Advertising in the Digital Age – How Consumers Interact with Products and Brands

The digital era has completely revolutionized advertising. People nowadays have access to so much information so easily that they are very well informed and very opinionated. Discriminatory and false advertising techniques that used to be so effective in the 1960s cannot be used these days. Backlash against controversial advertising is so common that Creative Directors have to be very cautious.

They must avoid cognitive dissonance at all costs. Consumers feel cognitive dissonance when what a brand says is completely different from what the brand does. In this video Thomas Marzano – Global Creative Director for Digital Brand Design at Philips, talks about the current advertising industry and the how brand perception is created.

What is a brand?

According to Thomas, in the digital era – a brand is what its customers feel and say it is. A brand is no longer only the logo, slogan or the products that the brand produces. Brand is defined by what customers or consumers feel about a company after having experienced one of its products or services. Promotions and advertisements are no longer the only factors influencing consumers. They can now read reviews, comments, tweets, posts, etc. about the brand from various sources that are now deemed more trustworthy. Customers now want complete experiences from brands that add value to their lives.

Brand behavior

It is clear that advertisers have lost a lot of control over consumers in present day markets. So what can an advertiser control? It is brand behavior – the behavior and actions of the company that the advertiser or creative director works for. The main job of the creative director is to control or influence what his/her company does and the way they are done. For example, in Philips – the company and Thomas want people to have a feeling of simplicity whenever they experience a product or service from the company. This is not easy to achieve.

The whole company must work together for the common goal of creating such a brand experience for every customer. Every one working in the various departments of a large company must know about the common brand experience that the company is trying to create. To understand brand and user experience, many companies like Philips use user experience flows. The user experience flow methodology helps companies analyze and visualize all the data they are gathering about user behavior from social listening processes and in-house research and focuses advertising efforts in the right direction.

This methodology coupled with social listening allows the company to know about the features that customers are dissatisfied with and allows the company to rectify problems as soon as possible, create better social media strategies, build better products and give users the best brand experience. Watch this video to know how your brand can be social by design.