Words from the wise

Conscience of Content

2020 is not only a new year and a new decade but also marks 10 years of Tinderflint. As such I’m looking to 2020 as a year of positivity and progression, a year in which people start to really consider the impact of the work they do and the stories they tell. If you are bracing yourself for another TLA filled ramble about 2020 being the year that creativity supersedes data once again or how video on mobile continues to rise, TikTok, Instagram Reel, OTT dominance, more short form, more vertical, more snackable, more authentic then you needn’t worry, you won’t get that here.

Enough has been written about these things already without me adding my two cents. Sure, our already infinitesimal attention spans are receding further, sure, people are watching more and more video content on more and more portable devices across more and more platforms but what does that actually mean for the content we create? Aside from what you wrap it up in, is what is being watched relevant, authentic and personal enough to be effective?

It seems to me that too much emphasis has been placed on short term, ‘easier-win’ tickbox metrics, without a view to bigger picture brand building through connection with consumers. We have become increasingly guilty of being that person at a dinner party loudly monologuing about their latest news rather than listening, engaging and being part of dialogues that the majority want to be a part of.

More than at any other point in my lifetime there appears to be a general state of existential vacuum, Brexit, Trump, Cambridge Analytica, Algorithmic, AI, Automation, these big topics drive most of us into an uneasy, slightly sickly state of apathy. Trying to market or advertise the latest shiny product to an audience in this state is getting harder through traditional channels, using traditional thought processes. Consumers need more from a brand and more from their content than just to be sold to. What they really want to know is the brand’s position on topics that matter to them and what actual actions are they taking on those positions. In 2020, having a position on and most importantly acting on that position on issues such as diversity, climate change, sustainability and equality will become even more important.

60% of Generation Z say they want to change the world and they have all the tools, inquisition and know how to find out if the brands they engage with do too. Consumers do not care if 77% of brands disappeared so it will be those who are definitively and purposefully making a positive contribution to the world that will win out. This is why huge brands like Unilever are shifting their focus to “purposeful” brands, which do better because consumers identify with the brand message and feel good about buying into them. It is also this shift that drove the less than inspiring sales figures generated in 2019’s Black Friday. People are increasingly less likely to consume for the sake of a sale, there has to be more substance behind it. According to DoSomething Strategic: ‘66% of young consumers say that a brand’s association with a social cause or platform positively impacts their overall impression of a brand; and 58% say this association is also a positive driver of their likelihood to purchase that brand’. There were some smart brands who got this right, people like Just Eat who rather than discounting on Black Friday, donated 50p from each order to charity FoodCycle. This is the kind of bigger picture brand purpose building that will need to proliferate in 2020 to retain consumers.

So, what all of this means for content in 2020 is pretty simple. Content will need to align with brand messaging and have a conscience. Though still needing to be shorter, more flexible and reversionable than ever before, content will need to tell a bigger, more important and deeper story, all with transparency, sincerity and authenticity – no pressure then!

Written by Rob Pitman @ Tinderflint


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