New media has opened a plethora of communication opportunities that allow marketers to craft, target, distribute, and track messages and the results of those messages like never before. Parallel to those advancements, though, there’s been a shift in what consumers want their needs met and problems solved and how they want those solutions communicated. Where products and services advertising was once dominated by “features and benefits,” today’s consumer is looking for a different style of message, especially through new media channels.
Consumers want connection, vision, understanding… in a word; they want empathy. This is especially true during times of great stress and tension, such as a global pandemic. With millions working from home, face-to-face human connection is reduced, but the need for that connection remains. People want to be wanted, heard, and understood. They don’t want someone in their face shouting about the “benefits” of a product they’ve never even heard of or a “solution” to a problem they don’t feel they have.
In a modern, new media environment, connection matters more than almost anything else, and that connection begins with understanding. Fortunately, we have tools that make getting to know and really understand our audience much easier than ever. We can target, collate, and direct information in ways that were not even possible just a few years ago, and that means we can tailor messages in a more specific, effective way.
A flat print ad was once the only option. Just about anyone can create videos and speak directly to their audience in real-time. Sure, there’s definitely still a market for traditional advertising, but as a part of a multifaceted approach that includes new media.
Audiences are becoming more segmented, separated into cohorts by the media they stream, the social media platforms they use, and the information they consume on the various online channels or apps. Mass media is still working, and it’s still a profitable approach, but that alone isn’t the optimal way to get the message out.
And, when approaching targeted new media, putting humanity in the message out front is a must. People want to feel that they’re being conversed with, not talked at. They want to feel the message as they hear it, and, increasingly, they want to be involved in what’s happening as it happens.
From cookie companies that send out social messages to TV trailers that invite people to share and comment in real-time, the most effective new media narratives are the most connective, the most human. Those that effectively combine product placement, graphic messaging and human connection become instantly absorbed into the audience’s awareness, who makes a subconscious connection between the branding and the way they feel in that moment of connection. So, when crafting the next brand message for new media, focus on the human factor.