The era of banner ads and product-centric television commercials is over. Consumers sift through virtual clutter by using ad blockers, streaming services, and various platforms where branded content can be easily avoided. Review sites like Yelp and Amazon take this one step further in verifying a product’s authenticity. This means that advertising agencies and brand marketers alike should be targeting the idea or emotion behind a product in order to generate positive sentiments with consumers.
Because of this hyper-awareness of brands and branded content, we are now in the age of “honest” advertising. More and more, we see brands turning to marketing through a social good lens to speak to their consumers in a more meaningful way. Here are three marketing trends brands are harnessing this year that we hope will help them bring about social change.
Social media advertising has and will continue to take over the marketing landscape, but now there needs to be a more emotional way of producing it. Social influencers are key to winning the trust of a consumer. Marketers can utilize certain aspects of the influencer’s branded “personality” to craft strategic campaigns with shared consumer experiences to elicit this “word of mouth” social sharing trend.
Ad Council has already caught onto this idea with their “Creators for Good” program and it is generating content and buzz for a plethora of their PSA campaigns. For example, Jenn Im, a style guru with almost two million subscribers, has taken on the role of Goodwill Ambassador for one Ad Council campaign. Due to her solid follower base, she is able to implement an outside incentive of donating clothes to her local Goodwill store while staying true to her own personal brand.
Not only does the fairly new trend of live streaming create content that is genuine and straightforward to consumers, but it is also making video social. A consumer is able to see a product or event live AND become engaged through various social platforms. Live streaming allows creators to share their personalities and opinions while simultaneously receiving feedback from the user of the content in real time. It allows brands and organizations to build trust with consumers. Due to quick response rates and eagerness to try out new trends, live streaming gets people more involved and feel closer to a cause, which is ideal for social impact marketing.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) uses their social platforms for this exact purpose. Their Facebook and Instagram accounts are constantly putting out material of what is happening in Syria and in Greece. A world that seems far-removed from our own is brought right to our screens- front and center. There are no filters, no edits, and no boundaries of the current refugee crisis. The audience of one of the largest non-profits in the US is able to give users the platform to see life through the lens of a refugee and what they experience on a day-to-day basis, thus creating higher levels of empathy and engagement from the organization’s followers.
Augmented Reality Marketing
Traditional advertising, which is used in most campaigns for social impact storytelling, focuses on the core issue of a particular matter and the emotion behind a problem, but it doesn’t explain what the ultimate result will be. Augmented reality (AR) builds upon the idea of an actionable change through the use of modern technology.
The British National Health Service (NHS), with the help of AR, demonstrated what giving blood could really do for the individuals who need it. NHS volunteers were given an iPhone that used AR to replicate the process of a needle going into people’s actual arm using the camera feature. This virtual needle was linked to an ad placed on a billboard featuring an empty blood bag and a sick patient. As the iPhone “drew” the blood over a 20-second time span, the bag filled up on screen and the patient gradually grew healthier. This AR experience linked action to an effect, which created a deeper understanding of what it actually meant to donate blood.
We can’t wait to see how nonprofits and other companies use these trends for social good. Have you seen any particularly successful activations using influencers, live streaming, or AR? Let us know in the comments!