Hey brand managers, want to know seven important facts?

Consumers are looking for technology savvy brands that are ethically and environmentally focused. But then, you properly already knew that.

Fact#1: Retail trends predicted for 2012 are highlighting the changing attitudes of the consumer and their buying behavior. Evidence is also revealing that the recession has created a new type of consumer – a consumer who not only seeks a bargain, in terms of price, quality and value, but who also want to align themselves with ethically and environmentally focused brands.

Fact#2: Retail statistics showed in the second quarter of 2011 that online consumer spend within the retail sector reached an attention grabbing £5.3bn. This spend is of course down to several reasons: convenience, online prices compared to those of the high street and access to smart, mobile technology adopted and exploited by retail brands.

Fact#3: As well as seeking to attach their loyalty to ethical and environmental focused brands, it is clear that the savvy consumer reacts to those brands that use creative technology-led communication techniques to sustain consumer engagement. After all with the decline of traditional media channels compared to that of growing digital channels, which include social media platforms and improved website interaction, the consumer and the retailer have only one direction to evolve. Of course I’m not declaring that traditional channels are dead – far, far from it! Remember, no one stopped listening to the radio when TV came around. Or to put it a better way, no one stopped reading newspapers when they started listening to the radio.

I recently read an article, which declared that consumers were not influenced by brands that used social media and social networks. Can I just state, on behalf of …talktojason – the PR agency, Fact#4: it’s less about trying to influence (sales) the consumer and more about engaging (brand loyalty) with them. As a consumer and a social media user, I engage more with brands who use social media, providing of course that they use social media in the right way – you know, socially – that’s the trick! Plus, and here’s fact#5: as an owner of a smart phone (iPhone;)I consume more brand messages through digital channels than I do across any other!

Fact#6: The next time you are on a train look around the carriage and count how many people are reading a news paper, a book or a magazine compared to those who are on their phone updating their Twitter account, posting an image on instagram or reading news feeds via their smart phone.

I also know as a communications practitioner that social media platforms and other digital channels do work in terms of consumer engagement, which in turn helps build brand loyalty – again, providing the social media platforms are used in the right way of course. Fact#7: Digital communications now form part of the communications mix just like traditional channels – it’s how, when and which parts of the elements we use that count!

Can I also state at this point, that social media, if used correctly, does directly support traditional public relations activity (and of course also the other way around), such as brand architecture and media relations.

Digital communications has also given hope to the third-sector, not only does it allow not-for-profit organizations to extend their reach and appeal, but it also becomes a valued conduit between the consumers’ want to support good causes, and also for the brand that is seeking to align itself with worthy causes which appeal to its consumers’ values.

Like to know more …talktojason – the PR agency, about brand architecture, CSR, consumer engagement, social media, digital and traditional media relations and the third-sector.

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