Today’s guest is the best-selling author of “Free Range Brands” and founder of The Ertas Group, Nicole Ertas. She’ll be here to inform us on the rise of newer brands and the fall or stagnation of more traditional ones in today’s interconnected social environment.
What Many Traditional Brands Lack
More and more big brands today are trying to figure out how to be like some of the newer, smaller brands in an attempt at not falling behind. Brand to consumer relationships has made a huge shift from even just 8 or 10 years ago where traditional brands thought they had no reason to worry. Today they’re finding themselves trying to emulate much smaller, more contemporary brands. Why? Nicole claims that this change is because traditional brands were built on more of a “one-way,” controlled channel of communication. Newer brands focus on building a community and embracing the two-way environment we now live in.
Four New Types of Consumers Who Can Make or Break Your Brand
In today’s very social environment consumers want to participate in your brand. Gone are the days where your target audience would be receptive to a one-way message. The brands doing this correctly are shifting from making themselves the hero into making the consumer the hero. There are four new types of primary consumers:
These are the modern day “influencers”. In the past, this role was strictly designated towards celebrities and other high profile individuals, but today almost anyone with an internet connection can have a large following.
This type of consumer looks to connect on shared values. How can you find ways to connect using values and not features and benefits?
This group feels a strong need to participate, interact, and co-create with a brand. They don’t like being completely on the receiving end and want to help you build your brand.
The last group is the most aggressive, and basically, want to make sure you practice what you preach. With the growing distrust of large brands, companies must think about what they do from top to bottom; today is a world of transparency, and because of this you must make sure you’re able to appease the hawks.
Defining Traits of a Free Range Brand
Free Range Brands, as Nicole calls them, possess defining characteristics that make them what they are. These brands are much agiler and think about how to make consumers the hero. They act as leaders of a community and build the best relationship with consumers as opposed to being a product that only wants to talk about itself. These brands are aware of how to be more receptive and adaptable to what’s going on in the world. A lot of companies think just being on social media fills this requirement, but that’s a misconception — it’s how you use it that makes all the difference.
Suggestions on How to Do This
Taking the time to focus on your social media efforts is important because when you’re all over the place, it’s hard to be interactive. If you’re not doing this in a way where you’re communicating with the people who are interacting with you, then you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity. If that’s the case then pulling back and focusing on one platform where you can cultivate your followers is suggested. You don’t want to spread yourself so thin to the point where you can’t react to your community.
Hide Your Brand and See Your Fans Grow
Today almost everyone has some following — whether it be Facebook, Instagram, or even Snapchat — they want to be seen by their followers. This point resonates with the “Lords” especially, because they value discovery and want to elevate themselves to their fans. To take advantage of this, as a brand you should give them information or insight that may be of value to both them and their followers. Many brands such as Taco Bell put this into practice. An example would be to invite loyal followers to try new products; then these followers would in turn tweet that to their audience. Instead of being bold faced and sharing everything with everyone, you can find particular people with a larger following in your community to be influencers to their communities.
You can check Nicole and her book out here: http://freerangebrands.com/