Brands today compete for attention spans as much as dollars. Which isn’t so much news as it is a reminder that brands are not only competing with each other, but also with consumer expectations.
With nearly everything we need and want literally at our fingertips, consumers care less about what you do, and more about how you do it, and they're getting better and better at filtering out brands that don't align with them.
Consumers have endless means to find exactly what they want and need the moment they want or need it. With this type of access, they’re less patient with brands interrupting their search, and more interested in brands getting ahead of it.
What you sell needs great content surrounding it, proving the product’s value, demonstrating your brand’s personality, and amplifying the company’s transparency. Quite simply, a brand’s content is as important as the product. It’s what will draw people in long enough to consider, and then buy, from you.
Content is what connects consumers to a brand, inspires them to share it, and aligns them to it. So brands must write with meaning because you’re talking to real humans who try new things, mess up, have hopes and need help. And have limited time.
Content can unfold in myriad ways, but one strategy is self-deprecation toward the sales process in general, which respects consumers’ hyper-consciousness of being sold to, especially while scrolling through feeds filled with things inherently more interesting to them—like people they know.
Content that illustrates a brand and then embellishes it fantastically is a wink to traditional marketing gimmicks and is finding success among consumers. Recent campaigns from Travel Oregon, for example, use pristine, perfect scenarios that are dreamlike in nature with a tagline that pays off with an inside joke: “Only slightly exaggerated.” It’s a recognition that they know what they’re doing; they’re presenting an overblown image of a (beautiful) state and then admitting it’s inflated. It’s a sales tactic packaged as a shared moment.
This only works when brands are self-aware of their intentions, putting their effort into aligning with the people they’re trying to reach, and thoughtfully addressing the cheesiness of “marketing” in an age of transparency. “We know you know we’re trying to sell you something, so we’re going to own that, but make it fun.”
Leaning into this transparency is another tactic to gain consumer trust, as cutting to the chase shows you respect their time. One example of this is RxBar, which creates content without any pomp, telling consumers exactly what’s in their product, and pretty much leaving it at that. Whether it’s on their website, social media, or TV spots, they waste no time promoting something fabricated, just telling it like it is so consumers can decide whether or not it’s what they need, quickly.
Today, transparency is less of an option and more of a demand. Consumers won’t waste time figuring you out when your competition is already divulging exactly who they are. Treat them like the savvy buyers they now are by either owning that you’re selling or providing exactly what they need to see whether or not you fit into their life.
Share with them. Don’t sell to them. Because well-done content is the difference between people being interested, or feeling like a targeted consumer segment.