Headspace: Connecting through collaboration
by Tenielle Maris. Collaboration is a basic human instinct that has been engrained in each and every one of us since the beginning of time. In 2013, Forbes described collaborative marketing as the “next big thing”. Now, in 2017, collaboration is the thing that brands, marketers and advertisers simply can’t do without, and has evolved into a multifaceted platform for connecting with audiences more powerfully than ever before.
According to Trendwatching, the consumer trend of “joyning” is based on consumers’ desire to come together to connect, to solve a joint issue, or simply to take part in a collective experience. It is applicable to consumers regardless of demographic or geographic divide and is infiltrating the way in which brands are connecting with audiences across the globe.
Not new news
The notion of collaboration is not new news: the penny dropped for organisations many moons ago that, simply by listening and responding to their customers, they would stand to improve their offering, their message or even their processes. Fast-forward to the hyper-engaged world we currently live in, and technology has proliferated consumers’ desire to be engaged and have their say. Social media has amplified prosumerism by enabling two-way conversations, between brands and target markets, where creative and innovation exchange is seamless.
The result? Consumers are expecting to be invited to actively ‘play their part’ in building brands. Through open creativity and open innovation, consumers now want more opportunities to share their masterpieces within a greater community.
So why exactly is collaborative marketing so powerful for connecting with consumers? Simply: at the heart of all this is the feel-good emotions that are associated with having contributed to something. By tapping directly into the global mind-set of collective consciousness, brands are feeding consumers’ quest for a sense of recognition, belonging and sense of purpose when others accept and talk about their creations. To add to that, consumers are made to feel empowered and valued by brands entrusting their brand’s storytelling to them.
Crash the Super Bowl
For 10 years running, Doritos’ Super Bowl campaign — Crash the Super Bowl — leveraged this trend by putting the power in the hands of consumers to exercise their creative flair by producing their very own Super Bowl commercial. What was initially met with scepticism became one of the most well-known Super Bowl campaigns of all time, earning Doritos the title as the most-effective Super Bowl advertised brand 2010-2015 (ahead of other brand giants with big agencies behind them). According to Frito-Lay North America chief marketing officer, Ram Krishnan, the success of this long-term campaign was the product of ‘giving consumers a platform to shine’.
Brands need to take a good look at the types of conversations they are having with their consumers and the level to which they value the ideas that those consumers are able to bring to the table. What they need to get right, however, is keeping collaborative campaigns current and in-sync with emerging technology and evolving consumer behaviour. More than that, they need to see it as a powerful tool — not a gimmick — that should be used sensibly to enhance brand strategies.
By doing so, brands will be able to connect with their audiences in relevant and personal ways that value consumer creativity and recognise their contribution in the most-desirable way possible: by putting it out there for the rest of the world to see.
Tenielle Maris is strategic director at TTL agency, 34°, in Johannesburg. Beginning her career in branding and communications, she has spent the last decade in the marketing industry where she has worked upon big brands spanning the African continent. Having found her passion in understanding what drives human beings to connect with particular brands, her time is spent getting up close and personal with the people whom brands are trying to connect with. Tenielle contributes the monthly “Headspace” column, which unpacks anything and everything that helps marketers and advertisers understand why people connect with brands, to MarkLives.com.