Each Era comes along with its own terms and jargon. If we look back on the past decades, in the 80s we’d talk about ‘Advertising’ to refer to the way of communicating a product or service’s assets with the aim to persuade or manipulate a massive audience. Moving on to the 90s, people would start talking about ‘Corporate Image’ and ‘corporate values’, as instruments to encourage consumers to behave in certain ways; from the year 2000, expressions like ‘Experience Design’, ‘User Centered Design’ and ‘Branding’ have appeared in the worldwide market scene and have awoken many controversies on how to engage ad-sceptic consumers in an interconnected technology-driven world… So, what should we be talking about nowadays?
It seems evident that the global marketplace has changed dramatically in the recent years. Connectivity has opened paths for consumers’ voice to be heard through diverse and instantaneous new channels. Social media, mobile networks, blog posts… they have all provided people with fast means to start up spontaneous consumer-to-consumer dialogues as well as consumer-to-brand-to-consumer ones. Research shows that only 10% influence the purchase behaviour of the other 90%*. As a consequence, in this modern dynamic for conversation, the consumer is actually becoming a producer -of content, of opinion, of criticism…
Therefore, what role do Brands play in this open and public worldwide dialogue scene? At first, it is vital that they understand and accept their inevitable loss of control over consumers’ behaviour. Manipulation and persuasion are dead, that’s a fact. Brands should now be filling these empty spaces with relevant invitations and strategic actions that show coherence and consistency with their brand essence and throughout all communication channels.
We use the term ‘Crossmedia’ to refer to the convergent paths -roads, highways, corridors-, that Brands, and their messages, have to voyage through and across which they activate conversations with their ‘prosumers’. It is only through the holistic understanding and integrated strategic-driven communication efforts that brands can make people come back to them again.
The business world today is facing one of the most dramatic shifts, that also represents one of the greatest opportunities Brands have ever had: the opportunity to genuinely involve people and allow them to become less consumers and more Brand ambassadors. Our voyage has started… are you coming with us?
Image rights „Paris street corner, from the promenade plantee“ CC BY 2.0
* Joffe, Bruce H. “Personal PR: Public Relations and Marketing tips that work for your advantage,” 2008, Xlibris publisher.