Trust in marketing communications campaigns

16 October 2020 | Opinion

During 2020, we have adapted to digital-matter-of-fact at an exponential pace. The fireworks of newly launched online businesses and sales platforms were cheered on by all banks’ diverse offerings in online payment apps and tools. Cash has almost become frowned upon when listed as the only payment option. Measuring media engagement and reach has more visibly become connected to sales and overall business performance.

If your husband/wife leaves to join a secret mission for two years, you trust that they’ll keep contact with you at least so that you know they are safe (social economy), healthy (environment, and still committed (customer centric).

If they don’t communicate these (and more) elements to you effectively, you become disappointed and ultimately lose trust.

Staying connected

Marketing communications are best utilised when staying connected with your customer. To show off (the good stuff like sponsorships, green energy, innovation and social commitments), to show up (political or economic involvement), and to ‘stay in’ (consistency).

You will notice that many corporates have dedicated corporate social responsibility foundations and industries they support. MTC for the love of sport, and local artists. Standard Bank for the love of #BuyABrick and securing homes to families that have no resources to achieve this dream by themselves.

Old Mutual towards women empowerment (summits) or recall Bank Windhoek’s popular cancer apple campaign.

It is creating a movement for consistent seasonal peeks to ensure your message is heard, and above the awareness threshold. Strategic partnerships and associations uplift and co-build brands. They show commitment to these relationships by means of ongoing communications.

It is also about ensuring that you have a share of voice, and that you’re not outsourcing it to those who have no connection with your brand.

It’s going back to the basics: Sing, laugh, dance, have fun, be curious, explore, adventure on, family love. It’s like creating the tides that become the waves that your brand wants to ride.

“If the tide is too high and rising, each successive wave will push higher, while if the tide is high and falling, the energy in the waves will decrease with each wave. As the tide approaches low tide, the waves will be less powerful”. (Hey Google!)

Ultimately, you plan and guide these campaigns in order to create an impactful energy amongst your audience.

Learning from trends

The overwhelming shift of the public agenda towards alarmingly high rates of gender-based violence teaches us a couple of things. What are the accepted norms of our society, as guided by value-based campaigns that have been below the media’s awareness threshold in the past months? Could stakeholders have played a more active (and communicative) role by informing victims of their rights and options, towards disabling ongoing rape, abuse or neglect of women staying in abusive relationships for various reasons? Let us not disregard co-dependency, lack of public services, peer pressure to submit in all ways or the influence of poverty and alcohol abuse on many families’ psychological well-being.

Public communications and marketing communications are part of what mobilises people towards seeking and becoming the change we need. It has the ability to enable, encourage and question, and leads to public discourse.

Facing many challenges, the influencers are competing to voice their concerns and contributions towards various sponsorship and investment initiatives, which remain an obligation rather than a tool.

The role played by media (print, radio, TV, online, social media) can never be underestimated, and this is why it must be used as an ongoing reputation management (and at times intervention) tool for whichever cause you serve.

Quality communication

The quality of communication is linked to the quality of our lives. Nelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, it will go to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”. The biggest mistake we can make is to assume that conversations took place when we communicated below the awareness threshold. Cherish the big tidal waves, and use them to drive for social, economic, and political change.

*Natasja Beyleveld is the managing director of NaMedia.

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