Andreas Pavlou
Andreas Pavlou 15 April 2016

Getting "Bullied" in a Digital World

The consumer’s change of habits, the rapid evolution of technology, the hype for innovation, the new consumer journey all suggest that a switch to digital communication is mandatory. It's no longer just a better option but a must do communication channel. 

Yet the flood of "forces" that the consumer experiences seem more like "bullying" towards your brand efforts. 

Our daily lives are dominated by a "flood" of information, messages, interactions and attention grabbers wherever we look. Our monitors seem far too small to fit the information we want to see with a single look. The so called second screen effect is now well past due as we are moving towards a third screen effect and a multitasking across all our senses - we watch TV, while socializing with friends on Viber, and browsing through social media for glimpses of entertainment shots. Not to mention that at the same time we tend to exchange half sentences, in an attempt to start a mini conversation with our better half, so that we don’t feel isolated and “addicted”.

Right now I find myself writing, looking for inspiration, with the Champion’s League semi-final playing on TV, while arranging via facebook chat this Saturday’s outing and keeping a close eye on the baby monitor to ensure she is sleeping well.  

An hour later I will find myself trying to recall whether what I watched was a good match. Who hit the crossbar? When? What exactly did I write in Digital Doughnut and what was the last facebook post I liked. Perhaps the only thing I will remember will be that the baby had a good night’s sleep as I was not interrupted by her cry. Can you recall what you liked on facebook last night? Are we all suffering from ADD? 

Therefore, what happens in the consumer's everyday life, is clearly a lack of attention. Concentration and focus is minimized, while message recall drops to 0. And we, as marketeers strive to communicate our brand's message to the end consumer and hope for a miracle to happen.  

This is our time, an era where everything happens faster than the last time you did it, where people who need to stand in line to pay the cashier, take that moment as an opportunity to upload a photo of their shoelace seeking “freedom” from the tight bow… Share that on Instagram and facebook and hope for some interactivity by friends.

So all these instances that the consumer is distracted from reality, we tend to consider them as opportunity windows to pass our brand message, to squeeze in a bit of a voice in the clutter of messages and images that he or she will come across. To create a magical moment that we will manage to magnetize the consumer’s attention, earn the interaction and then “celebrate” the triumph of success. 

In whatever communication we attempt to do, the cornerstone of success lies in the strategy and its form of execution. We need to prioritize our needs, our messages, figure out the hooks that will earn our brand more than that 1 second existence in the consumer’s mobile phone.
Admittedly, we do get carried away by all the things we want to do and would like to say about our brand. We get so absorbed on what we want to say, what we want our potential clients to think, that we tend to forget what the consumer wants to hear. And most of the times he/she doesn't even want to hear anything. So we need to decode what our core audience absorbs and we need to transform ourselves to an attractive entity that he/she will want to interact with. 

Unless we provide value to whomever we are trying to talk to, we won’t even live that 1 second the consumer will allow us to live. 

Unless we form our brand and our communication efforts to something the user will enjoy to experience we might as well cover ourselves with formaldehyde and stand still.

Unless we come to life in the form we are expected to, we might as well shut the door and live in the dark. 

The wheel has turned and turned things upside down and although brands attempt to shape ourselves, it is the consumer who holds the final polish. Although the basis remains unchanged, the rules of the game have changed.

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