I had an, erm, lively conversation with a client recently when they suggested connecting with their target audience by “doing something with our facebook page”. Since I’d just spent the preceding ninety minutes telling them that the majority of their customers really wern’t that bothered about or engaged with their brand and mostly bought it mainly because it tastes quite nice, I felt a ‘build it and they will come’ approach to online marketing was perhaps a bit flawed.
I think brand owners as a whole currently are having trouble getting their head around the idea that most of their customers and broader target audience won’t want to have a relationship with their brand. They just don’t want to engage. They’re not interested and are busy doing other stuff.
Think about it, how many brands do you buy or consume on a weekly basis? Are you likely to make an effort to interact with each and every one of them?
There’s probably half a dozen brands you feel a real connection to and another dozen you’d Like on facebook but that’s it. For the majority of brands, concentrating on doing online stuff in your brand’s ‘owned’ online spaces is like throwing a house party and expecting every bloke you’ve ever fancied to turn up.
The challenge for brands with low engagement audiences is to provide interesting, helpful and relevant stuff in an environment their customers are already hanging out at. That’s why the NHS does stop smoking roadshows at supermarkets and why O2 Gurus was a good idea. Translating this to online still means working with partners, they just might be bloggers, media partners or entertainment brands.
To stretch the analogy, if you’re on the lookout for a boyfriend, you’re more likely to find one by venturing out to a bar or friend’s dinner party than if you invite your mates round again to watch X Factor.