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THE SPEED OF CULTURE

04/09/2024by Nicolas Mendel and Louise Jones


Social media has transformed how brands and organizations engage audiences in the past 20 years. But now these platforms are undergoing some very significant changes of their own, driven by rapid developments in artificial intelligence, the rise of disruptive competitors, and ongoing cultural and behavioral shifts. These present a host of challenges and opportunities for the platforms, as well as the brands and organizations that rely on them so heavily to reach and engage target audiences.

For the brands and organizations using these platforms to reach and engage audiences, strategies that worked in the past no longer apply. This report is a collection of trends designed to help marketing and communications teams navigate their way through the shifting social media landscape.


MEDIA ALLOCATION ON ENGAGEMENT-FIRST CAMPAIGNS GREW 222% IN 2023

Source: OSL

We have seen a notable resurgence in brands responding to nano moments of social traction – but some are getting smarter in how they go about it.

 

Last year closed with some strong examples. Ikea poked fun at luxury fashion by offering up an affordable dupe for Balenciaga’s Towel Skirt, while The North Face pulled off the real-time delivery of a new jacket to a disgruntled customer at the peak of a stormy mountain, after her rain-soaked rant went viral on TikTok.

 

These are brands working at the speed of online culture. But nano moments only scratch the surface of the cultural opportunity for brands on social. Thanks to richer AI-powered social intelligence, cultural happenings can be tracked and mapped as pulses, signals and shifts, enabling brands to activate at nano, micro and macro levels. 

 

And so the real opportunity is to build relevance in much more sophisticated and enduring ways. The successful brands here will be those that get clear on the role they have to play in the cultural landscape, and the engagement levers they need to activate.

 

Being responsive to culture, as well as gradually shaping and creating it, requires understanding and monitoring of what’s happening across all corners of the internet, as well as geolocations. The more bespoke the intelligence model, the more impactful the output can be.

There is also a move away from pay-to-play approaches, with brand-first, audience-second content through paid media replaced by audience-first, interest-led social content that’s geared for organic performance.

 

 This is fuelling a rise of brand social that’s more platform-native, and closer to lo-fi influencer or user generated content than the TV spot social cut-downs that dominated previously.

 

This trend towards less formal, more engaging content calls for a radical rethink of big brand social setups to deliver content that is the antithesis of traditional advertising best practice – unscripted, unpolished and unpredictable.


Nicolas Mendel is Head of Digital Performance at Ogilvy Sydney.

Louise Jones is the Head of Social at Ogilvy PR in Sydney.

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