Article - Marketing

What is Authentic Engagement and how should it move with the Zeitgeist?

The zeitgeist has shifted – potentially irreparably – and the modern CMO must act strategically to meet the needs and expectations of consumers as they continue to shift. Pushing your values forward and trusting your employees and audience with them will be key to ensuring authentic engagement and picking up the post-pandemic slack.

Building an Authentic Engagement Strategy which moves with the Zeitgeist

Now, more than ever, you need to reach out and find your audience where they are. As you might expect, since the start of the year our reliance on digital resources has skyrocketed and this is no clearer than in our adoption of social media. During March for example, Twitter use soared to 164 million users which accounted for an increase of 12 million against the previous quarter and a 23% jump from the previous year.

People yearn for physical engagement and in many cases, digital is the next best thing. In a world where physically engaging with a brand is not always assured, marketing departments must be stepping in to remind us of what we are missing and possibly even provide a meaningful alternative.

Why is an Authentic Engagement Strategy Important?

An authentic engagement strategy helps you to reach out and sincerely connect with the consumer through affecting content, campaigns, social media, and marketing management. However, according to the current state of the market, it’s still something that businesses are struggling with. Based on research from Stackla, 57% of consumers believe less than half of all brands actually offer meaningful, authentic content. On top of this, 60% say that content from friends or family influences their purchase decisions, while just 23% say content from celebrities and influencers are impactful.

At the same time, and according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, brand trust has never been harder to earn, with the trust finding that only 34% of consumers have trust in the brands they used during 2020.

Authenticity has Changed

The reality of the matter is this, if the zeitgeist is shifting, so too is what we regard as authentic. Customers are simply not interested in pushiness at this time and, as such, when they do engage with advertising, they are looking for messages which either highlight their safety and security or aligns with their values and priorities. Below, we can see two of the ways in which authenticity has shifted.

Celebrity Campaigns:

Prior to the pandemic we regarded celebrities as tastemakers and thought leaders but in the post-pandemic, celebrity campaigns are becoming less and less effective – perhaps even inappropriate in their scope and tone. Consumers are struggling and as a result, they’re finding it increasingly difficult to be prevailed upon by someone who is significantly removed from the pressures of lockdown living.

Influencer Campaigns:

The degrees of separation between the consumer and the influencer are slighter than those which separate us from celebrities and consequently, these types of campaigns have seen a significant boost since 2020. Influencers feel like normal people, in most cases they are, and when someone speaks colloquially in the manner of a friend or family member, this matters.

As discussed, authenticity has shifted along with the zeitgeist. The physical distance that often separates all of us means that consumers are especially wary of how they feel when approached by a brand so your messaging needs to be just right. Understand your consumer, empathize with them and they, in turn, will do the same when interacting with your brand. Failure to do so could be costly.

Continue the debate at the CMO Insight Summit, a GDS Summit, where we bring together senior marketing executives who are actively seeking to share, learn, engage, and find the best solutions.

GDS Group hosts experts to help experts. We strive to provide an atmosphere for our attendees that enables them to confidently lead their companies through major transformation projects. For information on upcoming events, view our view our Digital Summits. To remain current on our activities, visit GDS Group on LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter.

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