The evolution of the conversation

TRENDAFRiCA October 2, 2013

By Lwandile Qokweni

Pushing content at your brand’s audience is slowly starting to make way for a new kind of conversation and engagement: brand curatorship. Across the globe, the big brands have in recent months started dipping their toes in this new content pool in an effort to entice consumers into the fold.

Still a new concept with sometimes nebulous definition, brand curatorship essentially is the marketing process of allowing your consumer control of certain elements of your brand. This creates a much more personalised connection between consumer and brand, and provides the brand with a bigger net to fish for brand-aligned content and by extension hearts and minds.

In a consumer centric environment, brand curatorship creates an opportunity for consumer insights into various aspects of your brand. This is hugely beneficial, and invites consumers to give you their feedback in an enticing way.

This can also guide marketers as to where they should be taking their brand in the future, and this is based on the most important guidance required: that from the consumers of your brand.

Two of the standout global campaigns that recently took the brand curatorship approach:

  • This summer in the UK, Coca-Cola swapped the Coca-Cola logo on their bottles with 250 of Great Britain’s most popular names. And the country’s Andreas, Emmas, Kevins, Sophias and Thomases had a field day locating their names on supermarket shelves.
  • Barclays offered personalised debit cards whereby customers uploaded their favourite photographs which were then printed onto their cards free of charge. No surprise that thousands of pics of pets, exotic holidays and family photos flooded the banking institution.

By personalising their products, these brands succeeded in achieving a real connection with their consumers.

Shoppers searched the shelves for the Coke bottle with their name on, and Barclays debit card holders showed off their personalised cards to their friends.

These campaigns very cleverly tapped into the consumer insight of knowing that people wish to share – be it experiences, photographs, or information about their personal lives. Brands too wish to be shared, to create a brand experience, and to be talked about.

Through a touch of consumer personalisation, these brands have succeeded in creating exactly that.

Brands in SA are also connecting with people in personalised spaces, inviting consumers to not only engage with them, but to also have influence on brand creation.

We have not seen an example as bold as a brand changing its name to that of the consumers, but beautiful examples of brand curatorship include the Stimorol Mega Mystery campaign and Carling Black Label’s ‘Be the Coach’ campaigns.

The consumer engagement levels achieved in these promotions demonstrated the excitement around inviting consumers to participate in brand production and decision-making.

Stimorol invited people to vote for their favourite new flavour, and to take it one step further and actually suggest new flavours. Over 294 000 votes were generated, 11 723 flavours were suggested, and 24 823 Facebook Likes were achieved. The winning flavour – Alien Abduction – was then produced, leaving Pillow Fight, Small Man Syndrome, Roarrr and Forbidden Love in the dust.

Carling Black Label’s ‘Be the Coach’ campaign invited fans to choose the team players for a match that was then scheduled between two of South Africa’s largest football teams, Orlando Pirates, and Kaizer Chiefs (11 million votes were cast in seven weeks!).

As the noise in the marketplace continues to drown out many traditional targeted messages, it can safely be predicted that in future, brands will need to take engagement down to a much more personal level to get consumers to pay attention and buy into the brand’s intent.

Risk should be managed, for example, a live radio scenario where random consumers are invited to provide opinions on your brand may not be the wisest way to proceed.

Rather, clever, enticing campaigns, that are managed correctly, should be implemented.

Brand curatorship is starting to show its value reaching the consumer on a personal level, and the public can expect to see many more creative and exciting campaigns in months to come.


Source: TREND.spotter, Lwandile Qokweni is the Johannesburg managing director of Carat SA. Additional contributions by Natalie Laws, insights strategist at Carat.






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