Advertising messages inundate us in print, broadcast and online. According to a recent study by Razorfish, the average person experiences “5,000 brand messages a day and [most of us] don’t have the time or energy to care about most of them.”
All these banners, jingles, newspaper inserts and videos blast their way into every conceivable nook and cranny of media space, making it impossible for consumers to avoid. We’ve reached a saturation point in traditional advertising, and most of us will do whatever we can to get far, far away from the omnipresent marketer’s voice ringing in our ears.
People are busy working, living and just trying to keep up. While some ads offer a 30-to-60-second humorous escape from the daily grind, many messages simply pander the offer of the day…or more likely the offer of the minute soon to be replaced by the next minute’s deal from a competitor.
Become Useful to Your Shoppers
In this oversaturated environment, people place value on “brands that are useful over brands that are interesting;” however, everyone defines usefulness differently. A young father at home with 3 kids may need an easy way to make a chore chart while a 22-year-old young woman just out of college may seek inexpensive ideas for creating a great nail art look.
Usefulness Leads to Brand Loyalty
Loyalty programs provide a basic level of utility (in the form of monetary or other compensation for time spent with a brand,) and some services have emerged such as Jingit, Snap and iBotta) that pay actual cash when shoppers give their attention to brand messaging or purchase a product. These companies understand that “consumers are now aware of how much their attention is worth to marketers, and they expect to be rewarded for it.”
Directly paying for a consumer’s attention is a special kind of honesty not long seen in advertising, but it does little to engender true loyalty between shoppers and brands. Modern life is complicated and we seek things to make it less so. When brands provide interesting content and useful tools to help solve our problems, we are more likely to purchase products from those brands on their next trip to the store.
In this brave new world, brands must talk about things other than price and features with their shoppers, and social media is the best avenue for these conversations. We have entered the era of the useful brand. Useless brands today will quickly become the irrelevant brands of tomorrow.