Digital Marketing Trends 2/5 – Rising against ‘social norms’


Digital Marketing Trends 2/5

Trend 2. Rise against ‘Social norms’  

The headline image really sums up the rise against social norms and when I have presented this image in many of the events I have attended, the general reaction from the audience is a mixture of cringing faces and awkward laughs.

This image for me, sums up the year of 2016. A year that was full society challenging with the status quo. Now you may look at this and think, well this isn’t a digital marketing trend Jenna? But believe me this has had an impact, read on to find out how.

Let’s just take a couple of seconds to look at this image:

Digital marketing trend 2 - Rise against 'social norms'
Image source: Wikipedia.

Did we ever really think that either of these two people could be involved in running any countries, let alone one of the most powerful countries in the world?

Brexit was a huge rise against social norms for the UK and that is continuing to affect the economy and create uncertainty for the future. The US then experienced the same when Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States. Both continue to cause ripples across the worlds leadership and has essentially changed politics forever.

Why is this important? I hear you ask! This is important because this has changed consumer behaviour, the power more than ever is in the hands of the people.

The US now has a President with no political background who chooses to openly communicate his political views through Twitter – this in it’s self is a huge change to politics and it all happened because people revolted worldwide against the system that once stood.

Block chain & bitcoin

Back to the business world, this same challenge against the social norm is translating across a number of industries. Taxis and hotels have already witnessed this with challenging brands such as Uber and AirB BnB. The financial industry has stood the test of time for many centuries, but now even that system is being challenged with the development and rise of adoption of new technology like block chain - making the way for new currencies like bitcoin, a completely new digital system for currency.

If you’re unfamiliar with block chain and bitcoin, it’s worth researching these two areas because this is highly likely to be the next generation of banking. In a nutshell, Bitcoin is a digital currency built on a blockchain – a digital ledger which manages transactions without any middle men or fees. This entirely new financial system, doesn’t require any input from a bank whatsoever.

You may sit and think this is a way off ever being widely adopted by the masses, but how strange would it be to have a purely digital currency? Many of us are already cash free by using contactless payments for everything. In 2016, 60% of all internet use was online banking and with completely digital banks such as Atom Bank, this means that the transition between where we are today and adopting Bitcoin is quickly getting smaller and smaller.

Nostalgia makes a comeback

Today advances in technology are so fast forcing huge changes to social norms, more and more of us are overcome with acute nostalgia to experience our favourite products from the not so distant past. Do you remember the Nokia 3310?

Well Nokia have been bold and taken full advantage of our nostalgia cravings by relaunching the Nokia 3310. From my own personal experience, the Nokia 3310 was my first mobile phone and I used to compete with friends for the top score on the game Snake! The original version couldn’t access the internet, it was pure phone that was only functional for phone calls and texts with very features. This in itself has a message – that maybe we are over complicating too much in our lives and going back to the simple things brings us more enjoyment.

The key marketing takeaways

For marketing, there are two key messages to take away from trend number 2:
• Simplicity is the way forward.
• Standing for something and being bold will engage an audience and create loyalty, even potentially a movement, but make sure you include context.

A recent marketing example - Pepsi

It’s important to remember that what may have been effective for your business in engaging and attracting audiences, isn’t necessarily going to be as effective today. The world is a very different place in 2017. People are demanding more in every aspect of their lives and if they don’t receive it - they will challenge and create change themselves.
There’s been several marketing campaigns recently that appear to have been created without taking into account the wider environment. The most recent example of this, was the latest Pepsi ad (full ad available to watch below). Pepsi’s main message was to that we should all unite and ‘join the conversation’ and for this it did succeed as it created a conversion online - not the one Pepsi had aimed for however. The ad features celebrity influencer Kendal Jenner which by herself generated a lot of exposure upon launch. The story features Kendal leaving a modelling shoot to join in a protest. With a Pepsi in hand she walks over to a Police Officer and hands him a Pepsi which then solves the protest. As you can see, Pepsi tried to include relevant context with the story of a protest but what they didn’t think through was how trivial they made any cause being protested. Simply by handing a Police Officer a Pepsi isn’t going to solve the world’s problems.

The result: 1.6 million views on YouTube, an online revolt, removal of the ad and an apology from Pepsi. For the marketing industry, there is a clear message. Including context and relevancy to the world around you is an effective method to engage an audience, but when doing so, consider the underlining message you are portraying to your audience. Reflect on the reaction it is going to generate, because the audience will tell you loudly if they don’t agree.

This single example demonstrates that more than ever we live in a time where the power is in the hands of the consumer. My advice when you’re creating your next marketing campaign, is to ensure you are really clear on the value that your product, service, message or offer provides your audience. Maintain a simple and trustworthy message that can be easily understood and engaged with.

If you’d like advice, help or support with your digital marketing campaigns, get in touch with us and let’s talk.

About the author 

Jenna Tiffany is Founder & Strategy Director at Let'sTalk Strategy providing consultancy services across the digital marketing mix. Jenna has over ten years' marketing experience within B2B and B2C and both client and agency side.

Communications Ambassador for CIM Greater London Region, an advisory board member the DMA North and a contributing hub member to the DMA's Email Marketing Council, Jenna's expertise ranges in working with both small and large brands to analyse and develop their key journeys & wider digital marketing activities, developing best in class digital marketing strategies & campaigns to deliver ROI. As a proven thought-leader, competent public speaker and publisher, Jenna can be regularly seen sharing her latest trends and key industry topics.