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This is quite a controversial question to ask as this insinuates that brands don’t focus on the individual?

All of the major brands today have incredibly detailed insights models to correctly define their exact consumer type. These models allow them to define different consumer types according to; their individual needs, life stages, cultural difference and demographics. With this in the armoury, most marketers feel they know exactly who they’re targeting. They also think that they get to deliver their individual brand messages to the exact audience they intend to.

The question is: Does the medium or platform used by these marketers actually deliver the well-crafted brand message to their perfectly defined consumer?

It probably does, but ask the local kindergarten teacher if you don’t have the attention of the kids in the classroom; story-hour becomes quite a frustrating time of the day and just doesn’t work. The opposite is true; capture their undivided attention and you have the ability to take them on the most amazing journey; filled with adventure where dragons exist, the prince still saves the princess and the impossible is still possible.

Brands, Services and Businesses all have fantastic stories to tell; great heritage and unbelievable USP’s to share; but in today’s incredibly cluttered and fragmented media world it’s more difficult delivering crafted messages.

How do you grab their attention? How do you take them along your adventure?

The world of influencers and the positive impact they have on brands is evolving fast. Yet in today’s day and age, many marketers still believe an influencer strategy is someone like Rihanna calling out your brand in her latest single. Yes, that could most definitely be a solid part of an influencer strategy, if that fits into your brand’s adventure. The amazing thing about influencer media as well as the evolution of this communications format is that it’s taken us back to the simplest form of communication; the one-on-one conversation – the personal connection.

Just think about it. How many times have you been made aware of a brand or considered buying a brand that you wouldn’t have considered if it wasn’t for a close friend recommending it? Why is this? It’s simple – you trust the person. The fact that they personally recommended it gave the necessary credibility for you to be willing to go out and as purchase it!

Mark Zuckerberg refers to the trusted referral as the Holy Grail of advertising, and honestly I am converted. To test this theory, I asked a bunch of mates about their purchase decision related to their golf clubs. Not even one of the eight of us claimed that any advertising message or professional golfer playing with the set or brand they bought as the reason why they invested in their chosen clubs. It was absolutely amazing when to the man each of them rattled off a story involving a close friend (including one of us at our 19th hole table) having shared some fantastic facts about the specific clubs which was the main reason why they decided to buy the clubs they had in their bag! All of them could recall who they had the conversation with and what the specific USP’s were that appealed to them as well as why this clinched the deal for them.

Furthermore, this conversation had an immense impact on me. This was a bunch of guys who have access to the best bouquet of television, who all buy magazines, read the news, drive major roads to work as well as listen to their favourite radio shows. Yet, all of them claimed that one-on-one conversation with friends was the deal closer for an investment of at least R20K! With eight of us at our table, this equated nearly R200K in golf clubs. All of this acquired due to the advice of a friend. In other terms, due to the impact of a micro- influencer.

In each instance, the individual golfer gave the person time to take them on a brand journey. Here they played more enjoyable golf and in some way, it made the impossible possible. No other form of branded communication had this impact on this consumer. No form of highly scientific targeting made a difference in effectively delivering the well-crafted messages, it was a simple conversation.

I realized that the one-on-one conversation between micro-influencers is by far the MOST powerful way to get a message across. True brand advocates deliver these messages with a level of passion that’s not easily matched!

To return to my first question: “Can Brands today still afford to ignore the individual?”, my simple answer would be: probably not. The day of the micro-influencer has dawned.  I can only imagine that more brands will start to use, (or won’t have a choice) these individuals to take people on their brand journey.

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