New brief? Why not embrace your inner hipster
Have you heard that joke about Hipsters? You know the one… “Why does a hipster always burn their mouth when they drink coffee? Because they drank it before it was cool…”| July 21st, 2015
We’ve all heard the line – “I liked that artist before anyone else knew who he was”, “I remember this pub when it was a dive no one came to” etc, and most of the time we roll our eyes and wish they would stop being so pretentious… But, when it comes to social platforms, could the hipsters be right?
It’s always a dilemma when developing content strategy for a brand on whether to invest and set up on an evolving social platform. We know that it can take time, it’s often unproven, has limited scale and as a result has no guarantee of impact or success. As proposals go, that’s not a tempting route for strategists or planners anywhere and definitely not an easy sell to the client.
But wait. The hipsters out there say not-yet-cool stuff is awesome? What’s so amazing? And can it work for us?
Authenticity. Being part of something that is forming organically means being surrounded by authentic voices and communities – real people being innovative, creative and part of something new. That’s not a bad place for a brand to be – it shows them to be progressive, open and forward thinking; getting involved and getting closer to consumers.
If this fits with the brand’s values and ambition then this has the potential to be an incredibly powerful part of our content strategy. But, that’s a very important “if”. To successfully integrate into these fledgling communities brands must have an authentic brand voice and be credible. That means respecting the environment and playing by the rules. No one likes the guy who turns up to a casual celebration dinner with friends wanting to debate politics and the current state of the Greek fiscal system…. Don’t be that guy.
Involvement & influence. It’s not just about being there – it’s about actually getting the opportunity to help mould and evolve the platform. Early adopters can try new things, feedback on design and usability and ultimately help influence the evolution of the community.
It’s a bit like going to a gig – sometimes you can forget that the artist is getting as much of a kick out of you being there as you are and, although you could stand there absorbed in the music, the louder you applaud for your favourite song the better the feedback for the artist – you never know, it might make that song their debut release and that’s pretty awesome.
So when considering new platforms, investment in that community is often a two way street with benefits for both sides in having brands curate a presence there – we just have to ensure that we are making the most of that by promoting dialogue and feedback between platforms and brands.
Your consumers are there. Even if it’s just a small group – recognise that early adopters are often influencers among their peers and that makes them valuable. Getting involved with a platform early means being able to discover who they are, what they like and how they’re behaving. This is especially important for brands looking to align with an influential youth audience and leverage peer-to-peer platforms or recommendations.
Even if they’re not your consumers, understanding what platforms are getting traction or growing gives us insight on how a generation might be adapting. It’s worth paying attention. We might learn something interesting that can be applied to a brand at a later date.
You get to play. Emerging platforms offer new ways of representing your brand or telling your story. It might be an amazing opportunity to take on a different tone of voice, show a different side or reach a new set of people and in this ever evolving world we shouldn’t shy away from that kind of experimentation, especially if our strategy involves telling new stories or representing our brand in a different way.
Just take a look at GE who chose tumblr as a key platform for their content strategy recognising that they could present a more varied and fun persona in this environment, as well as tapping into longer platform dwell times.
And finally, first come, first served. If it does grow, if the platform is the next Snapchat, Periscope or WeChat, you will already have a presence and a voice. You’ll be there and be ready and, whichever way you look at it, that’s a competitive advantage. If you want to see what this looks like, check out Jamie Oliver, Starbucks and Burberry on Instagram – some of the first to the platform, with a well-defined voice, who have really benefitted from being there early by establishing a following which they can now leverage to full effect.
So when you’re looking to develop your next content strategy, consider which platforms to invest in next and where to build out your brand presence, maybe embrace your inner hipster and try something unproven and new. (Lumberjack beard/ pipe/ checked shirt/ tattoos/ pretentious coffee not required.)