3 Insights On How Brands Can Create Disruption for a #BrighterFuture

I recently attended the iMedia Brand Summit where top brands from around the country come together to share insights, trends and tips. The theme of the conference was “Marketing in an Always-On World,” and couldn’t be a more accurate statement about the landscape brands and marketers are in today.The good news? The scene is set for marketers and brands to really step up.

As marketers, there are a few challenges we are currently facing:

  1. Tackling the content conundrum
  2. How to master the art of storytelling

Great companies not only tell a story, but whenever they can, appeal to the emotions. As Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction stated, “companies have to stop treating customers like lab rats thinking, ‘how can we just get a click,’ and then stalking them around the internet endlessly with no shame.”

Related Article: B2B Marketing in 2014: The Trends, Successes and More

Here are a few things to remember:

  1. If you aren’t intelligently retargeting and running advanced targeting through distribution, you should be. But that’s not enough.
  2. If you aren’t tracking your customers and delivering content that’s relevant to them and their behavior, you should be. But that’s not enough.
  3. If you aren’t a player in programmatic, you should be. But that’s not enough.

All the ad tech in the world isn’t going to build a brand. It may drive more revenue. It may allow you to find like audiences to target after and increase your customers and database. It may allow you to automate lead nurturing campaigns and triggered email campaign spends, but what happens once you stop spending money?

Will your brand be remembered?

#1 In order to create disruption today, you have to create emotion.

At the end of the day, we are all humans. We have emotions. Susan Weinschenk, a.k.a. @thebrainlady, said that “good stories make a concept visual, tangible and personal.” Great brands give customers a taste of what they offer and gently remind them to come back for more.

Apple doesn’t have a gigantic button that says BUY NOW throughout their pages because they don’t have to. They create a great experience and tell a great story so you just want to buy. Credit card companies don’t share images of their credit cards, they share images of beautiful travel locations and yachts and fancy cars. They inspire a feeling of desire in their customers. Just take a look at Capital One’s Pinterest board. Their tagline says it all: “Life’s rewards can be pretty sweet. We’re serving up inspiration and #rewards to help you get more!”

Skincare brand Dove’s mission was to reach more women. After conducting a study, they found only 4% of women think they are beautiful. So what did they do about it? Dove decided to create content around this issue by targeting women’s insecurities, and allowing users to displace negative banner images in social with positive messages. Dove’s Facebook mentions increased by 71% and over 50% of the women who visited the app created a message. Dove disrupted the marketplace by creating emotion in women around the world.

#2 In order to create disruption, brands must combine technology and customer insights to deliver a new experience.

Companies need to innovate. Gone are the days of static articles and :30 second videos. If you are a brand, how can you merge technology with customer insights?

Hellmann’s did it by creating a new experience for customers called “recipe receipt.” If Hellmann’s was in a shopping cart, the POS software created a recipe with the other ingredients that was purchased.

The results? With installation in 100 cash registers around the world in 3 months, sales increased 44%. Take a look at this video clip below.


Kelly Moore Paints similarly built an application that allowed a user to choose paint colors from a palate swatch, and then save that color collection as an image that was sharable on Pinterest and Facebook. This not only created a massive content selection for Kelly Moore to use, but it inspired creativity and sharing. Kelly Moore Paints made it personal by combining technology and customer insights to deliver a new experience.

#3 In order to create disruption today, you have to enlist brand ambassadors.

When BuzzFeed started, their goal was (and still is) to create viral content. They are obsessed with entertaining, substantive content and social advertising. According to the CEO Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed hires people who are tapped into the flow of culture on the web and know how to add their own ideas to the mix and create entertaining posts people love.

BuzzFeed understood that if they were going to be a publisher, than every single one of their employees has to publish. They also don’t believe in only driving traffic where good journalists can’t take the time to create robust stories OR creating content for just ad revenue which forces content creators to write new sections just because brands want to sponsor it (or so they say), and it shows.

There’s growing value in sharing your brand’s unique content on secondary platforms like LinkedIn and SlideShare. And the only people who can create distribute content are people, not brands. In order to create disruption, hire brand ambassadors who share and care.

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