Every year, Oxford Dictionary chooses a word or expression to reflect the mood and general interests of society. In 2015, a pictogram was chosen for the first time, the “face with tears of joy” emoji.
This past year, however, was not as lighthearted and the phrase “post-truth” was chosen, representing 2016 as the year in which objective facts were “profoundly less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal beliefs.” What they’re really referring to is society questioning the definition of “news” and how to assess its credibility, or lack thereof, and it has broader implications. The way we interact as individuals and with businesses has changed.
As marketers, we have an opportunity to answer the call for trust, authenticity and emotionality. We have the chance to make 2017 the year of consumer confidence with marketing by using a voice that is socially contextualized and emotionally compelling.
In order to gain the credence of a wary audience, we have to stop selling and start communicating. Advertisements have become invisible to most and for those who still see them, skepticism has replaced intrigue. Legacy corporations are being exiled as millennials use digital media to build brands and increase sales using a familiar voice and rallying the support of their generation who holds the largest buying power and consumer voice of any age group, ever.
Millennials are ahead of the curve in this area because they can be. While big brands and legacy corporations are hamstrung by stringent brand standards and a legacy perspective on the tenure and tone of marketing, millennials are prioritizing the notion that people buy from people. By successfully using social content to introduce brands and create authentic stories, fostering emotional connection and personal touches through video, they are creating richer engagement, earning trust through transparency and driving sales.
In addition to engaging with people in a familiar manner, creating social conversation requires speaking to people where they live — across a highly fragmented video landscape. In a way, social video marketing is a form of door-to-door sales that requires reach across a breadth of distribution points and a frequency that keeps the conversation flowing.
To be an effective social video marketer, one needs a virtual river of emotionally relevant content with unprecedented levels of consistency, customization and velocity. A central challenge that companies of all sizes face is that the unit economics of manually creating video severely impede scale and ROI. Manuel video production inherently lacks the economy of scale the market requires and is gating our needs as marketers.
However, just as big data and conversational artificial intelligence have become “bionic” tools for the marketer to find and segment target audiences, a new breed of experiential artificial intelligence is helping extend human creativity to speak to those audiences through video. The deployment of artificial intelligence can and is redefining the economics of video creation, making social video marketing attainable in terms of time and money.
Through the use of this technology, marketers can quickly create an endless stream of professional grade videos, which allows them to authentically address consumers as people rather than audiences. There will always be a need for master storytellers and expert video production in entertainment and marketing, but experiential AI is allowing us to extend our creative capacity and create video with production value and, more importantly, the social and emotional credibility that people expect.
Instead of ignoring the notion of crowd-sourced truth and continuing to deplete consumer trust, the newfound voice of social video will help us move past the white noise of traditional marketing and back to the future of door-to-door personal engagement. In 1964, Marshall McLuhan prophetically coined the phrase “The medium is the message,” referring to the notion that the medium itself shaped and controlled "the scale and form of human association and action.” Social video marketing is not a strategy, it’s not a tactic, it’s the message, the medium and the new base for the marketing industry as a whole.