January 17, 2019 |
As we all know, social media is going to cure the world of all her ailments and run for president. It is probably the most proclaimed communications invention since 1875, when Alexander Graham Bell picked up his new telephone receiver and ordered a chicken tikka masala. The question is whether social media will last the same test of time or whether it will be exposed as a sham and fraudulent way of controlling society and extracting data. This for another day.
Communications agencies, people and no doubt educational courses have pivoted to include social and other digital media forms as they see this as the future, and they are probably right. Everyone, even those who previously had no interest in communications, is now mugging up on self-help courses on how to tweet, whether to post a picture of their breakdancing cat on Insta and whether Linkedin is the best forum to ask for a job. It’s all about profile dahling and everyone is now able to create something, post something and sit back awaiting the likes to come flooding in. No doubt company P&Ls have a social media line in their marketing spend that is devoted to promoting the profile of their CEO.
Where we once had creative advertising moguls such as David Ogilvy and the Saatchi brothers we now have Gary Vaynerchuck and Kendall Jenner. A sad state of affairs or a sign of the times?
I am old enough (no really I hear you cry) to remember Pearl & Dean advertisements before the films started in the cinema, non-electronic direct mail, advertising on the TV radio and in print. Yes I realise that some of this exists today. My point is that the communications methodology hasn’t actually changed, but what has changed is the media and the methodology. Marketing communications has existed for a lot longer than social media, although if you listen to certain podcasts you may think that pre-Facebook we just grunted, and it will exist for a lot longer afterwards. This is simply because marketing communications includes a lot more than just social media, it also includes the traditional media mentioned above.
Anna Roberts, in her article on the need for a more rounded communications strategy, rightly said that an over-reliance on social media needed to stop. Brands of all sizes, from start-ups to established concerns, seem to think that the instant gratification of a like on social media is all they need to build and communicate their brand. Traditional media such as TV, print and radio ads have suffered in the wake of this tornado, but like vinyl records, their time will come again as the backlash against social media and its lack of ethicacy is exposed.
Digital media campaigns have a lot going for them, they are instant and allow for data for be mined and results to be communicated to the the brand virtually by the hour, allowing campaigns to be modified according to the feedback. On the minus side, digital media is being touted as the universal answer to building a brand and communicating its virtues to, well actually good question, to who?
One of the downsides, not of the media but of the users, is a misconception that as long as you have Hootsuite you can power your brand onto an unsuspecting world. Imagine the surprise when it doesn’t. Careful understanding and profiling of your target audience and crafting campaigns to connect with their emotions has been replaced by a blanket of virtually spam communications that, because the cost is so low, are intended to reach everyone who follows the spammer. Today’s communications are about how many you reach and not how many of the right people you reach.
Look at F&B brands on any social media channel – what will you see? Will you see a well thought through and executed advertising campaign that is designed (key word) to engage with its profiled consumer or will you see a static shot of their latest dish, of their employee saving a cat or worst of all, the cheesy grin of the CEO proclaiming some brand blandness?
Whilst I understand that social media is cheaper than a TV campaign, it doesn’t mean that we should forget the basics of marketing communications – know your target audience, plan your message, design it with the audience in mind and measure the results, which don’t always come in likes.
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