With Toys R Us Stores going down recently and the grim predictions for many retail stores to follow, it’s starting to feel like we’re witnessing an apocalypse of some kind. But if you think about it, Toys R Us is an excellent example of a large brand that never evolved with the rise of social media.
What if they had had started a show on YouTube, perhaps an engaging cartoon, to reach their target audience? They ignored the trends. 6-year-old YouTube star ‘Ryan ToysReview’ has a whopping 21 million views on his channel to date, and a recent article suggested he earned over 11 million from his channel in 2017 alone. If Toys R Us had of hired a kid like him, do you think there would have been a less fortunate outcome?
As we observe the death of large, faceless corporations, some things have become very clear: We have to be innovative with our marketing efforts to stand out in today’s marketplace.
Don’t believe your own hype
Even if you are a well-known brand, you still must attract and convert fleeting buyers. Where is the best place to find your target market? The social media algorithms are always changing – brands saw their reach on Facebook deplete following the January announcement by CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying that users should “expect to see more from friends, family, and groups” and less from “businesses, brands, and media”. When the algorithms change, your efforts have to change.
Use effective storytelling
The algorithm’s reach is built on engagement. To get a comment or to convert someone into a buyer, you need to evoke emotion in them. Tell inspirational stories about your company, its founders, and your employees. In The Significant Objects experiment, devised by Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn, they auctioned off cheap thrift-store objects via eBay. In the item descriptions, they had creative writers share a short story about the item’s history. The items resold for a staggering 4,000% mark up, demonstrating the direct effect a good narrative has on sales!
Use video to stay above the noise
There is a lot of ‘noise’ across social media with people screaming for attention, so what is the best type of content to get the brand reach that you desire? Technology giant Cisco predicts 80% of content next year will be video, so Executive Producer, Chris LaVoie, creator of The Movement documentary, urges companies to use film production to give their marketing something extraordinary and unique.
In his show, CEO’s from all corners of the world gather in a remote castle for a competition on ‘Innovation.’ As the CEO’s mentor their candidates, we see insight into their knowledge and learn who they are as individuals. With the show featured on Amazon Prime, it is a great way to reach an audience of 100 million. Not only that, but the companies get a years’ worth of high quality video content to use. They tap into new markets and increase the content’s share-ability by engaging and tagging the other CEOs, forming ‘digital partnerships.’
Respect the EQ
As we continue to adapt, we must recognise that the value your company provides must have a soul. Instead of always telling us how great you are, tell us where the cracks are. Tell us a story of your weaknesses, the challenges you faced and what makes you less than perfect. That’s when you will build trust and get audience buy in.
Look at the trends: Google bought YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook are pushing video content more than ever. Instagram TV has arrived on the scene.
We watch our favourite programs on demand. We want to see the stories. And whether you completely get it or not, it’s time to innovate and get creative with video, or die like Toys R Us. It’s that simple.