Getting to know you

Will live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope help brands create more intimate connections with their audience, or is this another buzzy app which doesn’t add any real brand value?  

Brands are out there constantly trying to get in to our proverbial. Pushing the conversation to get their name embedded within our human jargon at an affectionate level – and it makes sense. We as humans crave intimacy, a desire to be loved and deepen our relationships, and the need to feel connected (Thank you ‘The Sims 3’ for teaching me this). Just like any celebrity power couple, engagement is key and herein lies a massive opportunity for brands to build, extend and amplify their conversation in their path-to-purchase bid. Brands must start to think beyond awareness; leave that for mass media – for now, let’s get to know each other.

If brands can place themselves in our everyday conversations and furthermore within our minds, we start to recognise them on a human level and this oozes ‘value’ to the brand. It means that they are merely one physical touch away from real brand love. Each social media channel is looking for love and it is how they are talking to the consumer that dictates our response and relationship with them:

  • Twitter talks at you. Concise in nature with information their topic of interest. Someone that fills those silent voids.
  • Facebook engages you. Keen to talk. The one that always wants to catch-up and check in on you.
  • Instagram is similar to your mate Facebook. They are however slightly more insightful and aware of who they are, wearing their hearts on their sleeve.
  • Meerkat/Periscope are the adventurer. They are present. There when you need them and no matter where you are, have the power to teleport you instantly so you can be together.

Nothing screams intimate (read value) more than POV. As close as the term is to being NSFW, it’s exactly what we want – A journey down the rabbit hole. Social live-streaming can open up a vast array of opportunities, transporting us to another world. News now comes knocking on your door. Exclusive, unedited, real, raw content – here and now whether it be behind the scenes, from the sidelines, whatever you want. Now we have a new way to see without the obstruction or perception of a brand yelling at us and creating that overbearing relationship. This ease of deliverance however brings the moral compass in to play. Whilst there are T&Cs (does anyone ever read these), how does this fit in with ownership rights for sports, music and artists – already we’ve seen the North Americans try and steal our thunder as the leading pirates of GoT: “Twitter threatens to suspend Periscope users live streaming GoT.

Periscope and Meerkat are giving brands the opportunity to instantly teleport. The golden ticket however lies in their ability to engage influencers and in-turn enhance authenticity. If they can tap in to existing relationships between influencer and consumer, little work is required to build trust – It’s already there. Is there an opportunity for UGC in this channel? I don’t think so, which is great because too often brands are keeping their hands clean and instead getting users to take on the brunt of the workload and tell their stories for them. Live streaming engaged by the right brand within the right context is a strong and efficient way to build trust – a key component in developing intimacy.

Ineffective use of these apps will determine whether we kick this to the corner with the other fads and buzz paraphernalia – think Friendster, Google Buzz and toe socks. For us to see the term ‘buzz’ dispelled, we need only those with a strong identity to engage with the apps, those that can build live feeds into an ongoing conversation, to act as cupid and have us all fall in to a deeper more meaningful love. Nobody thought that the Australian police had a place on social media and we collectively groaned as if friend requested by a parent. Instead they have managed to deliver vital information during crises, such as floods and cyclones, and managed to entertain us with their pop culture references – the most recent PSA by QPS addressed the dangers of speeding linked to rushing home for Game of Throne’s most recent episode release. The police have humanised their brand as somebody who cares about you whilst understanding that their serious tone needs to be broken by light hearted quips in order for them to cut through.

Meerkat and Periscope can add another level to the marketing mix and be integrated to campaigns with the objective of building brand love. The apps cannot stand alone. Instead they should hold the hand of their social channel buddies and take users on a journey, one which is not haphazardly placed at the end of the purchase funnel and has longevity in mind. If this doesn’t happen, we can all free up some more room on our phones.

I read something once that, with a little tweaking, explains Meerkat and Periscope’s place within the marketing mix. 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens brands can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead (kind of): Cultural Anthropologist


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