Five ways supermarket brands can get digital cut through in 2018

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Tesco

Today social media is the internet – 98% of people who shop online are on at least one social network, according to GlobalWebIndex, 2018. With such a large captive audience, it's no surprise brands are investing more and more into social content and campaigns.

But here’s the dirty secret your social agency or content agency won’t tell you – 5% of brands generate 95% of all engagement online (The Beckon Report, 2017). The remaining 95% of brands are left to slug it out for the remaining 5% of everyone’s attention, which is a lot of hard work for very little gain.

The same is true specifically for videos on YouTube – the top 5% gets the 95% of the attention.

So why do some brands win all the likes and love and some are left hanging? What separates these big winners, the top 5%, from the rest? We have some particular insights in our work with 'tired' brands.

There’s a number of reasons brands find themselves in this position. But here are five surefire things you can try to stay relevant and front of mind with consumers online now.

Flirt with consumers, don’t get married to platforms

There’s very little value in FMCG brands recruiting and maintaining large 'communities' on social networks. Facebook and friends tricked us with the bait-and-switch algorithm change, where you need to pay to reach all those consumers you paid to recruit.

So what we advise is for brands to take a hit and run approach with their social media: if you’re devoted to serving your consumer – go where they are, add value, and get out. You need to stay active, but you don’t need to maintain a constant presence on any network. Identify where your consumers are, reach them, and move on.

Think news, not content

Agencies love nothing more than getting paid to make content. It’s easy, it pays well, and because it disappears into the infinity of the feed, it’s disposable by nature. Why are brands still paying for this filler?

Smart brands, who flirt with consumers across a number of touchpoints, know it’s better to create news than it is to make easily disposable content.

The news of Coca-Cola launching their first alcoholic beverage in the history of the brands 125-years held the ‘most read’ slot on websites across the globe. But turns out, this lemon-flavoured alcopop is only available in Japan, with no plans to sell further afield – we call that damn good news.

KFC is a brand that understands this intimately. They keep their consumers delighted by launching weird and wonderful concepts such as KFC bath bombs, chicken-scented sunscreen, limited edition commemorative buckets for the Royal Wedding, vegetarian friendly 'chicken' and even scent-free chicken, fit for public consumption (a Japanese exclusive, naturally!).

If you want to rock the boat and make news, think about what stories you can tell, or what new things you can launch into the world. And it’s looking like exclusive products for the Japanese market aren’t a bad place to start!

Get visual

When we take a packaging brief at Impero, an early consideration is always how we can make it visually compelling enough for the internet. That’s because we live in a time where Instagram is the network with influence, and you have to be super compelling to stand out among the 95 million images shared on the platform every day.

A brilliant example of this is La Croix, a once-obscure fizzy water from the midwestern United States, which rocketed to international fame after 30 years in business. How you ask? Thanks to millennial, Instagram cool, micro-influencers being recruited to share the brand’s visually intense, splashy neon packaging.

The use of influencers is a strong technique to boost you visual presence online, in fact research from Bloglovin' released in 2017 found that 32% of surveyed marketing professionals view influencers as essential to their strategy, with 41% saying that they have seen more success with influencer marketing campaigns when comparing them to more traditional advertising efforts.

Gen Z is by far the most visual generation to date. Research by Adobe into the UK’s content consumption habits suggest they spend an incredible 10.6 engaging with online content per day – but millennials aren’t far behind, spending a whopping 8.5 hours per day.

So, if you’re trying to reach younger consumers… be super visual.

Go live

Want a little cheat to grab some extra eyeballs you might otherwise lose in the feed? Go live.

Live content has two main benefits – it creates urgency, and it 'cheats' the algorithm. Zuckerberg and company are really promoting their Live offerings on Facebook and Instagram, and they push your content out. Authentic live video works well, especially when FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) comes in to play.

Again, Live is even better is you’re targeting the youth. Pew Research has just found that 69% of 15-24-year-olds are daily active users of Instagram LIVE and 67% of the same demographic use Facebook LIVE more than once a day. Also, for many people, well produced Live content is novel, and thus, more captivating and memorable.

Most importantly — move fast, without fear

One thing you learn quickly working with tired brands, it’s that they become comatose or dead brands through inaction. Consumers move on while brands and their agencies debate whether or not the consumer 'insight' is right.

In 2018, action is everything. Kanye and Trump are never far from the headlines precisely because they keep doing things – literally, anything! They offend, they rally their base, they offend their base, and onto the next thing. But they keep the world enthralled. I hate to say it, but brands could learn a thing or two from them.

Stop talking about it and start doing – pack in the meetings, it’s time to move, or get out of the way for the competition coming up fast behind you.

Daniel Deeks-Osburn is strategy director at Impero

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