Brand stories for a new time
The social and political landscape of our country has changed significantly. Regardless of individual political views Australian culture as we have known it is undergoing major transformation. Countless royal commissions, including Child Sexual Abuse in the Church, Misconduct in the Banking sector and now the Aged care inquiry are all having a major influence on our traditional attitudes and how we see institutions operating in the community. Attitudes to our culture and society are being challenged in a major way. Historically companies have concentrated on their own activities and whilst wanting to be good corporate citizens have tended to look after their shareholders rather than the community at large. Today social activism via social media has created an environment where pressure is being put on boards and company owners to tackle social issues that have never been in the realm of a company’s operating charter. Climate change, growth of real wages and social consciousness are now bigger topics for boards and a quick look at professional journals shows how much the management mood has changed and evolved.
With an inbuilt scepticism of the media and old style advertising marketers need to consider the conversation that is going on in their markets and to develop a strategy that is both honest and sustainable. The story of what makes a brand different has to be told. It is expected. No longer does a quick slogan capture a brand essence. It must be demonstrated and proven. It must be based on fundamental truths. Importantly it must also be defended. Whilst there are always trolls and activists who take pleasure in attacking companies on social media and mobilising their followers, companies must develop strategies including content on social media which address the need for information on topics that are of interest and relevance to their market. The ‘real’ issues not the easy ones.
Strategies should be developed around creating meaningful stories via videos and written stories that give credence and reality to the way a company behaves and its culture. The major risk is, If you don’t do it your competitors will. Already we are seeing the quality of social media and digital engagement lift with more thought and engagement creating an empathy with the market that can build trust and ongoing brand preference.