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Impression Picks – Digital marketing roundup for October 2023

This article was updated on: 22.11.2023

Welcome to October’s edition of Impression Picks! This digital marketing roundup serves as some food for thought for you from Impression’s experts and the wider marketing community. Each month, we will highlight an interesting article, insight and campaign of the month.

This month features thoughts from our strategy team, including; Strategy Director, Claire Elsworth, Senior Digital Strategist, Rebecca Edwards, and Digital Strategy Consultant, Matt Roffe. As always, we hope you enjoy the content and insights we provide as a part of our monthly roundups.

Get off the bandwagon: Culture without crowbars

Be honest. Are you sick of the David Beckham meme yet? Because spoiler alert, there are definitely brand social media teams still working on their response to it, and how to integrate the Halloween sale message in a culturally authentic way.

I get it, we all want our brands to resonate with our audiences. We want to build a relationship; recently we’ve seen a flurry of studies demonstrating the power of emotional messaging in driving business results. But there’s a fine line between cultural synergy and inauthenticity… the dreaded bandwagon effect. Social media users can smell a fake a mile off, and are not afraid to unfollow a brand they think is being inauthentic or irrelevant*. So how do we ensure we stay on the right side of that line? Here are three questions to ask yourself as you’re building out your culturally-driven social content plan:

  1. Is the cultural moment or conversation likely to align with your social audience? 
    • There are a whole host of social listening tools out there that can help you understand the demographics, interest points or community affinities of topics and brands, provided the conversation or following is large enough. Cross-reference this with that of your own brand – does the data suggest that your audience will understand or appreciate you inserting yourself into this cultural moment? 
  1. What do you want to achieve with this content? What mindset do you hope to find your customer in, and leave them with? 
    • If you’re trying to encourage a transaction, perhaps with a culturally aligned sale message, does the cultural angle add value or context to the sale message? We’ve all seen an abundance of “spooky deals” this week, the content of most of which have nothing to do with Halloween. Don’t avoid culture, but avoid gimmicks and crowbars. 
  1. Will this still be relevant when you go live? 
    • Believe it or not, the Gartner-Hype cycle (the graphical representation of technology adoption and maturity) can also apply to cultural conversation. It doesn’t always apply, and it’s not easy to predict which will establish themselves in mainstream social conversation once they’ve fallen from their peak. The key is to use social listening data to monitor the trend in conversation volume and avoid going live anywhere near the Trough of Disillusionment. If the trend is falling and hasn’t recovered yet by the time you’re hitting go-live, you risk missing the mark.

Article reviewed by: Claire Elsworth

Global research and insights agency Mintel has dropped its latest report that highlights what’s new in the world of consumer behaviour and how it’s going to affect marketing and innovation.

As we approach the halfway point for Q4, many of us have been busy with 2024 planning. With that in mind, now is the ideal time to gather insights into your market and audience. 

This last year has been a big one. We’ve had to ride out the lingering effects of COVID-19, global economic uncertainty, and the continuous development of exciting technology – all of which have undoubtedly impacted consumer behaviour and our response to this. 

So, what’s on the table for next year? While I recommend reading the full report, here are the headlines on the top trends shaping the consumer landscape for 2024 and beyond. 

1- Being Human – With 2023 having been a huge year for AI, it’s looking like technology will outpace humans in the next few years. While this will come with some great benefits, consumers will still seek human interaction and enjoy elements that make us so unique – emotion, creativity, empathy, etc. Businesses will need to find a balance between the two to win over consumers in the future.

2- More than Money – Consumer needs and priorities are forever changing and evolving, but despite the current financial pressures being felt by many, consumers will continue to reassess what matters to them most. Consumers have increasingly diverse ideas of what indicates ‘quality’ in a product or service, so brands need to identify and communicate the key attributes that directly contribute to consumers’ perception of quality and how they ultimately make the product better.

3 – Relationship Renaissance – The combination of the pandemic and the growing use of technology and screens in down-time has caused many consumers to experience a drop in real-life social interactions and interpersonal communications. In 2024, the most successful brands will seek to pull consumers out of this void and find innovative and creative ways to bring people together and support in helping their wellbeing while creating positive, memorable experiences. 

4 – New Green Reality – With the impact of the climate crisis becoming increasingly evident, brands need to go further to prove that their focus on sustainability goes beyond being a selling point and becomes a key part of their brand survival. The brands who will go beyond and focus on innovation to create tangible solutions will be the real winners.

5 – Positive Perspectives – The world can sometimes feel like quite a negative place, especially in the last year where feelings of uncertainty have arguably been heightened from political, financial, technological and other external factors. To succeed next year, brands need to adopt a more honest and realistic depiction and offer consumers the support and assurance to help with their worries or concerns. 

To gain a better understanding of these interesting trends and to see how brands are already embracing these, check out the full report!

Insight by: Rebecca Edwards

The Music Industry: The leading light for brand storytelling

Listening and playing music was a huge part of my upbringing. Much like the 616.2 million people around the world, listening to music is more than a habit of daily life.

Aside from personal life, music has been a consistent influence in my career, and I maintain that the music industry is one of the best (if not THE best) when it comes to brand storytelling. Especially when it comes to creative and digital execution.

Musical taste aside, take a look at the recent album and single announcement by Green Day.

Build up

The build-up began last year, with the band celebrating the birthday of several albums (Nimrod & Dookie). This was their chance to drive momentum and buzz, and they excelled at it. A fantastic segway to the main event – their album announcement.

Surprise & delight

Fast forward to September 2023. Fans will recognise the song ‘Wake me up when September ends’, and will be familiar with the website that for years has existed purely to say “is Green Day awake?”. Well, this year the band responded, other than the ‘yes’, with a new album teaser…

1st October

They released a video across social channels of the singer waking up in bed to the sound of an alarm clock. He looks at a calendar with 24th October circled in red marker. He hits the alarm clock and goes back to bed, as he does, a teaser of the new single plays. Green Day fans rejoice.

Week on week

A gradual build of video shorts and UGC teasing the new single music video. Plus a gradual build up of personalised details through CRM.

Release day

The big bang release coincided with ‘When We Were Young’ festival and an Amazon music live show.

The hype from the initial release looks to eclipse interest in the band over the last 12-months. They already have the next single planned, so let’s watch this space.

What can we take away and how could you apply it to a product or service launch?

(Applicable for both B2C & B2B)

  • Resonate & tease

Teasing isn’t enough. You’ve got to look hard at what will resonate with your audience segments. When planning teasing content, ask yourself ’so what?’, ‘what is going to make my audience actually care?’.

  • Use your latent brand footprint

Mature brands investing in New Product Development or extensions should consider their latent brand footprint. What historic levers could you use? What are meaningful attributes that consumers love about you? Start-ups, are there any industry or more cultural levers you can use to your advantage?

  • Big picture planning

If you’ve got a big story to tell, take the time to plan it right. Think about all key messages, key moments, and best amplification channels – how do they integrate? What’s their role in the story?

Campaign reviewed by: Matt Roffe

Look out for our next Impression Picks in November for more digital marketing articles, insights and campaigns to inspire your digital strategy. Have any further questions? Get in touch!