Companies continue to rack their brains trying to find new practical ways to achieve success, new strategies to increase sales and enhance their reputation, as well as reinforce the esteem they enjoy among certain audience segments. But many brands continue to pursue these activities in the wrong way, often allowing themselves to be fooled by the (false) allure of certain theories and, even worse, by the unctuous words of so-called communication experts, who in exchange for astronomical sums of money always try to sell their interlocutors the correct methods and strategies to increase their online and offline visibility. It is not uncommon for many brands, especially novice brands – or those simply led by inexperienced or completely irresponsible executives – to get involved in harebrained projects focusing on personal success, leadership and new communication opportunities available to brands, almost always with poor results and of no practical use to the company. The underlying problem, from this point of view, is purely communicative in nature and is partly due to a misinterpretation of everything related to social media and new forms of online communication.
The new ways of communicating
In order to fully understand this situation, it is necessary to briefly review the recent history of communication and its sudden, abrupt evolutions, which in most cases turned out to be so rapid that they had a shocking effect on many companies and their managers. The advent of social media, in recent years, has profoundly changed the rules of the game, allowing all companies – regardless of their size – to express their messages in different ways, on virtual platforms characterized by very precise grammar, going beyond, for the first time, the traditional forms of communication through TV, newspapers or radio (in addition to all offline, or Out Of Home, communication methods). The end results of these forms of communication were so scintillating, so visually impressive – thanks mainly to the inexhaustible power of videos and images, now posted everywhere and in a thousand different variants on each social media -, that they left a deep impression on the minds of all observers, including those corporate executives who would soon, in one way or another, have to find concrete ways to replicate those same contents on their own corporate channels (which perhaps did not yet exist), in order not to fall behind the competition.
The role of image
The visual power of this kind of content, therefore, instilled in them the mistaken belief that it required large sums of money, an army of specialised employees and, above all, lots and lots of time to devise a strategy consistent with the company’s values and its goals for the short to medium term. All these beliefs are not only an illusion but can also prove extremely detrimental to the company and its viability, not to mention the practical time they take away from employees and even key executives.
Sometimes, in order to obtain the communication insight so long sought after, so desperately yearned for and evoked during solemn meetings with industry experts, all it takes is a few minutes with one of your typical consumers, with the embodiment of that buyer persona that your experts will have already mentioned a hundred times, and whose practical usefulness nevertheless continues to elude you. All you have to do is identify one of your target consumers, invite him/her to a meeting in your company and let him/her talk. The meeting does not need to be attended by many employees: one or two (preferably from the marketing department) are sufficient. From the consumer’s words, the staff will have to extract those precious gems that represent communication insight and that alone could revolutionize the brand’s advertising campaigns (and even increase sales). All you have to do is listen, note and reason.
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Each insight is like a golden nugget: it can take months, even years, to find it, but sometimes it falls into our hands unpredictably and unexpectedly, with the speed of lightning.