Changes in Business Communication Paradigms
Two of the most important advertising festivals in the world have just ended: Cannes, which has a global reach and El Sol, which is held in Spain and includes participants from all over Latin America and where I was lucky enough to serve as a juror. It is interesting to review the proposals that were presented at both events, as communication with the goal of selling moves into new territory.
First, let’s go back a bit in time. Brands were created to generate differentiation and through this difference, create margin. Historically, to carry this out, brands created an imaginary context around themselves through different positioning techniques focused essentially on functionality or emotional values, which transcended pure product performance or service. Now let’s see what the trend is. If we look at the brands that earned awards, we see a new way of understanding business communication which is moving along two paths.
On one hand, we find brands are transcending their own environments by sparking social discourse. That is, brands are becoming defenders of certain social issues, far from their core area of activity.
A great example is Banco Popular de Puerto Rico and its idea around the most popular song on the Caribbean island (a must-see online case study). The bank knew how to understand a problem in the country related with how people work:
Another case is Dove, with its campaign focused on inner beauty (it sounds very Disney, but that’s the idea). Could anyone be against a concept like that? These are two good examples of how brands are entering the terrain of social discourse, while trying to position themselves as companies.
On the other hand, the communication campaigns developed by the brands nowadays – and this idea is already very extended – seek to start with the consumer. Before it used to be the opposite; campaigns were designed to end at the moment of reaching the final customer (a good example of this new way of acting is the Toshiba case and Intel Inside. Before it used to be the opposite, thus campaigns were designed to end at the moment of reaching the final customer). Embedded in this new framework is the idea that the internet will increasingly dominate the future panorama of marketing communication.
For the time being, investment in the reigning form of media – television – continues to be greater than online media. But we have to assume that the new normal will be that traditional media (TV, press, radio and outdoor advertising) will be increasingly at the service of digital media and not the reverse, which is what many people have believed up until now. Ah… and to finish up and related with this last idea, I warn web surfers, CEOs and marketing directors: it is not enough to have a Facebook page and a Twitter account to say that you are a 2.0 brand. You need to understand what you, as a brand, offer to people so that they are interested in becoming a part of your social network.
This post is a copy of the original published in http://blog.iese.edu/marketing/
Foto: Internet Minute Infographic, by Intel Free Press