By Jessie Bland
It’s all me, me, me. That’s right; this year, content is going to be all about me – or you, for that matter. Individual identity is going to take centre stage, which, understandably, has implications for brands and businesses alike.
At a recent Professional Copywriters’ Network Conference I attended, advertising expert Dave Trott shone on a light on the importance of the person, over the people. He redefined what many of us consider as media – the likes of newspapers, magazines and social media sites; explaining that these are simply channels that the true media, each of us, use to spread the word. So, if you want your brand to gain leverage with the media, you need to gain leverage with you and me.
This goes some way to explaining why the concept of ‘me’ became so important in 2013, and will continue to do so over the next 12 months. The #selfie went from trend to neologism, earning itself a place in the Oxford English Dictionary, and user-generated content, particularly Vine videos, became principal social-sharing currency.
Brands and celebrities alike recognised that focusing on the individual was crucial in a digital landscape littered with broadcast 140-character opinions and self-portraits. As our very own Gareth, head of Studio D, points out in his recent blog: “it’s about everyday people, be that consumers or business owners, telling their story and, if relevant, how a brand’s story relates to them.”
So, how can brands go about putting the ‘me’ back in media? Firstly, it’s critical businesses think of their customers not as masses of faceless entities, and instead treat them as individually as possible. For instance, segmenting your customer data will enable you to target groups of individuals differently – sending those who have made a purchase, or worked with you recently, one direct email, and those who haven’t, another. It’s as simple as it sounds: customers who feel you have their specific needs in mind are much more likely to be engaged with what you’ve got to say.
It’s important to remember that if your success is based on the individual, you need to deliver content directly to those individuals. And the best way to do that is make optimum use of the channels and the devices where they share information and opinions – chiefly social media and mobile devices. With mobile traffic set to overtake desktop early this year, and smartphone users spending 9 hours and 6 minutes a month on social networks, ensuring your content appeals to on-the-go consumption is essential.
Finally, give your brand a personality. Individuals want stories they can latch on to and identify with. This means you need to generate narratives which put your customer at the very centre. Take Tesco Mobile for instance: in November, those behind the brand’s Twitter account took the opportunity to transform a reply to a follower into a virtual tea party. This quite rapidly became a viral sensation, and at the same time, projected a shining example of Tesco’s stellar customer service focusing on the individual (every little clearly does help).
So, let’s start stop talking about ‘them’ and ‘us’, and put the ‘me’ back in media.