Brands and User Engagement

The concept of brands did not exist in early 80’s. People interacted with businesses like they did with individuals. Vetting of products and services was an extension of community interactions. Small businesses flourished and word of mouth drove foot traffic to local shops.

Why were brands invented?
When the physical gap between buyer and purchaser grew, there was a need to build relationship. Consumers needed to relate or connect to their manufacturers and build a sense of familiarity and reliability. Brands were invented to bridge this gap. What a brand stood for “assured the consumer a certain degree of quality and service”.

How marketing reshaped traditions:
Brands grew leaps and bounds making use of marketing methods like televisions and print media. There was no vetting process involved. People bought what they saw and were told. Companies spent more and more to create branding voice and to resonate the same with their consumers. Print media, hoardings, prime time radio slots and television spots were up for grabs.

This was more like a one way train track with only the companies constantly trying to push their vision and chase the consumer. Consumers on the other hand left they were unheard, which isn’t the case in the web world. When the www revolution took place it restructured the entire buying scene and computer was the new it thing.

Need of review sites:
Many local review sites came into place that were reconnecting the individuals and having them heard. People could express their opinion, make recommendations and offer advice.

Companies embraced this new voice and also acted based on what their consumer thought. It offered the missing link that companies wanted to know. What their consumer had to say was paramount, as it replaced the old cold call surveys and other methods. This was quick, effective and all it needed was the Internet.

Social media:
We all have witnessed the rise and rise of social media. With tremendous opportunities that now exist, companies are getting innovative with newer marketing strategies that connect with their target market. Reviews, coupons, referrals, offers, specials, introducing new products or services. What social media can do is huge. Everyone in the world is connected, and all you need to do is CONNECT.

What is next:
Something more human than just a human name and a profile picture. Human interfaces with real time feedbacks. Google, Apple and other tech giants are constantly pushing boundaries. It will be exciting to see how the consumption and marketing evolves as we step each day into the future- a future that we envision will make us connect more like real next door neighbors.

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