The fortunes of large, traditional CPG brands are being shaped by new, competitive forces and a shake up in how consumers interact with branded content. Giants like P&G, Unilever and Clorox have always sold products with mass market appeal: everybody needs paper towels, toothpaste and soap. But now challenger brands, the smaller upstart companies who don't have the mindset, budget or headcount to operate under the old model, are finding new pathways to drive discovery and sales. They've learned to be innovative at a time where many of their incumbent competitors are doubling down on doing things they way they always have. Advertising spend continues to grow year over year, but the effectiveness of that ad spend is, in many cases, in decline.
Often, traditional brands scramble to find consumers on paid media at scale in a world with thousands of screens and channels and the widest range of audience quality. Over the past several years, marketers began to appreciate the growing audience on social media and the potential for brand conversations and one-to-one relationships with customers. They got the broad strokes right but the details wrong. The reality is that those channels have predominantly been used to create community, to enable consumers to complain about bad experiences and products, or to sign up for promotions. Many brands didn’t take into account the potential power of social networks to drive earned media brand discovery and product purchase.
The currency on platforms like Pinterest and Instagram isn’t conversation but rather it’s all of the eminently sharable user-generated and brand-produced imagery. The pathway of that visual content is now trackable through tools like ShareIQ’s. We help brands fine-tune their earned media strategy by visualizing what content drives the most discovery, how and why it gets discovered, and what imagery is effective for driving awareness or purchase.
Challenger brands -- and savvier traditional ones -- now understand the value of original content for creating earned media opportunities across image-centric social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. In 2018 and beyond we’ll see marketers building on that analytical foundation and invest further in optimizing their earned media programs.
Tools like ours help brands deepen their understanding of the value of their content, and we’ll lead the evolution of image intelligence from a descriptive technology into one that is predictive. Our platform can already uniquely reverse-image match against one trillion images and growing to identify brand-related content. But marketers will ask deeper questions about what’s working, what’s not and why. Questions like, “which influencers are helping drive brand discovery and product purchase, which publishers are best for my content, which collections of images perform better, what are my competitors doing better than I am?”
While the landscape of the future marketplace is uncertain, one thing is clear: brands will need to look beyond paid media to drive engagement with their content on earned media channels.