A Mediapost item caught my eye this week, especially where it relates to brands’ quests to convert the passive “Likes” of fans to more serious, engaged love. There are some real changes in marketing-think that are long overdue.
A panel of teens aged 13-15, as they will gladly do when given the chance, presented the unvarnished truth at the recent MediaPost Brand Marketers Summit. They made it clear brands aren’t registering with them at all on social. And brand messages are not only something they don’t look for, they use whatever means are available to avoid them.
You’ll find most kids, or tweens, or whatever you want to call them, that age spending more and more of their screen time Skyping with friends or texting. These are one-to-one communication platforms that are, at least for now, not overladen with ad messaging.
They get especially ticked off about pre-roll ads on the videos they want to watch, some even singing Roku’s praises for providing a way to watch TV ad-free. That might be fair, especially for that wonderful experience when you’re made to watch a :30 ad to see a clip that’s only 2:00. That ad-to-content ratio isn’t a keeper at any age.
So what’s the good news? The fact is that although we are raising yet another generation that will avoid and feel antagonistic toward ad messages, these kids do “Like” brand Pages on Facebook. They’re just not sure why. They weren’t able to come up with a reason why anyone would. One young man was very clear…it’s not as though friending a brand was going to improve his day.
Bingo. He just gave you the answer. Teens like brands. They like your products. In fact, some are fiercely loyal to one brand over another. That’s the good news. But your social content is laying a big fat goose egg with them. You’re not improving their day. Your inability to get over yourself and think primarily about what they want to see, and how they want to see it, is making you the outcast.
While many brands are sweating bullets because they don’t feel like they’re slamming their ad message down hard enough on social users, brands like Red Bull have a total grasp on the mind and lifestyle of their customer. With them, it’s about the audience and about the content. The brand is just there as the presenter. And it’s working.
One panelist made it even clearer for us. She said if brands asked her opinion and showed they really cared about her, she might pay attention. Again, putting the customer first is the key to the kingdom, from content to deals to customer service. And we know it. We write about it and read about it again and again. Yet so many brands just can’t bring themselves to embrace it.
These brands simply don’t have faith that their customers will return the love, and that’s enough to stop any relationship from taking root.