Bracing for the Ad-Blocked Future: How Brands Can Move Beyond the Impression



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Even three year olds have learned to skip ads.

Brands are now having to move beyond the traditional advertising model in order to acquire consumers. It’s no longer sufficient for companies to run an advertisement that simply sells their product or service.

According to Joanne McKinney, Chief Strategy Officer of the Burns Group, “brand marketers tend to do a great job of describing what they make, how they make it, but not why they make it.

Startups are all about the why. Large brands and old companies are really punished for not being about the why. They can’t connect with the new generation of consumers.” In order to stay relevant with current consumers, brands must incorporate purpose-driven strategies that are unique, innovative, and authentic.

In an increasingly “Ad-Blocked” world, brands are now aiming to make consumers feel as if they’re directly a part of shaping content.

Sean Foster, CEO of Crowdtap, mentions how there has been a notable shift in the brand-people relationship. “brands didn’t respect the ideas of people. Yes, you did focus groups and you produced your ads, but this idea that people are co-authors of brands is a very big shift.”

As stated by Joanne McKinney “brands used to be what brands said they were. But now, brands are really what consumers say they are.”

Aside from allowing consumers to take a part in shaping content, brands are also aiming to provide experiences with their content and/or product. Afdhel Aziz, Brand Director of ABSOLUT Labs, mentions “it’s experiences in content that are going to make a difference.

What experiences you create and what content you create for your consumer base is going to move the needle– both emotionally and functionally.” ABSOLUT used virtual reality in order to give their consumers a front row seat at a sold out concert and sell the “nightlife experience”.

“The fans self organized themselves into 600 viewing parties with the help of Crowdtap. If you look at the feedback, these are people with ABSOLUT branded headsets going ‘Oh my god this is the coolest thing ever.’ For us, that’s a real example of what happens if you think about delighting consumers. They will bring you into their lives and become your greatest advocates,” states Afdhel Aziz.

Moving forward, brands that accommodate the ideas and experiences of consumers are the ones that will maintain relevance and see an increase in consumer engagement. As Sean Foster puts it, “It’s not about advertising. It’s about relationships that brands have with people.”

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