Christmas has a strange effect on we mere mortals. Everybody gets a little reflective, ruminates about the past 12 months and boldly starts planning for big change in the new year. Sound familiar? More often than not the reality is a new year that begins the same way as the old one ended, with heads down working in the business, not on the business.

Embrace Change

It’s now apparent to everyone in business that the fast growing online economy means change is a must if you plan to prosper. So this year I’m telling my clients to lean into it and commit to challenging themselves. Ignore the media and politicians, switch off the cricket and think about truly understanding the new online economy and embrace change.

And changing the product you offer or the platforms you use is not the most important thing you should be thinking of changing. While dealing with the strategic issues brands face today it’s becoming clear that subtle changes to a company’s plans and strategies is pretty much akin to putting a band aid on a brain tumor.

Every day I see businesses try and adapt to the changing environment. Typically, they are opening up social media accounts, building better looking websites – some are even going mobile. But they’re still selling the same old story. They may be using new media, but they’re not using any new thinking.

To me, this shows that most companies are failing to understand the new marketplace and the potential of using the social online environment to build and disseminate a real and powerful brand narrative.

Your chance to take a new position

The new environment is made up of more than just the new media – there is a whole new breed of consumers out there who use it in completely new ways. They are savvy. They can spot the old sleight of hand. They know that the omnipresent marketing blah-blah is just a glossy coating to make a business look good. And if they can see through your marketing, then you’re wasting your time and money.

What they want is something they can relate to. Something they can be part of. Something they can trust and invite their friends into. Get your new media planning right, and that something can be your brand.

Ask yourself ‘why?’

Before you can honestly engage with your customers and get them involved in your brand, you need to get back to basics. You need to know:

  • Why are you doing what you do?
  • Why are you passionate, and what about?
  • Why do you believe, and in what?
  • Why would anyone care if you disappeared tomorrow?
  • Why are your customers online, and what are they looking for?
  • Why and how can you provide the best customer value and experience?

Ask yourself these questions and use the answers as the foundation to build your new media messaging. Messaging that has true meaning for both you and your customers.

Everybody, from kids looking for t-shirts to grey nomads planning their next getaway, is moving away from traditional channels and asking questions in the new online community.

If you’re smart, you will be moving there with them, ready to provide the answers.

About the author

Peter Engelhardt - Director Creative Brew

Peter Engelhardt

Peter has a ridiculous amount of marketing and communications experience. He is an inbound marketing advocate and a new media enthusiast with a passion for spreading his knowledge and blogging. Above all he is the driving force behind Creative Brew and a proud dad.