Why the future of advertising is human
Although technology is changing our world, its still a world populated by real life people. This means businesses need to increasingly consider their role in society in order to be successful…| September 30th, 2015
Our industry is an amazing place to be right now, and I’m enjoying it despite the many people bemoaning technology taking over our jobs; because I think ‘big bad business’ is actually increasingly human.
Gone are the days when corporations could just shout messages at people, nowadays brands need to have a real relationship with their customers and increasingly need to be contributing to society at larger to be successful. As in actually contributing, having a purpose and delivering on it. It’s no longer enough to say you’re sustainable or supportive, you have to be it – because people can see if you’re lying or stretching the truth.
Just look at Innocent, who are famous for positioning their brands around a greater social purpose. It comes across clearly in their marketing; their strap line is “tastes good, does good”. And they live up to this through their behaviour by investing considerable time and money into sustainable sourcing, including doing face to face meetings with all suppliers and paying a premium for fruit that has been certified by independent environmental and social organisations. Plus they give 10% of their profits to the charitable Innocent Foundation to help the worlds hungry.
Or take AmEx, who’ve invested in small local business through their ‘Shop Small’ movement, which provides support to small business through entry to the ‘Shop Small’ directory and map, downloadable marketing assets, and the potential to receive free online ad space. In addition the movement has gained buy in from senior business leaders in the UK, political figures and other brands, all of which helps the small business community. As a result, the most well-known element ‘Small Business Saturday’, generated a 20% increase in footfall to small shops YOY in 2014.
And then there’s the growth of smaller do-good-make-money brands, in particular in the ‘buy-one-give-one’ space, like Toms and Warby Parker (a US company that gives pair of glasses to people in need for every pair they sell).
This shift is good for society, but it’s also good for me because I get to work in content marketing and it’s an amazing, interesting, constantly-evolving arena right now. Content allows brands to tell stories, to connect with people at a small, meaningful, human level. On top of that, we have the ability now through content platforms and technology to tell those stories to groups of people who really care.
Technology in media may look like it’s going to rob us of our jobs, but as content, storytelling and meaningful connections become more important to brand success, I think our industry can only become more reliant on real people, not less.