Amid the super saturated digital advertising space, how can your brand break through? Contributor Peter Minnium explains how building an audience will give you a competitive advantage.
Today, brands market and sell their products in an environment that is more competitive than ever. Consumers are subjected to so much marketing content that it is hard for any one brand to stand out, leaving them trying in vain to outshout their competitors. Products are so advanced that even the most basic models far exceed people’s needs, and innovations lead to, at best, short-term marginal share gain as they are quickly met by competitors. Perhaps the only truly sustainable competitive advantage remaining is having a deeper, better understanding of — and relationship with — the people who do, or may, buy your product. Achieving this is clearly challenging: All brands have access to essentially the same data — on consumers, media targeting, social networks, purchases and so on — as well as the same analytical tools and expertise.
The pushmi-pullyu of brand engagement
Real competitive advantage won’t be found by looking harder in the same old places; it requires a paradigm shift in how brands view and engage with people. Successful brands will treat people as an audience whose protracted engagement must be cultivated, rather than imagining them exclusively as consumers whose immediate choices are to be influenced.
Like the woolly pushmi-pullyu, this holistic strategy must unite the need to compel action with a newfound ability to capture the audience’s imagination, pulling them into the brand narrative just as much as it pushes them to buy.
One need only look at the relative valuations of Facebook and Twitter to understand the value of an engaged audience, and many brands are beginning to frame the challenge in this light.