WE Communications Blog: Consumer

— Gareth Davies 

Consumers have for a long time complained about the unnecessary intrusion of brands in their lives.

From irrelevant web advertising through to branded social content that many find uninteresting, consumers have been demanding better brand experiences. When they don’t feel they are experiencing the right type of content to spark their interest or when that content isn’t served to them at the right time or via the right channel, they simply won’t engage.

A lack of engagement means that brands’ investments in both content creation, paid promotion and community engagement often go to waste.

However, there are forces at play that are transforming how brands engage with consumers.

We are very fortunate to now live in a world where our digital footprint is forever expanding and evolving. Every interaction we have online from a simple Facebook ‘Like’ to a tweet to a brand’s customer service and every digital asset we engage with– be that a video in YouTube or a digital advertising banner – we are leaving a trail of information behind us.

The reason why I refer to this as a ‘fortunate’ scenario is because, as a communications professional, I am now in a stronger and more able position to help brands and organisations create one of the most important components of audience engagement – a one to one dialogue with their customers. With so much data now at my disposal I am better able to design campaigns and content that are more closely tied to the wants and needs of my clients’ audiences.

However, whilst modern day communicators embrace this big data world, consumers also need to embrace a world where the data trail they leave behind is being used to serve them more targeted but ultimately more relevant (and inherently more valuable to them) content and messaging.

So why, I hear you ask, if we live in such a data driven, digitally centric world, are we consumers not exposed to the type of brand experiences we seek?

The answer to this question lies in many brands’ limited ability to gleam ‘hot data’ (data that outlines actionable audience insight into content preferences and social behaviours) from the wealth of big data being generated across its Paid, Earned and Owned media channels.

To date, audience data is often generated and viewed in silos by different departments and teams within a business. Because no one is actively joining up the dots, these different departments and teams will only have a very narrow and limited view of their target audience. With such a limited audience view it’s no wonder that many brands are still struggling to get audience engagement right.

Yet from customer service to R&D to communications, marketing and commerce this ‘hot data’ can help you better create a more rounded and ‘real-world’ view of how well your organisation is performing in the eyes of its customers.

This approach enables you to create a ‘virtuous circle’ within your organisation. Better sharing of data will lead to more robust audience insight. Strength in insight will lead to more relevant content which in turn will drive stronger engagement with your customers across all touch-points. As long as you are collecting and collating this data throughout this journey you are then able to further inject this insight back into your organisation. If you continue this process over time you can even more precise audience insight.

So the challenge goes out to all brands and organisations – what are you doing within your business to join up the dots, to tap into all of the information you have at your disposal to create the perfect ‘hot data’ picture of your target audience?

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