Sailing into success: Reflecting on a year of smart consumer-driven campaigns in our digitally savvy world – Brand Wagon News

By Rajni Daswani

As marketers, we enter every meeting with only one thought – let’s make this a great ad campaign. Over the years, the definition of a great ad campaign has kept evolving. For someone, it can be a campaign that someone remembers even 20 years later, for someone it can be the one that drove people to the stores like crazy to buy every last bit of that product, while for someone it will be that felt personal.

But when you see from your own lens as a consumer, the campaigns that stick with you the most are the ones that make you feel seen, campaigns that talk to you directly. In 2023, consumers are savvier than ever. With so much digital and offline ad exposure, they know how to differentiate between ad jargon and genuine things on the internet. They are bombarded with at least 180 marketing messages daily on average, making it crucial for brands to stand out through genuine messaging and personalisation.

Thus, our diverse and tech-savvy consumer landscape demands unique marketing approaches. It, indeed, needs different levels of tech-savviness across different regions. And brands have shown the effort to go that extra mile. Consumers want to engage with things that are built around some key insights, backed with data.

If we look back, 2023 did see a rise in smart consumer-driven campaigns that prioritised understanding and catered to evolving customer needs and values.

Hence, crafting a smart consumer-driven campaign in 2024 will require more than just clever slogans and trendy visuals. And what’s the secret sauce? Here are some ingredients you need to make a smart consumer-driven campaign:

  1. Deep consumer understanding: It’s important to go beyond demographics. Delve into consumer desires, frustrations, values and motivations. Conduct surveys, focus groups and social listening to uncover genuine needs and aspirations. If you have customer data like Spotify does, use it to make a campaign like ‘Spotify Wrapped’; that consumers love because it shows them their own music consumption nicely packaged in numbers and graphics. Treat consumers as individuals, not segments. Utilise data and AI to offer personalised experiences, content and recommendations that resonate with their unique preferences.
  1. Value and relevance: A consumer sees through when you are personalising something using their data but only to promote your product. Don’t do that. Instead, solve a problem for them, or fulfil a desire. Give them SRK as a brand ambassador for their business, as Cadbury did for Diwali in 2022, something that adds value to their lives. Or give them confidence and motivation to be themselves like Dove does in their ‘Be Real’ campaigns for girls and women.
  2. Emotional and engaging storytelling: Using real feelings and emotions helps craft compelling narratives that connect with users on an emotional level. Don’t just talk to consumers, engage with them. Create campaigns that encourage two-way participation and user-generated content. A good example of emotional storytelling is Tanishq’s Rivaah with Alia Bhatt. The campaign focused on women’s independence, ambition and self-expression, resonating with young Indian women seeking jewellery that reflected their modern sensibilities. It helped position Tanishq as a brand that understands and caters to the evolving aspirations of women.
  3. Embrace technology: Utilise AI-powered tools for personalised recommendations and content creation. Ensure a seamless experience across all platforms, from your website and app to social media and offline channels. Offer consistent messaging and value across all touchpoints.

Once you’ve set up your campaign, monitor and analyse your campaigns through data analytics. Track engagement, conversion rates and sentiment to understand what’s working and what’s not. Be ready to adapt and iterate based on your findings. A/B test different elements, refine your messaging and personalise your approach based on real-time data.

A lot of times brands worry about not having enough data points on their consumer. But what we forget is that many killer campaigns are built on a single consumer insight example – it just has to be the right one. By prioritising local context, emotional connection and resourcefulness, brands can effectively engage with Indian consumers and build impactful marketing experiences.

As we move into 2024, expect to see even more innovative consumer-driven campaigns that leverage data, technology and creativity to redefine the marketing landscape. Excited to see what’s in store for us as consumers.

The author is director-digital marketing at SoCheers

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