As the majority of consumers trust online resources to inform their buying decisions, considered-purchase brands are publishing content and acting more like media.
Today, thanks to increasingly intelligent search engines, extensive online content and the instant connection of social media channels, consumers can run through their buying cycle – from awareness to research to recommendations – in a fraction of the time it took just a few years ago.
It Starts Here. While big-ticket items are rarely bought online, they are thoroughly vetted online. By the time the consumer talks with a sales person, he knows exactly what he wants and he knows his top three brands. Which is great news if your brand is one of the top three choices. But what if it isn’t?
- What if the consumer found your website, but not any new and relevant content?
- What if the consumer had already watched your competitor’s videos, enjoyed the webinars, read the last 4 e-newsletters and had three online chats with the Chief of Customer Happiness?
- What if social media channels were singing the praises of your competitors, but not yours?
A Good Offense. After the last few years of feeling late to the party, brands are trying hard to get ahead of where their customers are heading. So as more and more active prospects look for relevant content online, savvy brands are seizing the opportunity and getting into the content distribution business.
A Good Defense. If brands are going to successfully serve as a medium, they will need new skills, new attitudes and new commitments to seeing their consumers as co-owners of the content.
As Media, Brands:
- Must make the serious investment to create and deliver the kind of fresh, relevant and valuable content that their audiences will want to know, contribute to and, above all, share.
- Can escape from the classic “seller-vs-buyer” tensions by serving as thought leaders and trusted resources.
- Add tremendous value to the relationship by serving as the go-to hub for their consumers before and after the sale.
- Will gain an even deeper and more empathetic understanding of their customers, all of which will ultimately translate into the development of better products and services. This is ideal.
In 1964, Marshall McLuhan first published Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, and introduced the phrase: The medium is the message.
Could that soon change to: The medium is the brand?