Communication is the heartbeat of business. Connecting with key audiences and stakeholders has always been about reaching the right people in the right place at the right time. Now, in this era of multiple media and connector interfaces that are constantly changing, there is an inescapable need to stay on top of the latest communications technology and tactics.
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The last couple of years has had a drastic impact on marketing trends and best practices. The consumer of today values authenticity, transparency, privacy and inclusivity now more than ever before. As consumer values and preferences shift and evolve so do marketing and communication trends.
‘‘When it comes to creating brand perception, public relations remains
the most effective tactic to date.”
Authentic influencer partnerships
Influencer marketing will remain an integral part of any marketing plan. Although consumers are now leaning towards authenticity and follow influencers for different reasons, the common thread remains transparency and authenticity. Content creators and influencers who can translate genuine interest and affection to the product and successfully connect it to themselves are garnering a lot more engagement today. Changing app algorithms have contributed to this, as what is shown to users has been limited, leaving people wanting to connect more with influencers who promote a product or service in an organic manner. Influencer marketing is predicted to grow to $16.4bn by 2023.
Increased user-generated content
From TikTok trends to #OOTD (outfit of the day) posts, user-generated content (UGC) is the new word of mouth. This type of content is original and brand-specific, created by consumers rather than brands. Unboxing videos, home tours, makeup reviews, fashion transition reels and photo tags are all examples of how brands can take advantage of UGC. While anyone can create user-generated content, adding this tactic to your marketing strategy can take your brand’s authenticity to the next level. Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to trust UGC compared with content created by brands – proving that now is the time to prioritise authenticity in your marketing strategy.
Old is gold
While digital marketing will continue to dominate the scene, traditional marketing and advertising methods cannot be ignored, many of which are experiencing a successful resurgence in the region.
Older media formats such as print, particularly broadsheets, and radio continue to remain a trusted voice for consumers and readers. The Middle East has seen the emergence of several new titles over the past year, as well the birth of digital channels for various media outlets.
When it comes to creating brand perception, public relations remains the most effective tactic to date. But a press release alone no longer suffices; strong digital assets such as videos and imagery accompanying the message are a must to ensure placement in target titles.
Already doing video? Next year, do more
We are bombarded with video content today, regardless of where we look. Popular social media apps are changing their formats to become video-dedicated platforms (thank you, Kylie Jenner, for saving Instagram).
If you don’t have video in your plan already, it should be a top consideration for next year. If you’ve made the leap and incorporated video into your messaging, look for ways to step up your efforts – in quality, quantity and reach.
A common misconception is that incorporating video requires a massive budget. In fact, taking a more DIY approach can be very effective, especially when compared with other tactics. Video doesn’t need to be overthought, especially if you’re putting it up on all-video platforms such as TikTok or Reels. YouTube, however, would require a different consideration.
Personalise to lead
Customers today are gravitating toward brands they feel listen to them, understand them and pay attention to their specific wants and needs. That’s where personalisation comes in. It’s a way for brands to contextualise the messages, offers and experiences they deliver. Amplifying your message to reach as many people as possible won’t work in 2023; instead try personalising your marketing campaigns to get higher engagement, spark conversation and attract new customers.
There is a study done by TikTok based on categories of content. Emotional content is 72.6 per cent more likely to engage with an audience. Find a way to connect your business to consumers’ emotions by leveraging data. Data is the key to knowing them intimately enough to then begin trying to meet their needs, and even predict what they might want at a particular touchpoint.
As we continue to evolve, so will consumer segments with various sentiments, demands, and drive. The next few years will demand businesses to forge an emotional connection with consumers.
Because of the new consumer groups that will emerge, PR professionals need to leverage segmentation. This will help them understand the expectations and needs, emotional and otherwise, of various consumers groups. Consequently, their marketing and PR campaigns will need to be altered and planned for optimised results.