By Zahra Dhanani, Research Associate –
It’s not every week that you get to spend two days at a conference learning how to live your best DJ Khaled life. At least, that’s not the case for me. Digital Summit Atlanta 2017, was akin to a watching a ‘90s kids movie. I laughed a lot, made some new friends, cried a little bit (thanks, Morgan Spurlock), and learned important lessons.
Lesson 1 – Brand storytelling is the future
Having a consistent and impactful brand marketing strategy is probably more important than ever. Consumers no longer simply trust brands. Loyalty is fluid. Living in a world oversaturated with brands means that millennials and Gen Z kids are no longer swayed by advertisements. They need to hear reviews and feedback from their fellow consumers and take into account everything a brand stands for before making a purchasing decision. Building a solid brand involves authentic customer interactions, “behind the scenes” moments for your brand, and adopting an influencer or brand ambassador strategy to really connect with your target market segments.
Loyalty, once gained, can also help you achieve great things. Beyoncé has managed to release two platinum records in the last five years with little to no marketing or promotional efforts. Why? Because her fans, the #BeyHive, know they can expect a high quality and satisfying product.
What does this mean for the utility industry? More focus on the customer journey. Make opportunity a positive interaction for your customers in relation to your brand.
Lesson 2 – Being authentic is key
Companies have to take customers inside their brand and not just with glossy, high production instagram shots. Utilize story platforms, like snapchat and instagram stories, to show your customer base what you stand for. DJ Khaled used his reputation for being a real-life meme and snapchat stories to surge his popularity into the stratosphere. His growing legion of fans tune into his daily antics, whether he’s yelling in excitement about getting the Rihanna vocals, telling us his “keys” to success, or recording his son Asahd’s every waking (and adorably napping) moment. It’s probably why he’s now known as the King of Snapchat.
Need another reason to invest in micro-storytelling? Snapchat has 10 billion video views a day and, within a year, Instagram stories gained 200 million daily users.
“A Day in the Life” content is the easiest content source for any industry on Snapchat or Instagram. Utilities now have an opportunity to take their customers into the daily work lives of linemen, who already have a strong social following.
Lesson 3 – Adopt an ambassador or an influencer ASAP
What costs less than traditional advertising and can directly tap into your target market segment? A social influencer.
In 2014, Sour Patch kids and Logan Paul, a massive Vine and YouTube star, partnered up for Prank Week to raise awareness in their core demographic. The theme was “sour then sweet” coinciding with the brand’s tagline and involved a ton of hijinks between Logan Paul and a blue, life-size Sour Patch kid. The results were an impressive 120,000 new followers, 6.8 million impressions on the final prank day, 2000 mentions on Twitter, and more than 26,000 screenshots.
Also in 2014, BGE partnered with Baltimore-based journalist Angel Elliot to garner engagement with the company’s own branded social posts. Together, they created cross-channel content featured on both BGE and Elliot’s accounts, on everything from energy efficiency to community involvement to bill redesigns. According to Chartwell analysis, posts on Elliot’s accounts gained twice as many likes and comments with videos getting 35% more views, an impressive comparison.
The important things to remember are: a company should optimize its strengths and invest in what’s important to its audience.