2020 making it more important than ever.

Adding interactive features to your social media or website is always a great way to encourage customers to get themselves involved with your brand. But you will need to go further than what’s already been done. 

Get to know the types of interactive marketing and why it’s essential to spend more time on them than other practices this year and beyond.

What are the types of Interactive Marketing?

We found that since 2020 began, consumers seek a personalised approach in brands’ messaging. According to a study, 93% of marketers believe that interactive content is more effective at educating consumers and in gaining more page views and conversions compared to static content. 

Special Offers and Giveaways

The best ways to increase your brand’s audience and engagement are with special offers and social contests. People love free stuff! So by offering prizes, may it be a free product from your brand or a huge discount, it will surely catch attention. This is also aimed to grow leads. 

An example of a Giveaway from @themoonshop aimed to boost its number of followers.

A section from themoonshop.com.au offering a discount for every new subscriber. This is aimed to increase its email list.

Quizzes, Polls & Surveys

Quizzes, polls and surveys are effective ways to trigger interaction. These allows brands to gather insights from consumers about their products or services while consumers get to know more about the brands, why and what they need from them.

An example from @netflixanz’s Poll allowing users to recommend content to other users.

A selector that encourages users to purchase a product.

 

Calculators

Calculators create relevancy and simply help the user make decisions.

A calculator section from YourMortgage.com.au to help users determine their mortgage repayments. 

A calculator from Active.com that helps a user decide on food intake and fitness activities. 

Video

This allows users to choose their own journey. It increases engagement and time spent by a user on your website. 

Coldplay’s Ink music video takes the user into the character’s journey.

Email 

Automated Emails

You can send automated emails when a triggering event occurs. Abandoned shopping carts, first timer sign-ups and repeat page visits are types of triggering events. They are reminders, provide further information, new offers and incentives such as gifts of appreciation for showing interest in your brand.

A diagram that shows how a trigger event works.

Email Contests

Newsletters with quizzes are also an effective form of interactive marketing. It keeps the audience interested and makes them read through the end.

A contest within the contents of Silkari Suites at Chatswood’s newsletter.

 

Have you implemented these strategies in your marketing campaigns as of late? Which one’s your favourite and have received the best results?

Tell us how you’ve been using Interactive Marketing for your brand in the comment below.

2021 Social Media Trends You Can’t Ignore

2020 was one crazy year. It’s by far the most disruptive for everyone, including marketers. This year’s events have made it seem impossible to foresee what lies ahead. And even if the crisis is resolved in 2021, the effects will be felt for years to come. There are some emerging trends that will undeniably impact how we execute our strategies moving forward.

How will social media change next year? According to a research from Talkwalker and Hubspot, there are ten trends that will further emerge in the coming year. Find out what they are and why you shouldn’t ignore them.

1. Remixing 

Remixing user-generated content is seen to grow in the next year. Remixing is the art of taking existing formats, templates, or ideas, and recreating them to express a user’s own personality or ideas. It’s been around for a while but it’s seen to have a major growth during the lockdown. According to Talkwalker, remixing is on the rise on mobile apps like TikTok, Instagram Reels and Koji. 

Remix-Koji

An example is this post from a consumer mixing Chipotle’s logos into an existing template from Koji.

2. 4Cs

The pandemic has dramatically transformed consumer behavior. According to a report by Kantar, 78% of consumers expect brands to help them in their daily lives. Because of this, marketers must focus their messaging to address the 4Cs: Community, Cleanliness, Contactless, Compassion.

4Cs

The above analysis shows the number of mentions of the 4 Cs across all online platforms that are COVID-related. This means people are relying on getting information from brands about the pandemic. 

In May 2020, KFC dropped its iconic slogan to promote health and safety measures.

 

According to Janet Machuka, Founder of ATC Digital Academy “It’s not “Finger Lickin” good anymore as KFC temporarily dropped its iconic slogan because, with a pandemic going on, finger lickin’ is “not currently advised” and because of that, they have released a tongue-in-cheek campaign to go with it.”

3. Meme Marketing

Memes are among the most popular and fun ways of keeping communities engaged on social media. The use of memes increased drastically from 19.8million in August 2019 to 24.9million in July 2020. It peaked during lockdown. Online audiences turned to memes as a form of escapism.

Memes are used by brands for a while now as a form of marketing. Here’s one of many brilliant posts from Ruffles, keeping a relatable tone in its messaging.

 

4. Nostalgia Marketing

It’s easy to look back at the ‘good old days’. Talkwalker’s study found that mentions of keywords related to nostalgia increased by 88% as soon as the lockdown hit. 

Positive memories help people forget their current struggles once in a while. Inserting those memories into your brand will build and secure a strong, emotional connection with the consumer.

A master of this is Netflix. Their hit series Stranger Things has already been relying heavily on 80s nostalgia.

5. Conversational Marketing

It’s all about how you connect with your audience. Your brand’s messaging needs to be more conversational to create relationships and eventually build sales and expand your clientele. 

A personalised approach in reaching out to your audience using chatbots, social messaging or calls can drive engagement and sales. 

Offshoring company Staff Domain’s Facebook Page has an interactive chat that allows you to easily select specific services or a job vacancy you’re looking for.

Personalised content also means knowing what your audiences are talking about and joining the conversation. This tweet from Domino’s Pizza is very relatable. They’re finally speaking out about netizen’s sentiments regarding pineapple on a pizza. It ended up earning lots of hilarious responses.

6. Social Gaming

There’s a huge increase in the number of people who identify as gamers. There were 31.1 million of them in August 2019. There are now 41.2 million of them in July 2020. This is because people began to turn to online gaming as a form of escape during lockdown. 

Results from the Talkwalker study suggests that the mentions on gaming are not mainly about the games they play, but who they are playing with. There is a rise in building a bigger community surrounding the gaming industry and it will carry on in 2021. Your brand can explore this world no matter how different it is from yours.

Disney Plus partners up with Fortnite to increase subscriptions.

Beauty brands are now tapping into the gaming industry as well. Tatcha Beauty works with Animal Crossing: New Horizons to promote self-care.

7. Old-School Marketing

Some marketing strategies can suddenly re-emerge in this time of uncertainty. Lately, people are turning to podcasts as information delivered from them is easier to consume.

Voice is making a comeback. Old-school means of communication such as voice calls have also made a major return and its use increased during the lockdown. Voice search, voice notes, and even voice Tweets are already currently on the rise.

8. Adapting to the New Normal

Today’s top social media platforms will maintain its place as they continue to roll out new features to adapt with changing climate of the world.

The big three (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) are more flexible and capable of quickly adapting to consumer habits. Even though there’s a growing popularity in new platforms such as Tiktok and Houseparty, the big three is still the go-to source of news and information for the online community.

Facebook Horizon is the latest feature that gained traction during the lockdown.

Facebook Horizon

9. Digital Disinformation

Since February 2020, mentions of “fake news”, “misinformation” and “conspiracy theories” have grown. Most of it is related to COVID-19 and vaccines. This is now called the “infodemic”, a global spread of misinformation that poses a threat to public health.

Social media has always been the place to find a wide variety of content, from delivering facts to just plain fiction. There was a drastic rise in fake news as soon as COVID-19 hit. The world continues to be misinformed everyday and brands are dragged by it too.

Brandwatch researched on the most shared fake news stories about COVID-19.

A brand who had been a victim of fake news was Vodafone back in April 2020. 

5g

In 2021, brands and social media platforms will focus on highlighting the truth and removing fake news from user feeds.

How can your brand avoid fake news?

  • Be transparent. If your brand is completely open, it’ll be more difficult for people to fill the gaps with dishonesty.
  • Make sure all your platforms are secured to avoid hacks.
  • Monitor your brand to immediately determine if it is being connected to fake news.
  • Get facts straight before sharing anything.
  • Do regular checks on who has access to your brand’s social channels.

10. Socially Conscious Marketing

This is the number one trend to emerge in 2021 according to the Talkwalker study. No doubt this generation is more socially conscious and has impacted brands in a major way. As a marketer, you have to take part in topics pertaining to social justice, mental health, diversity and inclusivity. 

Here’s how your brand can be part of the conversation:

  • Find out what issues matter to your audience. Take it seriously and talk about it with the whole company to make sure you address it correctly.
  • Have a ‘mission-led’ strategy. It will emotionally connect your brand to your audience.
  • Align your marketing and PR. 
  • Be fully committed to your cause. You will experience some bumps on the road (can’t please everyone). So don’t miss out on monitoring your audience’s sentiments and address them.
  • Your brand not marketing around social issues does not make it immune to backlash. 

Nike has been consistent in becoming the voice for change globally. Most recently, it started a campaign to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

nike

Consumers need to be at the centre of your marketing strategy. Consumer is King. It is important to listen to their voice now more than ever. The brands that understand their consumers to heart are the ones that will thrive in 2021. 

Have you started planning your strategies for next year? Let us know how you’re going so far!

 

7 ways your hotel can engage with your audience during COVID-19

Although many businesses have remained open or are already reopened, they continue to struggle from the impact of COVID-19. One industry that has been overwhelmingly affected by this crisis is the hospitality industry. As businesses are forced to reconsider financial plans, marketers too are forced to reevaluate their communication strategies to optimise for the lowest cost with the highest impact.

So how should you assign your marketing budget if no one is actively searching and booking holidays and dining out? Not to worry – there are still plenty of opportunities for your brand to engage with your audience despite the restrictions, so they can keep you in mind for when they’re ready to visit your establishment again!

Here are 7 ways to keep your hotel or restaurant on the radar:

1. Encourage wellness

Provide useful (and shareable!) content that encourages your audience to boost their wellness and stay safe during the pandemic.

Here’s an example from Silkari Suites at Chatswood who have shared tips on doing meditation and yoga at home.

 

2. Offer freebies

Although restaurants and hotels took a big hit in revenue due to COVID-19, many in the industry have chosen to give back to the medical community by offering donated meals or a free stay at the hotel.

Accor Hotels found a way to do this by partnering with Sunrise.

3. Engage with your audience

Some hotels started a competition to encourage user interaction for a chance to win a free or discounted stay, others have opted for something simply fun like creating a Spotify channel.

Corpo Santo Lisbon Historical Hotel aimed to personally connect with their audience remotely and felt the best way was through music, so the team members created a Spotify channel with songs close to their heart. Members from all departments and levels contributed, “from the housekeeping team to chefs and the front office,” says General Manager Pedro Pinto.

4. Sell meals kits 

Consider selling ‘almost-ready’ versions of your most-wanted dishes.

For example, Sydney restaurant CicciaBella offered “takeaway for the home” packs that allows its audience to take their culinary experience home to enjoy.

5. Share your DIY cooking videos

With nothing better to do, many people are looking for ways to pick up new skills at home, or enhance their stay-at-home experience, such as cooking up more advanced dishes.

Zagame’s House posted a video of Head Chef Michael Tse sharing simple and delicious ways to make pasta. This is also a good type of content for your brand if you’re offering almost-ready meals.

6. Post about your health and safety protocols

It’s important reassure your audience and let potential guests know about your health and safety protocols. An example is Meriton Suites’ ‘StaySafe’ program which explains how they have applied the latest government guidelines to best protect their guests and staff during and after the pandemic.

7. Know your timing

Above all, we need to be considerate and mindful that these are uncertain times, so timing and appropriateness of messaging are of the utmost importance to maintain and build a good brand reputation.

The marketing plans we had strategised for 2020 has been constantly and drastically changing throughout the course of the year, the best way to ensure your brand stays connected with its audience is to stay on top of the latest news, regulations, and apply the highest level of customer service and empathy (as you normally would!) to all levels of communication. That way, you can keep your audience entertained and inspired so that when they’re ready to travel again, your brand is the one they think of.

 

 

How can businesses utilise social media coming out of the current pandemic

Businesses of all shapes and forms worldwide have been hit hard by the impact of COVID-19. 

How has the pandemic affected consumer behavior and how have brands and social media platforms responded?

The online user behavior has shifted

Governments have implemented self quarantine measures nationwide to ease the spread of COVID-19. People staying at home means spending more time online.

Sprout Social says 11am daily is now the peak hour, while 5pm has shown a drop off as people working from home are also finding a balance between workload and family/home demands.

There has also been a rise in demand for food delivery services and furniture and office equipment as companies have shifted to a work-from-home scheme, research finds.

How are brands adjusting to these changes?

Brands are focusing on inspirational content

Companies are putting more effort on creating content with messaging of hope. Here are samples from some top brands: 

  1. A pledge to ‘stay at home and save lives’

Instagram has launched a new story sticker called “Stay Home” to promote social distancing.

(Photo from Twitter.com/Instagram)

 

  1. Appreciation for health professionals and other first responders.

McDonald’s offers free coffee for all healthcare workers.

 

  1. Kantar’s COVID-19 Barometer suggests that companies are expected to showcase initiatives in helping their employees.

Offshoring company Staff Domain helped their employees continue their work by providing equipment brought to their homes.

 

  1. Companies/individuals showing how they have contribute to defeat COVID-19 through a fundraiser post.

Influencers in the beauty industry have collaborated remotely on YouTube for a cause.

 

Center for Disease Control in the US call for donations in Facebook

 

According to Sprout Social, brands have also increased their presence in direct message responses especially in the health care and media industries as these have become the top of mind during this time. Meanwhile, sports and travel industries have seen a massive decline in the number of posts due to restrictions in sporting events and tourism.

In the first few weeks of global quarantining, engagement rates were down across all industries. However, as of the beginning of May, engagement rates on Facebook and Instagram started rising again. Posting frequencies increased as marketers began to adjust to the new normal. 

With users now spending more time online, brands must focus on the relationship-building aspect of social media, rather than heavily promoting their products and services, and take advantage of their audiences’ extra attention on the platforms.

Social Media platforms launching new features to support small businesses

As small businesses are facing challenges during the pandemic, social media platforms are finding ways to supporting them.

  • Facebook introduced the Business Resource Hub which aims to keep small business owners informed of the ongoing crisis. They also rolled out the Facebook Shop to help businesses improve their user experience. Customers will easily browse through the products, add to cart and check out within the platform itself. Keeping in touch with customers is also made easy with Messenger, Insta Direct and WhatsApp for Business. 

Ink Meets Paper Facebook Shop

A sample of  Facebook Shop from US-based small business, Ink Meets Paper.

(Image from Facebook)

Facebook Shops had been working on this Checkout feature for a while now, but expedited roll out to support e-commerce sites during the COVID-19 crisis. It’s currently being rolled out in the US and we’re looking forward to seeing it become available soon here in Australia.

  • LinkedIn launched their own Coronavirus Resources Hub. It helps people find jobs, explore volunteer work and look for talent. It also started offering free or discounted webinars, learning courses and job postings.
  • Twitter pushed up COVID-19 related news and updates in the Explore tab to prioritise the more important and relevant topics.
  • Instagram launched a new way for people to easily discover and support these businesses through Stories with a ‘Support Small’ sticker. The platform also recently rolled out ‘Food Orders’ and ‘Gift Cards’. New stickers for Stories and Call-to-Action buttons that help restaurants showcase delivery options. Gift Up!, Neto, TheFork and Rise.ai are the available Gift Card partners in Australia.

Lord Lygon offers wine delivery.

 

Social media is playing a vital role to help support businesses by developing these resources keeping consumer trends top of mind. What do people need now more than ever? What are the things they are most worried about? How can they do their part to help those who are in need?

At the end of the day, we all have one common goal: to support each other when times are tough.

 

How has COVID-19 affected your business’ marketing efforts? What adjustments are you making to cope with the current crisis we all face? Let us know!

 

Top 8 Ways to Make Your Social Content “Taggable”

As a business, how do you get your audience to tag their friends and hit that share button on your posts? How can you make your social media content shareable, engaging, and, well, “tag-worthy”?

Social media platforms are changing more frequently than ever before, and businesses need to constantly come up with better, more creative ways to break through the noise and capture their audiences’ attention.

Not sure where to start? Here are the Top 8 Ways to Make Your Social Content “Taggable”!

1. Create A Compelling Headline

This is the first impression your content makes on your audience! One study suggests that most people share articles based only on the headlines, so make sure it’s relevant to your audience and emphasises why your content will add value to their lives.

And no, we’re not referring to clickbaits. No one likes the feeling of being lured into something false, so make sure your headline is compelling while being true to the content!

2. Pick A Hot Topic

What type of news and trends does your audience watch out for? What topics are they are interested in? Do your research. Check out what competitors are sharing. If you already have an established blog, take a peek into your analytics and explore your audience behavior – use your data to identify popular topics and get writing!

3. Write Something Practical

A study on the psychology of content sharing showed that 90% of social media users share helpful content that is beneficial in solving other people’s problems. Majority of your content should include solid information or some form of advice.

Another popular content type are not only informative, but fun as well. Examples of these are list posts (headlines that start with words like “Top” or “Most”) and instructional contents (the “How-Tos” and “DIYs”).

Screenshots from Buzzfeed’s Tasty successful DIY videos.
Source: AdWeek.

4. Tell A Story

People love a relatable story. If you put a personal touch to your content, and people relate to it, they are more likely to share it. We are emotional beings and whatever we see online that makes us laugh, smile, cry, or angry, we share and pass it on.

Also try tugging at heartstrings with Nostalgia and Collective Memories.

If you know, you know. #80skids

5. Make It Timeless

While it’s important to stay relevant and cover hot topics, there’s also value in creating timeless content.

According to a study by Buzzamo, evergreen content consistently gains shares and links. Create content your audiences can go back to after a couple of years that would still feel relevant and shareable. These also means you’ll have content you can reuse again and again over the years!

A “listicle” from the Independent.co.uk from 2017 – still relevant today!

6. Make It Easy To Absorb

Have you heard of TL;DR?

Not everyone has the time to read a lengthy article, but there are other ways you can pass on useful information and get your post shared. Explore the different content formats and determine which one best fits your content and audience’s interests.

Here are the top content formats to maximise post engagement:

Videos

Studies show that 92% of social media users watching video on mobile will share it, and social video gets shared 1200% more than text and image posts combined. Make a video content that resonates with your audience, and most importantly, make it short and sweet.

 Images

Staged stock photos are a big NO NO! They look unnatural and boring. Create your own images, one that reflects your brand and the message you want to convey to your audience.

Example of an unnaturally staged stock photo.
Nobody is that excited to be at work. Ever.
Tacobell’s brilliant Instagram summer campaign.

Find out how you can create your image posts that speaks about your brand <link separate article on creating your image posts here>.

Infographics

You’ve conducted a research with compelling results, yet your article isn’t getting enough traffic. It could be because no one wants to read a huge block of text.

Try grabbing the reader’s attention by inserting your key findings into an infographic instead! Hubspot’s research suggests that infographics are shared 3x more than any other visual content online.

An infographic posted on Entrepreneur.com that shares tips on becoming successful.

Interactive Content

Create content that encourages your audience to engage with your brand by answering quizzes or questions, and sharing their results with friends. Examples of these are the Buzzfeed quizzes that describe you as a fictional character in a famous movie.

7. Find The Perfect Timing

Timing is everything!

Timing is the key to your successful social media content. Post on days and times your audiences are most likely to be online.

Sprout Social’s 2019 global study found that the best day to post on Facebook is Wednesday at 11:00am to 1:00pm (lunch time), while on Instagram, the best days are Wednesday and Friday at 10:00am to 11:00am. Of course, this varies depending on your location and type of business, so definitely check out the analytics for your social media platforms and work out your audiences’ online behavior.

8. Set Up Ads

Ads are an effective way of reaching a wider audience in a targeted manner, making sure your content is viewed by exactly who it was intended for. Determine the different types of social media advertisements and assess which ones are appropriate for your business and content type!


Social media is an ongoing learning curve as new technology is released and our audiences change their behaviour. Have you been doing something that’s worked super well for your business, or are you having trouble getting your channels to where you’d like them to be? Let us know, we want to hear all about it!

Instagram Likes No Likes. What does this mean for Aussie businesses?

The social media giant recently announced that it has rolled out a trial to hide the number of likes on a user’s post. The user still gets to see who have liked their posts by clicking on “and others”, however no other account can see this figure. The change has been implemented in seven countries including Australia.

The reason behind it?

“We want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves,” according to Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand’s Policy Director.

By removing the number of likes, their goal is to also “remove pressure” on its users. According to reports, the test also aims at determining how it will benefit the user experience by making them focus more on sharing content of things they love, rather than acting on the pressure of gaining a certain number of likes.

It’s a fact that social media influences our mental health. A 2018 survey from the Pew Research Centre found that about 40% of teens in the US feel pressure to only post content that had earned a specific number of likes and positive comments on social media platforms.

Considering these findings, Instagram has taken action to help resolve the issue by rolling out a few changes, including:

  • a new notification system to combat hate speech
  • updates on account disable policies
  • a new feature called “Restrict” to prevent bullying
  • and now, adding to this list is the “No Likes” test

How will the recent Instagram changes affect Aussie businesses?

The changes won’t have much effect on the way brand and influencer accounts (now called Creator Accounts) access their own data analytics. Instagram has said that analytics tools and other measuring platforms used by businesses are still able to track the number of likes on a post. However, social media marketers who use Instagram as their main platform will need to adapt. It’s no longer just a simple numbers game of “how many likes” and “how many followers”. Instagram strategies for businesses will need to be revised.

Humans are inherently social and follow a herd mentality, so if likes per post is a key metric you report on for your accounts, be prepared to see an overall drop and set new average benchmarks. The logic is simple – when users don’t see likes on a post, they are generally less likely to engage with it themselves.

How do we keep up with the pace of this ever-changing platform?

As a business owner, or a digital marketer, how can you adapt to these changes? Are you currently measuring your Instagram account’s success simply based on the number of likes on your posts? If so, have you considered different ways to measure your success apart from this metric?

This change is likely to stay. But don’t fret! You can generate successful outputs without having to feel pressured on the number of likes you get. Forget everything you know about Instagram post likes. Start paying more attention to your post reach, shares and clicks. These are metrics to identify whether users view your content to be “worthy”, and are key indicators of whether they will continue to take further actions with your brand.

It all boils down to how businesses will rethink the way they analyse data and the kind of content they put out there in order to drive a wider reach to achieve your business goals, and focus more on sharing content that drive sales, boost brand affinity and loyalty, and encourage user engagement in the long term beyond just post likes.

“While it’s a huge change to Instagram as we know it, it’s definitely not unwelcomed and it would serve to filter out a lot of ‘noise’ to ensure quality of content.” says Michelle Chiu, the founder of DOMIN8 Marketing.

“Instagram, social media, and digital marketing in general is a forever changing landscape. As a business owner or marketer, it’s just a matter of taking time to keep up with the latest updates, and being quick to adapt to new techniques and strategies. If your marketing budget allows, it would be helpful to gain insight from industry experts and specialist agencies.”

What do you think about the changes? How has it affected your social media performance so far?

Let us know in the comments below – we’re keen to hear about how it has impacted each brand!

Data should NOT define your marketing strategy

Now before all the big data advocates out there challenge me with arguments for the importance of data in marketing, let me just clarify one thing: I myself am very big on data. In fact, every project I enter into, my first two questions are always: 1) “How are we tracking this?” and 2) “How are we using the data to improve?”. So believe me, the purpose of this post is not to tell you to stop using data.

With the aid of technology advancements collecting data is now easier than ever, from every phone tap to even the slight twitch of an eye while browsing a website, marketers now have access to all facets of consumer behaviour along their buying journey.

Companies are fast realising and leveraging on these opportunities by shifting large portions of their marketing budget towards the acquisition of analytical software, and even building entire new departments for this sole purpose. So much so that data has become a single focal point to drive marketing forward.

Yes, data’s now a crucial part of strategic marketing, but should never be the ONLY determining factor of your strategies. Here’s 3 simple reasons why:

1. The traditional stuff worked before (and still do).

Television, radio, billboards, print – the traditional methods of advertising were purchased based on estimated viewership and circulation, and little to no empirical data to support their spending. Without direct linkage from an ad to the conversion, accurate ROI was hard to prove. Yet these were the main ways companies interacted with their audiences.

Who hasn’t seen a Coca Cola billboard and felt thirsty before? There’s no denying that these traditional methods were, and still are, effective ways to get brand messages across. While success is harder to measure, they should not be overlooked in the digital age.

2. Consumers are humans. With emotions.

We can spend all our time looking through data to find patterns and leverage on them to maximise our ROI until we reach the point of diminishing returns. However, all it takes is a slight change in consumer sentiment to send all our patterns out of whack.

Consumers are emotional human beings, and should never be seen as just a big pile of data waiting to be deciphered.

Don Draper may be fictional, but if there’s anything we can take away from Mad Men, it is this: “Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness. And you know what happiness is? It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you’re doing is okay. You are okay.”

For a campaign to be successful we must connect to our target audience on the deeper emotional level, identifying a need or desire and finding a point of relevance to communicate our product as the solution. Use emotions to create a bond between our brand and our customers, so that even when sentiments change, they will still come to us to satisfy that underlying need.

3. Don’t kill creativity by repeating history.

Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is formed.

Keyword: new.

Yes, collect the data and use them to make decisions. Just be mindful that all that does is tell us to repeat something that was done before based on higher performance. Historically.

One cannot innovate if we keep following the same routines, so as marketers we must always challenge ourselves to look away from what’s been done, and identify whatelse can be done to take our campaigns up another notch.

Conclusion

Data analytics have opened up many new ways to refine our marketing strategies, but should not be the defining factor of all our activities. To stay on top of the game and be resilient to changes, we must understand the lingering success of traditional media, stay true to our target markets’ craving for real human connections, and keep an open mind for creativity.

Trust your gut instinct, and support it with data.

Pokémon GO: Built on Collective Memories & Emotions

Having spent a good part of my childhood in Hong Kong, I remember being excited every Mid-Autumn Festival, because I would have the chance to go to the park and hang out with other kids until late at night, roaming around and showing off our awesome blown up lanterns attached to a plastic tube handle.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaaeqaaaajdk5mtblntbiltiznmytndy3oc05m2vjlwu2yjuyytjjzdk1yg

It’s been a long while since I’ve participated in this especially because I moved away from the city for a number of years, but it has always been something I reminisce about every time the festive period came around. It is undoubtedly part of the Collective Memories (集體回憶) of all Hong Kong children. Ahh, the good old memories.

Fast forward to today, Day One of the launch of Pokémon Go in Hong Kong. Being the typical millennial that I am, I decided to explore the streets of my neighbourhood to do some hunting and test out the game.

Everywhere I walked were people with their heads down focused on their phones, some exploring solo, some as couples and some in groups of friends. In fact, when I reached the park opposite my block, I noticed that I was reliving my childhood moments from Mid-Autumn. Except this time around instead of lanterns dangling off plastic tubes, it was brightly lit smartphones attached to portable powerbanks. And the ‘kids’, well, are probably the same kids that I would have hung out with some decades ago.

As I was washed with an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia, this strange correlation made me realise one thing. The game’s success is built on Collective Memories.

For those that have played it you’d know it’s overly simple. Open the app, walk around until you see a Pokémon appear on your screen, swipe Pokéballs at it until it’s ‘captured’. Repeat.

The game’s popularity is not because of the gameplay itself, nor is it the graphics or storyline (what storyline?). It is because of the childhood memories of the the millennials, and the sense of nostalgia and belonging the game brings. I myself reconnected with a friend I have not seen for several years just because we happened to be playing Pokémon Go in the same park by chance, and I also noticed strangers on the street connecting with one another over the game. It’s the feeling of ‘hey I know what you’re up to, you’re awesome too’, and the ability to bond and be a part of this community.

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The result?

Within three days of its release, Pokémon Go attracted more users than Twitter.

As of mid-July 2016, the game attracted just under 21 million daily active users in the US, surpassing Candy Crush saga’s audience of 20 million and making it the biggest mobile game in US history.

Also share prices skyrocketed for Nintendo, albeit being a case of mistaken identity. But that’s another story.

Key takeaway for your business?

It is estimated that millennials will be spending $200 billion annually by 2017. So if you wanna be the very best, like no one ever was (please excuse the reference), you need a thorough understanding of their behaviour.

Pokémon Go is a golden example of how millennials consume products. They act on feelings and emotions. Genuine connections with a brand are more convincing for them than any sales or marketing tactics that they are targeted for.

So find relevance in your product for your target market, activate emotional responses. Be convincing in your communications, and build genuine relationships with them.

That’s the only way to catch ’em all.