How your brand can navigate a world of mistrust, misinformation and multiple mindsets

By Desireé Gullan, Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital

We live in contradictory and conflicted times, with ongoing debates around diversity, inclusion, gender equality, identity and hot-potato culture. What’s more, consumers no longer trust brands without serious consideration.

As marketing professionals, you may be wondering how all of this will impact your brands and bottom line, what the next major platform will be, content trend, device or viral sensation. Here’s G&G’s thoughts on what influences will shape the future and how we can source solutions through digital innovation.

  1. A digital world without borders
    Our world is essentially borderless, enabling us to communicate digitally with others from around the globe through in seconds. This isn’t just a collection of platforms, it’s the ultimate representation of globalisation.South African marketing professionals need to be mindful how much our local target audiences are influenced by global trends and we need to remain relevant. What’s more, we need to be even more strategic in our channel selection and targeting to reduce waste and ensure effective reach.
  2. An audience that is always-on
    People’s FOMO is seeing them being more involved, interactive and co-creating at all times of the day and night. They expect brands to communicate directly with them in an honest and authentic manner––and to take responsibility to have the right values and drive cultural change.Brands can no longer just be about making a sale. Marketing professionals have to interrogate what real value their brands are adding beyond just their features and benefits and make sure they are leaving the smallest environmental impact and the greatest positive impact on the community.
  3. I’ll share if you share
    Consumers have a heightened awareness of digital surveillance and data capture while understanding the value of their personal data to corporations and digital channels. Their behaviour goes from just “accepting cookies” to wanting something in return.
    Marketing professionals should carefully consider the type of data you truly require in order to understand your audience and to ensure you ask for the bare minimum from them to engage. Ensure your tone is conversational, humorous and most importantly, honest.
  4. Difficult but necessary conversations
    Whether #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo or #MindYourBusiness, many important conversations are taking place and shaping our culture, right now. Never assume your brand can simply join the conversation and get easy exposure along the way. Many brands have been called out attempting this.Brands wanting to be part of a movement must approach with sensitivity and authenticity. Examine your brand values, messaging and communication to make sure it genuinely belongs and can add value to the conversation.
  5. Be locally legit
    Social media allows us to travel without actually travelling and gives us access to various cultures, trends and mingling with communities. That said, people still identify with subcultures based on where they live, work and play.Hyper-localised targeting is the new benchmark for successful audience reach. What’s more, your brand can still remain global in outlook, but local in culture, by celebrating its origins and sharing local cultural nuances with your audiences.

Though 2019 and beyond may seem daunting, it’s an exciting time for brands and their marketing partners as we’re forced to introspect our values, remain focused and authentic and make a positive impact on the world around you. The options of finding new ways to reach your audiences with deep insights, smart strategy and breakthrough creative solutions has never been more exciting.