Marketers are always so busy researching the latest tools that will get their messages in front of audiences they can sometimes forget they are dealing with people not machines.
AOL’s Digital Prophet David Shing told Adobe Summit EMEA 2015 delegates today that they should do what he does and observe “humans in the wild”, interacting with two or more screens on the move.
“The new form of self-expression is entertainment,” he said. “You just have to watch people and see what they do and how they do it. We think that we are in a massive scrum of brands screaming for attention but actually most people don’t think about brands; they have things they like doing on sites and in apps and brands can be a part of that.”
The secret is to look at behaviours and technologies that are emerging before they go mainstream and getting positioned so you are ready to be where humans are. People are not passive consumers, Shing warned, so a lot of thought has to be put in to making them part of a brand experience, which can mean letting go of a little control.
“People are content creators, curators and critics,” he said. “You need to go and find out where they’re talking about your brand. Go to places you might not normally spend a lot of time, such as Reddit or the Huffington Post, wherever it happens to be, and join in the conversation. It might mean losing a bit of control over your brand messaging but that’s what you have to do.”
Shing’s parting advice was to hack your brand to find out what it stands for and how it could be used in entertaining ways that people will engage with and share. In fact, he argued, this notion of sharing is far more important than a ‘like’ because someone sharing your content means they are aligning themselves with it and suggesting it to friends, the most human of all interactions a person can offer.
“A ‘like‘ counts for nothing but a share is invaluable because it’s someone expressing themselves through your content,” he said.
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