Social media has affected how people think, act, and simply live so it’s no surprise that it has changed marketing and branding. Back in the day, a catchy jingle or character was all it took to capture an audience, while today it takes millions of people to form a community around a brand or another individual. Branded content is simply not enough as people need to connect on an emotional level. People want to follow people, they do not want to follow brands. If you check how many Instagram followers your favourite celebrity has versus your favourite brand, you’ll see this to be true. For example, Kim Kardashian versus Coca Cola.
We are now in the age of crowd-culture, a time of people coming together online to connect over practically anything from ideas to entertainment. This has drastically changed the world, and made business much easier especially for artists and entrepreneurs as the support is there and it doesn’t involve much spending.
So what does this mean for brands? Can they still survive? Yes of course, they just need to step it up and compete with these influencers. Brands should be targeting novel ideologies that stem from these crowd cultures so they can stand out from all the noise in the media. A perfect example is how Chipotle changed its branding to join the crowd culture on sustainable farming/gardening and evolutionary nutrition. This short film is just one of the few they created to show how the food industry transformed in the worst way possible. It’s awareness like this that people need, not awareness of brands.
Social media isn’t even where brands should be focusing. They should be focusing on current issues and beliefs so they too can connect with others online.