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The Power of Social PR in the Purchasing Decision

What makes us buy?

By JUDY LEWIS, CO-FOUNDER AND PARTNER AT STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES | Aug 14 2019

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The ultimate goal of a brand is to move the needle – from consumers discovering what a brand stands for, gaining share of wallet, to securing consumer preference, and if possible, adoration. And with a cluttered marketplace, ever-changing media landscape and consumer media habits, this has become no small feat. However, the good news is that this has also created tremendous opportunity for a new style of marketing that is more genuine, engaging and impactful for both building brand reputation and consumer preferences.

Here at Strategic Objectives, curiosity rules. We revel in keeping on top of what motivates consumers so that our clients can achieve the trifecta of successful awareness-building, trial and fierce brand loyalty. Recently, we surveyed more than a thousand Canadian consumers to glean insights into what makes us take notice of brands and open our wallets amid the barrage of brand messaging that we all experience through traditional and social channels. Some results may surprise you - but knowing that this is an indicator of ‘the new normal’ puts things into perspective for reaching Canadians with the right message on their preferred channels.

51% of Canadians fast forward through TV commercials

We found this fact as no surprise, and in fact, we were surprised to learn that 49% admit to letting the commercials run! Our ongoing conversations with opinion leaders, media and consumers all support the fact that interest in traditional TV programming and commercials is waning. With literally a thousand channels on offer, PVRs in many households, apps and streaming services to download and watch your favourite shows anywhere, consumers are now empowered to both choose and control their own TV adventure, without unwelcome interruptions.

What’s more, our survey showed that 43 % of Canadians aged 18-34 don’t even have a TV! If there is a television in the millennial household, it’s probably reserved for video games and live sports. However, overall TV is still considered a vital news source for information about local communities, special interests, what’s new, trending and ‘what is going on in the world,' with significant audiences still tuning in daily to news, their favourite talk TV, and the associated online sites. Brands and broadcasters have now created new forms of collaboration and content creation, where the average viewer is hard put to decipher between what is paid placement of content and what is authentic reporting, or coverage.

The sheer evolution of the TV, from once being the gadget that everyone had to have, to one in which you can live without, is a radical shift that demands marketers re-evaluate how they can connect with their valued consumers. We are finding this also allows for new and creative ways for brands to develop more long-form useful and entertaining online content and connect with consumers on their own terms.

Storytelling is where it’s at. The bold marketers who are adventuring into innovative content plays are emerging as tremendously successful in transforming consumers into brand advocates; some of them working with our own video content creators, who have engaged communities of their own. This style of marketing can easily co-exist with traditional advertising, as long as it simultaneously integrates across multiple platforms. Getting out into the real world has also become more important than ever for brands, creating interactive experiential activations that allow consumers to interact with a brand and create their own sharable content. This achieves the powerful PR fundamental of having others share and propel your brand’s positive message.

Canadians trust their friends’ opinions and recommendations the most

This is not new. What is relatively new is the appreciation and acceptance that the opinions and recommendations of our favourite digital influencers are as trusted as some of our real friends. Through the work we are doing in Influencer Relations, we have proven the power of social media to be Word-of-Mouth on Steroids. A third of Canadians aged 18-34 say they base their choice of a brand or product on seeing and learning about it on social media. Marketers who still doubt the power of Influencers are missing a tremendous opportunity to leverage the evolution of more sophisticated Word-of-Mouth marketing.

Our vision is to always help marketers connect with consumers through storytelling that integrates authentic brand messages that are relevant, shareable and communicated from voices consumers can trust. It’s just like that one friend we ALL have, who always has the best recommendations on what to buy.

Be relevant and stay credible

Understanding our ever-changing country and our diverse communities is essential to successful public relations and engaging marketing. Being relevant and credible has always been at the core of what we do, as the most award-winning public relations firm in Canada. Our leading-edge approach has evolved, as has our client work, to include everything from traditional PR and events, to major experiential activations and multi-platform strategies that transcend all aspects of marketing and communications, inclusive of both paid and earned media. Our Social PR helps brands engage with today’s online, hyper-connected consumer. From social listening audits to identify who is already talking about your brand and what they are saying, to content creation and targeted influencer partnerships, we build brand presence online to build trust with consumers and move the proverbial needle. For more information on how Social PR could work for your brand, please contact us.

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