Go digital in 2018: that customers also buy a drive
In the early days of the general public web, brands only digitized their paper communication by building beautiful showcase sites. A few years later with the arrival of “web 2.0” and the beginnings of Internet users’ voices, they braked their heads so as not to enter into this dynamic.
It was out of the question that we could comment on a press article, the brands neither understood nor tolerated that a blogger could talk about them. Then social networks arrived and, again, they refused to stoop to enter into the conversation with their customers, with the general public.
Brands have finally opened up to interactions with their customers
Those days are well and truly over and brands have come to understand that if they did not join the conversation, it would still take place without them. They understood that what they took for a communication tool could also become a service tool. And they generally understood that what was being said was the perception of customers, was their image and that the temperature was not lowered by refusing to look at the thermometer or by breaking it.
Worse, they understood that in a world where we are all over-stimulated, customer attention was scarce and that it was necessary to seek it out by dint of brand content, practical, we will talk about it in a next post, where the the search for discrepancy and buzz has sometimes led them to the border of irrelevance or even bad taste.
But everything was going rather well for the greatest benefit of all, brands and customers and in a good childhood climate of relative benevolence.
But ten years later we can only see that the customer has changed.
More mobilized, less tolerant, easily irritable: has the customer changed?
Is it simply because now that almost everyone is on the web and social networks, we are only reproducing online the reality of society as it is offline? Globally more and more irritable and not very tolerant in front of what does not correspond to the convictions of each one?
By dint of being bludgeoned with advertising and then with brand content, the Internet user is on the verge of a nervous breakdown because we have reached the limits of their available benevolent attention?
Finally, as in the “real world” only speak the discontented or intolerant of all kinds and that others have let down?
Is it for another reason?
In any case, the Internet customer is becoming more and more vindictive and irritable towards brands. Behind the legitimate complaints how many gratuitous and disproportionate attacks? In general, we become indignant and move very quickly over anything and everything and the level of mobilization and aggression rises just as quickly.
Brands that are increasingly touchy about their “brand safety”. “Yes we have to go but we start to be really afraid of getting dirty for any reason.” Some are starting to pay more and more attention to their exposure and their speech, even if it means reducing or making more impersonal their public interactions online.
Others are starting to take the risk of their ads showing up in unflattering places on social media very seriously. We have for example a L’Oréal which is going to recoil on its Youtube ads because the place is not judged as safe for the brand safety of the brand. Understand: “our ads can appear on videos that we do not endorse. we don’t want to be criticized and dragged through the mud for that ”.
Is digital a playground again undermined for brands?
So of course it’s legitimate for a brand to be concerned about this type of subject. So of course there are videos that nobody wants to be associated with (and in which Youtube does the cleaning). But it is the violence and the mass of reactions that brings a brand to act in such a radical way that questions me even though it is easy to understand that it is not for nothing in these unfortunate displays and that the fault is to be found in Youtube which is unable to guarantee a sure targeting to a brand.
I will not talk about customer reviews which have reached such a peak that some countries are starting to legislate to bring more clarity, honesty and transparency on the subject. But here we are not only talking about the customer but also about competitors whose practices are becoming more and more malicious.
Anyway, this is a weak signal, but the sign that the web can become an increasingly mined ground for brands and that it would be a shame if the behavior of each other led them to backtrack on many subject. It all depends on where a brand positions its requirements in terms of brand safety and the level of risk it deems acceptable but benevolence in a relationship cannot be one-sided. We will only have the brand behaviors that customer behaviors deserve.
In 2018, digital is an inevitable playground for a brand. But everything shows that it will be necessary to be more and more vigilant on the way in which one borders it and on what one does there.
Bertrand Duperrin is Digital Transformation Practice Leader in Emakina. He was previously Consulting Director at Nextmodernity, a firm in the field of business transformation and management through social business and the use of social technologies.
He regularly deals with social media news on his blog.
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