The relationship between brand and consumer has changed dramatically in recent years. To stay relevant and forge a meaningful relationship with consumers, top brands are using real-time social media monitoring to inform the content they create and the way they communicate — but how does this drive engagement and loyalty?

Is there room for You in the Mecosystem?/Brand identity in the Age of You

“Mecosystem” might be a buzzword right now, but it’s not a concept that marketers can afford to ignore. It describes the way brands integrate themselves into individuals’ lives in a personal, meaningful way, and use consumer opinion to inform their evolution as a business.

In the past, methods of mass advertising consisted of using one unified brand voice to target multiple demographics at once. Rather than segmenting their audiences, brands were approaching consumers as one big group: people who might buy their product. That works to an extent for raising brand awareness, but it does nothing for engagement, and it’s too broad to form personal connections. It doesn’t give people anything to CARE about.

Social media listening opens a window into the minds of consumers and allows marketers to ensure that the content they’re producing is relevant. Savvy marketers are harnessing the power of real-time social media monitoring to communicate with individuals — in a way that’s more human-to-human than brand-to-prospect.

But there’s plenty of room for improvement. Though 52% of brands are willing to make changes based on consumer opinion, only 38% of brands are open to marketing that’s consumer-centric, focusing on the customer rather than the brand. In the Age of You, this is essential — so why are so few brands on board?

Complementing demographic data with social media listening

Demographics will always occupy a space in the marketing world, but that space is rapidly shrinking to make room for the opportunities brought about by psychographics. Marketers need to know all they can about their audience. Who are they? What music are they passionate about? Are they eco-conscious? What’s the first thing on their minds when they wake up in the morning? How do they feel about brands — both yours, and others?

The prospect of dealing with this vast amount of data can be daunting for brands that aren’t familiar with the required tools, but it’s only by thinking about consumers on this level — as individuals, not statistics — that brands can connect authentically with their audience. Taco Bell did just that when they launched a new ordering app last year.

Using Audience 3D™ from NetBase, Taco Bell extended the reach of its campaign to the people they knew would care. Instead of simply targeting Millennials, and limiting their reach to existing social followers, Taco Bell was able to reach out to those who acted, felt and consumed like loyal fans.

But for a brand the size of Taco Bell, that’s a lot of people, and a lot of data. NetBase helped them to break down their audience of 3.5M people into 90 emotion-based segments, then targeted them directly with relevant and tailored creative. The results? A quadrupled campaign reach, and a 20% higher purchase rate for people who used the app.

It’s all about consumer experience

Focusing on the audience rather than the brand isn’t just something that marketers ought to do — it’s something that consumers expect. The relationship between brands and consumers has shifted. Open dialogue, individualized messaging, and human communication are the standards set by leading brands, and with the internet making it so easy for consumers to find alternatives, loyalty isn’t a given — it has to be earned.

It’s only by paying attention to the individuals behind the data that brands can inspire that trust. The good news? 53% of Americans who follow brands on social media describe themselves as being loyal to those brands — and that figure is a much higher 66% for Millennials. Marketers that use social media listening to inform the kind of content their social audiences care about are not just rewarding that loyalty — they’re feeding it, too.

Ready to reach out to consumers? Reach out to NetBase first and find out how A3D can help you connect with your audience in a way that drives results.

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