The Hour of the Magicians
By Gunnar Schnarchendorff, Head of strategy, BBN Germany | 3 min read
Digitisation has changed a lot for brand owners. Channels have become more diverse and fluid. Today, we have to find out what role the channels can play within the customer journeys of target groups. Not to mention the challenge of managing all channels at the end - which is not a child's play.
In the future, it will be essential that people voluntarily engage with brands.
What we marketing experts always have to be clear about, however, is that our actual mission has changed dramatically. We used to advertise: we created a company's messages to its potential customers; planning, implementation, measurement (if any). That's it.
We are now in a world where clumsy advertising is frowned upon. People don't want anything to be sold to them anymore
The challenge: time spent with the brand
In the future, it will be essential that people voluntarily engage with brands. If they do not, the brand will inevitably slip into insignificance. That's precisely what makes our job different today. Today's marketing must be able to bring companies and people together in exciting and valuable encounters. The vehicle for this is called a brand. The brand is what can be touched, grasped and experienced in this relationship.
So as in every good relationship, it has to spark. When people and brands meet, experiences must develop such a positive force that they make a lasting contribution to the brand's experience account.
So in the future, brand managers will not be the jugglers of channels, content or media alone. That would be too mechanistic. Brand managers are magicians that create experiences. Wow, great job, huh?
However, as with real magicians, the job consists, to a large extent, of craftsmanship, so that that real true magic can be created. So let's take a look at what's important today.
Understanding the brand
If you want to create experiences between brands and people, you have to have a profound idea of your brand and its interaction with people. In addition to the classic brand definition of mission, vision, positioning, values, and so on, it must be clearly defined what the brand experience should consist of at each touchpoint; this helps to compare the desired image with the empirically determined actual brand perception.
Here, it is crucial to see the brand as an identity anchor, both internally and externally: Brand is an emotional home for both employees and customers.
Understanding people and their behaviour
On the other hand, today we must create a tremendous amount of knowledge about people, their expectations and their information behaviour, make it accessible within the company and, of course, keep it up to date. We need to know: what experiences does a customer have with the brand? Where do they meet at all? What experiences are expected and what significance do the individual touchpoints have?
In essence, we have to develop clear personas, point out their customer journeys and work out real insights to design all touchpoints afterwards in an ideal way.
Understanding data and research
Knowledge is therefore indispensable for shaping experiences between people and brands. This knowledge can be data and insights that we obtain from surveys and observations (e.g. online surveys, focus group discussions or in-depth interviews) or studies - or data from digital traces on the Internet. For example, from movement profiles or posts in forums, and so on.
Big Data sends its greetings. Today, it is the most crucial task of brand managers to continuously collect data, learn from it and use the knowledge gained to adjust brand management. So that at the end of the day, the person who perfectly masters the triple jump of knowledge acquisition, measurement and implementation will be in the lead.
What does the future look like?
No one will do "advertising" any more. There will be no more one-sided messages. The same applies to thinking in communication disciplines. Those who are not in a position to view and control the customer journey in its entirety will inevitably fail.
We will also have to review our KPIs. Media coverage will no longer be decisive. It will be important how much the content presented can create interaction with the brand among the relevant personas. Its ability to encourage people to engage with a brand and spend time with it will be the crucial part.
However, this also makes clear that good ideas and exciting storytelling are getting more important again. While in recent years we had feared that the world would become cold and mechanistic in the environment of numbers, data, facts and automated processes, magic is now returning to communication. However, backed by clear and resilient foundations.
Research and data analysis can provide us with strong insights. Moreover, these, in turn, can be a springboard with an enormous driving force for creatives. Presumption and hope have given way to higher reliability.
Data helps, but it is not an end in itself. It creates precision and knowledge, but at the same time also recedes into the background.
Well then: let's do our craft and perfect each handle, and then we'll start doing magic.
To learn more about how BBN could do some magic with your brand visit our website